College update - 18.10.21
The message below has been sent to your parents / carers today. Please ensure that you follow the guidance on your return to college after the half term break.
Dear parent / carer
I hope this message finds you and your family safe and well.
After a meeting with the Director of Population Health in Tameside this morning, a number of additional mitigations to protect the college community from COVID-19 will be in place from the 1st November 2021.
COVID-19 rates in Tameside are rising and are currently the third highest in Greater Manchester and the 24th highest in the UK. The rate today stands at 512 per 100000; this rate is much higher for the 12-17 age group where much of the current increase in transmission rates can be found.
The college has not been significantly affected during the term to date and the number of COVID-19 cases seen during this period has been relatively low. We assume that this is a product of the number of students who have already been vaccinated. If your son or daughter has not yet received a vaccination, we would strongly advise take up as soon as possible to prevent any interruption to their education should they contract COVID-19 or be identified as a close contact.
Although the letter from Population Health Tameside(attached) specifically identified Secondary schools for these additional mitigations, these will also come into effect at the college from the first day after the half term break. In addition to the already existing mitigation when on site, all staff and students must:
• Wear a face covering when in public spaces unless exempt. This includes corridors and communal areas (such as Costa and the Food Market), and study spaces (such as the library, the IT and Learning Centre and ST 1.1). Face coverings lower the risk of spread if someone has the virus but does not have symptoms.
• If living with someone who has COVID-19, take daily lateral flow tests (LFD test) before coming into college (unless exempt-see below). Students should start this testing from the day their household member either became unwell with COVID-19 or tested positive, if they did not have symptoms, and continue this for 10 days.
It is also worth noting that:
• Face coverings do not need to be worn when outside on campus, when eating or in the classroom. Students may choose to wear a face covering in class if they wish.
• We strongly recommend the wearing of face coverings when on public transport to help prevent transmission.
• Students are responsible for providing their own face coverings.
• if your son or daughter tests negative, they can continue to attend college.
• if your son or daughter has a positive LFD result, they must start isolating, take a PCR test and inform the college.
• if your son or daughter develops COVID-19 symptoms, they should book a PCR test. It is important that people with COVID-19 symptoms do not rely on a negative LFD test; they should have a PCR test. If your son or daughter develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must not come to college and should remain at home.
Exemptions to Household LFD Testing
The groups exempt from this advice are:
• Any child who cannot tolerate daily testing, for example children aged 5 years and under, in Key Stage 1, or those with special educational additional needs.
• Any child, aged between 5 – 16 years or adult, who has tested positive for COVID-19 via a PCR test within the past 90 days.
Routine LFD Asymptomatic Testing
We strongly encourage families to test at home twice a week and to register their results, even when negative. This important testing helps to pick up the infection early, preventing further spread, keeping families, friends and the college protected from COVID-19. Test kits are available from the college through your Senior Tutor or reception.
Positive Cases at College
If your son or daughter is a close contact of a case at college, please book them in to take a PCR test as soon as possible (unless they have had a positive PCR test in the last 90 days).
If your son or daughter develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must not come to college and should remain at home. They must get a PCR test as soon as possible and isolate until the result is available. People who get a positive PCR test must continue to isolate as usual.
How to Stop COVID-19 Spreading
There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19:
•wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
•use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
•wash your hands as soon as you get home
•try to meet people who you don’t live with outdoors
•allow ventilation in the house through opening windows
•cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands), when you cough or sneeze
•put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
•Participate in twice-weekly LFD testing following national guidelines (recommended for 11 years and over). Order LFD tests for your household, visit www.nhs.uk/get-tested. We encourage you to log your results here: www.gov.uk/report-COVID-1919-result. Test kits can also be picked up from college.
•have the COVID-19 vaccination if eligible, ensuring that if over 16 years you have both doses.
Further information is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-COVID-19/
We understand how disappointing and frustrating it is to have to introduce these measures and share these messages again. We will shortly be coming into winter, a time when we really need to be keeping our college community and others safe,and reducing the number of COVID-19 infections. Our aim is to maximise the number of students in face-to-face education and minimise any disruption in a way that best manages the COVID-19 risk.
Thank you again for your support.
Principal of Ashton Sixth Form College