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5th June 2021 - Chilwell school and masks

I said that I would give you an update on the position of the school regarding masks before the end of the half-term break.

There have been a number of developments nationally. Public Health England published a blog on 3rd June which stated the following:

Our school studies and surveillance programmes are on-going and we continuously monitor the science carefully. We have also been working to enhance our surveillance systems to provide clear and robust data on variants linked to outbreaks in educational settings.

The latest PHE data suggest that there have been 97 confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks in primary and secondary schools that have had at least one variant case linked to them over the most recent 4-week period. This represents around 1 in 250 schools.

I am concerned that the national data does not take any account of the data once schools were asked to drop the requirement for masks in classrooms. Furthermore, the government has refused to release the data on the spread of the Delta variant in schools. This leaves us unable to evaluate the data ourselves.  

The local rate has, however, declined more recently after the Long Eaton outbreak and we were able to enjoy undisrupted time in school before the holiday, though I have been informed of a positive case during this week.

At present, we are all awaiting the national announcement, scheduled for the 21st June. You may be aware that the government has been asked by a number of scientific groups to delay the relaxation of measures until a few weeks later.

With this in mind, I have to consider what I think is the least hazardous approach.

We all continue to find masks an irritation, but I am asking for Chilwell school's current approach to continue for another two weeks until Monday 21st June. This means continuing to wear masks in social areas, corridors and classrooms. We would plan for this to end if we have had two weeks without disruption to year groups.

It is therefore essential that we continue with personal measures to stay safe and that everyone who has consented takes a lateral flow test today or tomorrow before our planned return to school on Monday.

This arrangement will take us closer to the national announcement and also means that we can plan in a couple of weeks for masks to be only in communal areas and removed in classrooms (if students wish) with more confidence.

Thank you for your continued support.  I am fully aware of the responsibility that we have as a school and am grateful for your continued understanding.