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Headteacher's update 38

Published on 28/08/20

Good afternoon everyone,

I hope that you and your families are all well. I anticipate that this will be our last message to you before term starts for students in Year 7 and 11 on Wednesday 2nd September and for all other students on Thursday 3rd September. You will have received our message on Tuesday which provided an update on our plans to reopen school, details of which can be found on our Return to School webpage here. Thank you to those parents who responded to Tuesday’s message with feedback and questions.

 

Update on wearing Face Coverings in School

You will be aware from significant media coverage that the government’s advice regarding the wearing of face coverings in schools has changed since I last wrote to parents/carers on Tuesday of this week regarding our plans for reopening. In response to the revised advice from national government, Sheffield’s public health team has advised that students and staff in Sheffield secondary schools, and any visitors to school including parents/carers should wear face coverings on corridors and in communal areas. Therefore, until further notice, students, staff and visitors at Westfield will be required to wear a face covering:

  • On corridors when arriving at school, moving around the school at lesson changeover and to go to the dining hall, and when leaving the school to travel home.
  • In the dining hall if they are not eating. Clearly, students will need to remove their masks to eat their dinner, and will be asked to sit at a dining table when eating.

Students and staff will not be required to wear a face covering:

  • In classrooms.
  • Outside.

It is important to note that the wearing of face coverings on corridors and in communal areas is an additional measure we are introducing to reduce the risk of the transmission of COVID-19 in school. The other measures we have previously outlined all remain essential in place, including:

  • The requirement to isolate at home if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • The separation of year groups into ‘bubbles’.
  • The removal of break time from the school day to minimise mixing between year groups.
  • The requirement to clean hands regularly throughout the day, including when entering and exiting each classroom/teaching space.
  • The requirement to maintain a distance of 2 metres from students in other year groups where possible.

 

What kind of face covering should I wear?

For schools, fabric face coverings are recommended rather than medical masks.

A fabric face covering should cover your nose, mouth and chin and should fit without any gaps between it and your face

It should be made of at least 2 layers of fabric. Ideally it should be made of 3 layers: an outer water-resistant layer, a middle filter layer and an inner water-absorbent layer

Any colour of face covering is acceptable, but please do not wear a face covering with a design that may be considered offensive in any way. We will require parents/carers of any student wearing an offensive mask to come to school to provide a replacement.

 

Who will provide the face covering?

Parents/carers will need to provide face coverings for their child. School will have a small supply of spare face coverings should a student lose or forget to bring one.

 

What should I do if my child is exempt from wearing a face covering?

Some of our students, staff and visitors will be exempt from wearing a face covering owing to health reasons or disabilities. Students who are exempt from wearing a face covering will be provided with an exemption card/lanyard. If your child will be exempt from wearing a face covering, please notify school by either:

  • Emailing Mr Simmons, g.simmons@westfield-chorustrust.org, with the name and year group of your child and the reason for exemption.
  • Sending a note with your child explaining the exemption. Your child’s form teacher will pass this information to the relevant staff in school.

 

How can I wear and store my face covering safely?

Further details on how to safely wear and store face coverings can be found in the video and infographic below:

 

 

Update on school transport

Having liaised with the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive we can confirm that our school buses will continue to run from September, although with some small changes.

  • Our buses which were previously also public buses have been re-designated as school buses, meaning that only Westfield students will be able to access them. This has the benefit of ensuring the capacity on the buses remains the same. Full details of buses serving Westfield School can be found here: https://www.travelsouthyorkshire.com/en-gb/journeyplanning/school-buses#section4
  • SYPTE have also shared the following guidance:

Pupils using a school bus or coach should help everyone to travel safely, by:

  • sitting with their year group ‘bubble’, where possible.
  • washing or sanitising their hands before and after using the bus or coach.
  • wearing a face covering while on board (unless exempt or aged under 11).
  • keeping a safe distance where possible onboard and at bus stops.
  • carrying tissues to catch coughs and sneezes and hand sanitiser to keep clean.
  • not eating or drinking on the bus or coach.

 

You will note from the details on travelsouthyorkshire.com that the 730 and 752 after school services are still scheduled to leave site at 14.52, despite the school day now ending at 14.30 for students in Years 7 to 10. We have been assured that these services will aim to arrive at school before 14.30 to allow students to board the buses as they leave school, and will depart earlier than 14.52 once all students have boarded the bus.

Unfortunately we have as yet been unable to arrange for an additional service for our Year 11 students who will now finish school at 15.45 at the end of period 6. We will continue to work with SYPTE to try to reach an agreement to provide a later service for our Year 11 students.

 

Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to seeing all our students next week!

Joe Birkbeck
Head of Westfield School