You may be aware of the recent government guidance that pupils in England must wear face coverings in communal areas of schools, where there is a local lockdown due to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases. Communal areas relate to areas such as corridors and dining halls where a larger number of pupils are in the same area at the same time and may not be able to maintain social distancing. In areas of the UK where there is not a lockdown, schools have been given the choice whether to require pupils to wear face coverings in communal areas, or not.
We have thought very carefully about our approach to this government guidance and to the guidance issued elsewhere such as the World Health Organisation. We want to do our best to ensure that all pupils and staff in our school are safe and confident to engage in all aspects of normal school life, as much as possible. To ensure this safety we have decided that, for the first few weeks of term, it is a requirement for all of our pupils to wear face coverings when using the communal areas of our school. This includes corridors, toilet areas, and the main hall (not the bistro where food and drink are consumed as other measures are in place here to control COVID transmission). Pupils with specified medical and/or SEND needs may be exempt from wearing face coverings. Parents are asked to contact school if they feel this is the case for their child.
As pupils of secondary school age must wear face coverings on public and school transport, in shops and healthcare settings, we expect pupils to bring their own suitable face coverings/masks into school. We have a supply of disposable face masks should a pupil’s own face covering need to be replaced whilst they are in school. Pupils will be instructed not to touch the front of their face covering during use or when removing it. They must use the available hand sanitisers in school immediately on arrival to school and whenever their face covering is removed. We recommend that pupils place their face masks in something like a sealed food bag whilst not in use and that they must take them home with them.
Due to the measures we have in place with pupils being in ‘bubbles’ in zoned areas of our school, we do not require pupils to wear face coverings in classrooms. In our classrooms, all pupils will be seated so that they face the front of the room; in IT rooms, pupils will be divided by the computer screens in front them.
As with all of our COVID measures, we will review our approach to this recent government guidance on a regular basis. This is to ensure we are doing our utmost to ensure the safety of everyone in our school as well as to ensure pupils enjoy their reconnection with formal education. We will, of course, be in communication with parents with any updates regarding these measures.
Thank you for your continuing support. We look forward to welcoming our new Year 7 starters and all of our pupils back to Bishop Barrington; back to enjoying learning and every aspect of school education, in our lovely new, state of the art, school building.
Thanks for your support.