Following the return on March 8, we tested students three times in school within the first fortnight and then provided home testing kits for use, ideally on Sunday and Thursday evenings. In the thousands of tests conducted up until last weekend, we had only had one positive case.
Over the last week, we have seen the number of positive cases increase considerably and it is clear that the virus is being transmitted between students in school. Whilst these have predominantly been in years 8 and 9, there are cases in all year groups, and these are starting to rise. In addition, we have seen staff absence due to positive cases and the need to self-isolate rise sharply too. Our top priority throughout the pandemic has been the health and wellbeing of all members of our school community. We have robust risk assessments in place that are helping ensure staff, students and their families are safe and well.
Over the weekend and this afternoon, I have been in contact with Lancashire County Council’s public health team to discuss how we can best manage this outbreak in school. Following these discussions and in consultation with the Chair of Governors, I have made the decision that in the best interests of all members of our school community, we will revert to remote learning for all year groups for the rest of this week (separate information will follow for Year 11 and 13). Given that the following week is half term, this will enable us to break the chain in transmission and will hopefully allow a smooth start to the final half term on Monday 7 June. We will contact you at the end of the half-term holiday to confirm our plans based on the information available at that time.
From Tuesday, through to Friday, we will revert to remote learning for students in Years 7-10 and Year 12. Students should look on Satchel One (SMHW) or Edulink as they did after the Christmas holidays, where they will find either a Zoom link or work for that lesson. We will try to provide Zoom lessons where possible. There are a small number of assessments that are still outstanding for Y11 and 13 students; I will be writing separately to parents of Y11 students and Miss Marsland, director of Sixth Form, will be writing to Y13 parents.
If your child is unable to attend these online lessons for any reason please let us know in the usual way by contacting our attendance team. Teachers will take a register for each lesson and you will receive an automated phone message if your child has not attended online lessons in the morning and we have not been notified as to why.
The timings of the school day for the next four days are the same as between January and March:
|Tutor Period||8.45 to 8.50|
|P1||8.55 to 9.45|
|P2||9.45 to 10.35|
|P3||10.50 to 11.40|
|P4||11.40 to 12.30|
|Lunch||12.30 to 1.10|
|P5||1.10 to 2.00|
|P6||2.00 to 2.50|
We strongly advise that students continue with the twice-weekly lateral flow tests. In addition, Public Health Lancashire is advising that all students and members of their household book a PCR test, this can be done through the online portal even if they have no symptoms.
We have worked really hard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to keep staff and students safe and assure you that this decision has not been taken lightly. This is a very clear reminder to all of us that COVID-19 is still very much part of our daily lives and how quickly things can escalate both in school and in the local community. I also feel this demonstrates how important it is that we continue to follow both government rules and guidelines and local public health advice, at all times.
Over the weekend I had a significant number of phone calls with parents and received an equal number of emails. Without exception, despite the current situation, these were all very positive with parents clearly understanding the difficult situation we are trying to navigate. As always, I would like to thank you for your ongoing support, it is very much appreciated.