End of Term Updates – Letter 14/12/21

Ref: HT/tlb

Tuesday 14th December 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

I hope you are well. I am writing with some updates regarding the end and start of term, along with the latest government COVID-19 information.

End of Term
There will be a slightly shortened last day of term on Friday 17th December, where we will be holding a non-uniform event. Students can choose to wear their Christmas jumpers or something suitably festive.
Normal lessons will take place during periods 1 → 3, with ‘virtual’ celebration assemblies taking place in morning registration. Students will then be dismissed at 12.20pm and early buses and taxis have been arranged. Any students in receipt of Free School Meals will be able to obtain an early lunch at break time. Communication regarding government supermarket vouchers, for students in receipt of Free School Meals over the Christmas period, has been released via e-mail.

Start of term in January 2022
Looking ahead to January a reminder that, following DfE guidance, there will be a staggered start to school whilst we test the students for COVID-19. As we communicated in the letter sent to you last week, when students are not on site being tested, they will be taught and registered using Microsoft Teams online. Students need to follow their timetable and be ready and eager to learn as normal. Please refer to the tutor group testing times and dates on the website.

For a reminder of how to access and use Teams, please visit our website under the ‘Online Teaching and Learning’ tab, or use this link: Online Teaching & Learning – (tretherras.net)

It is our absolute aim that, no matter what lies ahead, our students will thrive. Should we face any school closure next calendar year, we will replicate the school day as closely as possible. Students will be expected to follow their timetables remotely, including tutor time, using Teams. This will not only ensure students can continue with their curriculum and progress, but will also ensure they stay connected, and are kept busy and motivated throughout the week. If the government position changes over the holiday and we have to teach remotely again, we have lots of strategies up our sleeves to make sure our students don’t have 6 hours a day of screen time!

Thank You
As we approach the end of yet another remarkable term, our staff and pupils remain in good spirits, despite increasing levels of COVID illness. I would like to pay tribute to the excellent work of Tretherras staff, both teaching and support staff, whose commitment and dedication to our children and young people has kept our school afloat throughout this year.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas and healthy New Year 2022. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to school throughout the week beginning Tuesday 4th January.

With very best wishes
Executive Headteacher

DFE COVID-19 Update
Daily testing for contacts of COVID-19
From today, a new national approach to daily testing for contacts of COVID-19 is being introduced (including until the end of this term). 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 for contacts of COVID-19 will help protect schools by reducing transmission and will also help keep pupils in face-to-face education.

Once notified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact, all eligible staff, pupils and students should take an LFD each day for 7 days and report the results through the Online Reporting System and to their setting. This approach should also be adopted over the winter break and on return in January.

If they test 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. All staff and students will be provided with a box of 7 LFD tests this week.

Children under five years old do not need to take part in daily testing for contacts of COVID-19 and do not need to isolate.

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 to continue regular, twice weekly, at-home testing for all education staff and all students of secondary age and above.

Update on COVID-19 vaccinations
The new Omicron COVID-19 variant is spreading fast. Anyone who is unvaccinated or who hasn’t had their booster is at even greater risk from COVID-19 and more serious illness. Vaccines are the best way we can protect ourselves and help keep children and young people in face-to-face education.

People aged 18 years and over, and those aged 16 years and over who are at risk will be offered a booster dose of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. You will be offered appointment dates from 3 months after the date of your 2nd dose. Sixteen and seventeen-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 29th 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.

We have been asked to ask parents and carers to use the out-of-school route as we break up for the Christmas holidays. In some cases, parents will be able to get their booster at the same time as their child getting their first vaccine.
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.