Covid-19 – Headteacher Update
Dear Parents and Carers,
I would like to take this opportunity to explain to you the protocol for schools when we are notified of a positive test for Covid since I know that there has been concern expressed amongst some parents that the standard letter that we send does not give much information.
As a background when school returned in September the Covid rate in Dorset was 5 in 100,000. On Monday the rate in Sherborne was 167 per 100,000 and in Yeovil 196 per 100,000. Over 1500 students and 200 staff come on to site each day. Some staff have little or no contact with students, others work more closely but always seek to maintain a social distance wherever possible. Our bubbles, are year groups, are 240 but we know that students generally have tight knit social groups that they stay with at lunch and break and we have seating plans for all classes in lesson.
Given our situation and the current prevalence of the disease we inevitably get notified of positive cases. We always alert PHE and seek advice. If the person has not been in school for 48h before they first develop symptoms we do not need to send their close contacts home. If they have been in school during that time we immediately begin our “track and trace” system, looking at seating plans and talking to the person about who their close contacts are – in the case of a student this is their close friends. Close contacts are sent home. If there are repeated cases of students in a year group or there are a very large number of close contacts then PHE may well ask us to close a year group. To date this has only been the case on one occasion. Staff inevitably work across bubbles but as I have mentioned above they are well aware of the need to maintain social distancing so a positive test for a staff member will generally result in very few students or colleagues being sent home.
As with any other medical information we do not release the names or details of people, staff or students, who have tested positive. If only one bubble is affected then any letter from us will specify the bubble.
The advice from PHE is that the two key things are hand hygiene and social distancing by staff. We reinforce this every lesson.
If your child is at home awaiting test results please always let us know so that we can download seating plans etc to be ready should the test be positive.
Thank you for your on-going support. Our main aim is to keep everyone in school, staff and students, safe and happy in their work.
Sadly it is likely that we will be letting you know of further positive tests in the coming days. Please be assured that we follow up each situation very carefully.