Use of face covering in school
A message to all regarding face coverings
As you will have seen in the national press, for the second consecutive day new Covid infections have been close to 3000 and are at their highest rate for weeks. This is particularly troubling since usually the infection rates on Sunday and Monday are lower than on other days. This increase has been replicated at a local level in East Devon (according to the BBC) though numbers remain low. However, concerns remain about tourists from around the country who have visited our community over the past few weeks and there is usually a lag on local data becoming available and any resultant infections becoming apparent.
We are therefore requesting that from Wednesday if you have face coverings then you should wear them when moving around the site, at social times and when in Collection Points.
We are hoping to avoid making face coverings mandatory, but for face coverings to be effective they need the majority of you to wear them as you move around the site and that they are taken on and off safely (details of how to do this are at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own).
Please remember to bring a zip lock bag to store your mask in and when taking your mask on and off you should use the elastic and avoid touching the front of the covering. Face coverings should be removed as you move to your lesson and before you sanitise your hands and put back on as you leave the lesson and then sanitise your hands when leaving the block. At the moment face coverings are not required in lessons unless there are specific circumstances.
We will continue to monitor the situation nationally and locally, however, this is a very concerning development particularly as there has already been a number of schools across the country reporting positive Covid cases amongst staff and students which has caused students to have to stay at home. Given the amount of time you have already spent out of College we absolutely want to avoid this.
We very much hope you will support us in increasing the use of face coverings.
We will expect you to wear a face covering if you have one.
If more of you do this then more will feel they are able to do so.
As staff, we will encourage and urge you to wear them during the day and have asked your parents and carers to support us with this. We understand that some members of our community will not feel able to support this and so, at the moment, I would like to try and accommodate this view. However anecdotal feedback from parents and carers, has indicated that many of you would feel able to wear face coverings if more were doing so and didn't feel they stood out from everyone else. I am hoping that together we can change the face covering culture over the next couple of days.
If we do not see more face coverings being worn, and we remain concerned about the level of new infections, then we will have to move to mandatory face coverings since we will not risk an infection outbreak in our community which might cause our area to go into a local lockdown with massive implications for the health of our community and local businesses. It seems clear to me that one of the lessons we have learnt from the initial outbreak is that to keep communities safe it is best to take action as early as possible and before any virus takes hold.
Thank you for your support.
Exmouth Community College