Covid-19 Planning for Week 9 (starting 15th November 2021)

Following the successful start to the new half of term and the return of all but a small number of pupils to school to enjoy face-to-face learning, this is to inform you of the changes to our arrangements in the week ahead. As mentioned in previous correspondence to parents and guardians, each week we shall be reviewing the rates of infection in the local community, the number of positive cases in school and the guidance and recommendations from the local Public Health Agency.

Following this review, we are able to make the following changes to the regulations in place for next week (Week 9) starting on Monday, 15th November:

  • We will be re-starting fixtures with other schools, inviting parents to attend and will provide match teas for spectators and pupils.
  • External and internal visits will be able to resume.

However, the following restrictions will remain in place for now:

  • The reduction in the size of group gatherings in school, such as assemblies and chapels during Week 9.
  • The encouragement of the wearing of masks by staff and pupils in Years 7 & 8 in public places and in circulation areas indoors such as corridors.
  • The encouragement of the continuation of twice weekly LFD testing for staff and pupils in Years 7 and 8.

 

Covid-19 Reminders: Recommended advice regarding testing and absence from school

  • If unwell, pupils should stay at home.
  • If pupils have any Covid-19 symptoms (a new, continuous cough, or a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell) they should stay at home and arrange a PCR test. Free PCR tests can be arranged through this Government website.
  • If positive, the pupil should isolate for at least 10 days after their symptoms appear and parents should contact the school so that remote teaching can be arranged if their child is well enough to work.
  • If the test is negative for Covid-19 but symptoms persist, individuals should still wait until 24 hours post fever before coming back into school.
  • Since colds and other non-Covid-19 symptoms are circulating, in the first instance cardinal symptoms should be treated as possible Covid-19 and trigger isolation and testing. This is the case even if others in the set /group have tested negative for similar symptoms.
  • Household siblings of confirmed cases in Years 7 & 8 are advised to take daily LFD tests while awaiting their PCR test results. They can continue to attend school unless their test is positive. This is also advised for pupils below Year 7, but is at the discretion of the parent/guardian.
  • Please note: Individuals should not retest via PCR or LFD for 90 days after their PCR positive result, unless they develop new symptoms of COVID-19, in which case they should self-isolate and seek a PCR test.

 

Covid-19 Reminders: Contact Tracing

The UK Health Security Agency (South West Team) has advised the school that the responsibility for contact tracing for pupils in schools is the responsibility of NHS Track and Trace. The school will always help when asked to support NHS Track and Trace in their role.

 

The Senior Production ‘An Elephant in the Garden’ – postponement

As many parents will be aware, the school’s Director of Drama and Dance, Mrs Lynne Lawrence, has been out of school this week due to illness. Whilst we wish her a speedy recovery, we are unsure whether she will be able to manage all of her previous commitments on her return, including the play scheduled for later this term. Combined with the lack of rehearsal time in the week prior to the start of the half term break, there are significant delays in having the senior production ready for the week of the performances prior to the end of term.

 

We have therefore had to make the difficult decision to postpone this year’s senior production until next term. It is now scheduled for the week before the first Exeat weekend in the Lent Term 2022. Exact timings will be shared with parents in due course. Naturally, this will be a great disappointment to the talented and hardworking cast and the backstage crew, as well as to the many parents who had already arranged tickets. We apologise for this and tickets will be re-arranged prior to the new performance dates. Rehearsals will continue this term and, of course, there are still many other events to look forward to, both for pupils and for parents, in the run up to Christmas and we look forward to welcoming you to these. In the meantime, thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

 

Year 7 & 8 Vaccinations

Can we please ensure that  all Year 7 and 8 children aged 12 years old and over that are being vaccinated for Covid-19 on Friday 19th November, to wear pe kit into school, even those doing swimming, to allow the medical staff to access arms more easily.

 

Junior Forms Parents’ Evenings

The Junior Forms Parents’ Evenings are scheduled for 29th and 30th November, 4.30pm-6pm. Schoolcloud is giving us the opportunity to have ‘hybrid’ parents meetings, with some face to face and some remote. We are aware that there may be different reasons why parents may prefer to meet remotely at this time, so we would like to have an approximate idea of how many parents would come to a face-to-face meeting and how many would prefer it to be remote and on which day. The numbers we see from the below form will help us decide how to organise the form of the evenings. We suggest that parents of boarders may prefer remote meetings. Please click on the link below to access the form:

Year 7 and 8 Short Story Competition

It is traditional for DCPS to welcome in the changing of the clocks with the Year 7 and 8 Short Story Competition: this year, due to our sudden adoption of remote learning before half-term, the competition has been extended to the whole school. We have a remarkable range of entries, on almost every conceivable subject – and with some beautiful illustrations, too. Why do we do this, though? Why do we encourage pupils to stretch themselves in this way? Well, the modern (and doubtless the postmodern) world is driven by non-fiction: by reports, instructions, lists, presentations and arguments. But the inner world, the rich world of the mind, is driven by ideas and connections; by understanding of people and their motivations; by empathy. All of these things come together in writing a story. When did you last write one? When did you last sit down, create a new individual and watch them battle against the odds to achieve something? Years ago, possibly. But what an experience it is, just letting your mind flow through your words, revealing things you hardly even knew were there. It is one we hope to stimulate every year through this brilliant competition, whose winners will be announced in a week or so – after all the entries are in. If your Year 3 to 6 child is still trying to finish their story, please do let me know – as even if they are too late for the competition proper, I value the story and the effort and would love to read it. Hopefully your Year 7 and 8 child has written an entry and submitted it today!

But for anyone – I would say –  write away and watch the ideas draw themselves together, like swans, as the story matures…

From Mr Donnelly, Director of Studies.

 

Year  4 Trip – Tuesday 16th November

Please read the attached letter to Year 4 parents: