Update from the Headteacher

Update from the Headteacher

As developments in respect of the Omicron variant move apace, please see below an update from a College perspective. The information announced by the government at the weekend hasn’t changed any of the control measures the College currently has in place, with the exception of action to take as a close contact. There is clearly a great deal of concern regarding the transmissibility rate of this new variant, and we will continue to remind staff and students to:

  • Wash their hands regularly
  • Wear face coverings in communal areas and corridors (unless exempt)
  • Keep classrooms, offices and workspaces well ventilated
  • Complete lateral flow tests regularly.

With effect from today (Tuesday 14th December), a new a new national approach to daily testing for contacts of COVID-19 is being introduced. All adults who are fully vaccinated and children aged 5 to 18 years and 6 months, identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 – whether Omicron or not – should take a lateral flow device (LFD) test every day for 7 days instead of self-isolating. Daily testing by close contacts will help to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Once notified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact, all eligible students should take an LFD each day for 7 days and report the results through the Online Reporting System  and to the College. If the test is negative, they can continue to attend school. Outside of College, you should continue to follow the advice set out in the Sunday 12 December press release. This approach should also be adopted over the winter break and on return in January. One box of LFD tests is being given to each child this week to cover the period up to their return to school in January.

If the test is positive, they should self-isolate and order a PCR test to confirm the result. If the PCR is positive, they must self-isolate for 10 days. If the PCR test is negative, they no longer need to self-isolate but should continue to carry out the remainder of the daily tests, and only need to isolate if it is positive.

Anyone over the age of 18 years and 6 months who is not vaccinated, must isolate in line with government guidelines if they are a close contact of a positive case.

It is important that your child continues to complete a lateral flow test twice weekly at home.

COVID-19 vaccinations.  People aged 18 years and over, and those aged 16 years and over who are at risk, will now be offered a booster dose of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. You can pre-book a booster dose online if it’s been 2 months (61 days) since the 2nd dose was given and you/they are:

  • aged 30 and over
  • aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts you/them at high risk from COVID-19
  • a frontline health or social worker.

You will be offered appointment dates from 3 months after the date of the 2nd dose. 16 and 17 year olds can get two doses of the COVID vaccine. They can book an appointment through the national booking service and walk in centres are available. The Health and Social Care Secretary announced on Monday 29 November that young people aged 12 to 15 in England will be offered a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, following advice from JCVI. Parents of children aged 12-15 that have not yet had their first vaccine can book their child’s first vaccination slot over the winter break via the national booking system. Information on vaccination for 12 to 15 year olds can be found in the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 guidance.

Further information on the coronavirus booster vaccination and booking a vaccination can be found on NHS.UK.

It is very likely further changes and updates will be announced over the coming days, and the holiday period, and those that impact on the College will be shared on SIMS Parent App and details also published on the College’s website.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Plumb Headteacher