An update for parents & carers
Dear Parents and Carers
I just wanted to give a quick update on progress at the College.
Firstly can I once again reiterate how proud we have been of our students, particularly all of our new students across all years as well as our Year 7 students. Students have settled really well; taking the new rules around Collection Points, hand sanitising, wearing their PE kit, separate entrances and staggered starts/breaks and so on all in their stride . Students have been overwhelmingly exemplary.
Thanks for all your support with attendance. Last week we had over 95% of students in school (compared to national figures that came out today of 88%), which is down by 1% on last year for us, but I think is really impressive given the circumstances. I believe our attendance being so far above the national level reflects both the trust that exists between College, students and their families that we will do the best we can to make the College safe and lessons interesting and inspiring as well as the commitment from parents and carers to get the best education possible for their children. Thank you for your support.
We have continued to encourage students to wear face coverings around the site and while waiting to be collected for lessons. The majority of students, when asked, will put their face coverings on, however they are quick to forget unless staff are always around reminding them and so getting students to keep them on needs a bit of work. We are particularly conscious that students will need to take some responsibility to do this themselves since constantly asking students to do this will eventually lose its impact.
Please remember we have not made face coverings mandatory and so if your child does not wish to wear a face covering that is perfectly acceptable. Given that a significant number of students are still not choosing to wear face coverings they will not be alone or stigmatised in any way.
We are now linked in to Infection Control specialists at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital who support our approach to face coverings but would encourage students to still do the following things to ensure good face covering hygiene,
Hand hygiene is really important – clean/gel your hands before you put on your masks – they suggest parents/carers could buy their children a small hand gel for them to keep in their pocket or bag and parents can encourage their children to use though we have lots of sanitiser stations around the College
Students should sanitise their hands before removing your masks by its straps - take you covering off on the way into the teaching block then sanitise your hands and put your covering back on when you leave the classroom and then sanitise as you leave the teaching block
Don’t fiddle with your mask when it is on
Keep a clean plastic bag which you can store your face mask in, or a take away box/margarine tub
When storing fold your mask in half to ensure that the inner cloth that contacts your mouth remains protected from any potentially contaminated surfaces.
Remember to wash your masks after school each day
As ever, thanks for all the support and encouragement you can give to your child to wear their face coverings around the site. As I have pointed out to students not only are we concerned about their health but also that of their families and the community and we also want to do our bit to prevent a local lockdown, which would be devastating to local businesses. If most people use a face covering safely there does seem to be strong evidence that this can significantly reduce the amount of transmission both to other people and to the person wearing the mask.
Can you please ensure that coverings are being worn on school transport. We will shortly be carrying out some spot checks and the Local Authority are expecting students to wear face coverings on the buses particularly since they are in close proximity to other year groups as well as the Coach Driver.
Open Evening and Parents' Evening
Due to the risks associated with having large numbers of people on site unfortunately we have taken the decision not to hold Open Evening face to face this year. This is a huge disappointment since it is usually very exciting for everyone and a highlight of the year. We will however be developing a virtual Open Evening which I am sure will also be exciting - more information will follow in due course. We are also looking at how we will be able to provide Parents' Evenings going forward. For smaller year groups such as in Post-16 we may still be able to provide a face to face experience since we can manage the number of people on site safely, however, other year groups will be far harder. More information will follow on this shortly.
Difficulties with obtaining tests
Finally, we are aware of massive difficulties at the moment with trying to obtain a test if your child or family is experiencing Covid symptoms. Like all other state schools we have been given 10 (ten) emergency test kits which we are holding in reserve for staff who work with children and who are critical to keeping the College open with all year groups able to attend. I am really sorry not to be able to be of more help with testing but I hope you appreciate our position, particularly since we are not allowed to order any more until next week, and even then I suspect with demand so high the website will crash or stocks will have run out. Apologies for this.
Many thanks once again for your ongoing support.
Exmouth Community College