Important Covid-19 Safety Update

Dear Parents and Carers, you may well have heard from social media that Walsall schools have been asked by both Public Health Walsall and the Local Authority to reintroduce a range of Covid measures which were previously in place prior to our six weeks holidays.

I feel it is important to share what we are doing in response to this guidance. Some of the enclosed has featured as part of our school day prior to this request and others are those we are returning to in response to this guidance.

At present our rates of transmission are low but it is essential that if we are to retain a fully operative school that the enclosed are adhered to without question. Please take time to read the detail enclosed and should you have any concerns please do not hesitate to contact us at your earliest convenience.

  1. All students in Years 7-13, unless exempt, must wear masks on arrival on school premises in the morning, in all communal areas, corridors, Form rooms and classrooms. This is not a voluntary action and is in place to safeguard our school against a rise in transmission.
  2. Please ensure that your child is sent to school with a fresh and clean mask each morning.
  3. Staff will wear masks likewise.
  4. All students and staff will continue to use hand sanitiser at regular intervals across the day and will continue to wipe down work areas and equipment used once finished using sanitising wipes. Again, this is to safeguard against a rise in transmission rates.
  5. Please encourage your child to carry their own supply of hand sanitiser and tissues for their personal use across the day. This again supports the above.
  6. Larger gatherings of students, staff and Parents/Carers will cease for the foreseeable period of time. Consequently, Year group assemblies will be delivered virtually and students will remain in their Form rooms. Those students helping to deliver assemblies will still do as social distancing can be put in place. At present we understand that weekly Mass will continue, again on the basis that children attending can sit at socially distanced intervals and will wear masks whilst at Mass. Staff meetings will take place virtually as will all Parents’ Evenings.
  7. We had already retained split breaks and lunches which has allowed us to minimise the number of students accessing the canteen and sandwich hall during both breaks, space seating and allow for greater management of these busy times with current requirements in mind.
  8. It is important that we return to a fuller school experience for our students. Therefore, after school clubs, support/revision sessions and school visits and trips will still take place but numbers will be managed and careful consideration of Covid measures will be maintained and put in place. If we have any doubt as to the well-being of our students and staff we will leave these event until advised differently.
  9. Commencing immediately after half term students will return to wearing their PE kits on the day they are timetabled to have PE. This will avoid the use of our changing rooms.
  10. However it is important that Parents and Carers note that students must not attend school in their PE kit on any other day other than their timetabled PE day. It is also essential that students wear correct PE kit. Substitute kit will not be allowed. Students are allowed to wear black jogging bottoms as part of their kit. Form Tutors and PE staff will carefully monitor students’ compliance with the above and Parents/Carers will be contacted immediately regarding any contravention of our expectations. We will make appropriate provision for those students who may not have PE on the same day that they have an after school activity involving PE/sports.
  11. As per guidance issued windows will remain open during lessons to ensure rooms are ventilated. Parents and Carers are encouraged to support school by providing their children with a plain white tee shirt to wear under school shirts or to wear our school jumper. No other tops or jumpers are allowed.
  12. It is important that students bring their own equipment eg pens, pencils, rulers and erasers to school. This will help avoid transmission as students will not need to share basic materials. Students should also have a school bag, firstly to transport their exercise books and supportive resources to and from school and secondly to hold personal items such as hand sanitiser and tissues etc.
  13. Seating plans have always been in place at STM but these are all the more important at present. It is essential that students sit where placed or asked and do so willingly on the understanding that this is to maintain consistent Covid measures in school and maintain our current low rates of transmission.
  14. Visitors to school are still welcome but as you will appreciate these visits must be prearranged and carefully coordinated. We would therefore respectfully ask that Parents and Carers do not arrive to Reception expecting to meet with staff without a scheduled appointment. It is also essential that all Parents/Carers wear a mask on entry to our Reception and use the hand sanitiser available.
  15. Students travelling on both public transport and especially our school buses will be expected to wear their masks whilst travelling. Students walking home will be ushered out of school and away home at the end of the day with speed. To further avoid an increase in transmission rates it is essential that Covid measures regarding masks and unnecessary mixing are maintained on the way to and from and outside of school in addition to what we will guide and direct students to do whilst in school.

Please also note that Year 7 and Year 12 Pastoral Evenings have been postponed. If you would like information about the our-of-school vaccinations offer (for 12 to 15 years) please see the letter from NHS Black Country and West Birmingham.

Headteacher | + posts

Mrs S Bowen is the Headteacher of St Thomas More Catholic School.