We have received an updated communication from West Berkshire Wellbeing, Public Health and Education, which sets out our requirements after half term for our students, based on their recommendations.
We appreciate everything that your family is doing to protect each other and the College community, and we thank you for that.
The area is currently experiencing a large increase in COVID-19 cases across schools in the West Berkshire area and we wanted to share with you some information on how you can protect yourself and your family throughout half term and when we return in November.
We are asking you again to take care in the way you meet, mix and share space with friends and family. With the darker evenings and colder temperatures, activities and gatherings are likely to be indoors where it’s easier for winter infections to spread. We would therefore ask you to undertake the following over half-term to minimise transmission both over the holiday period and upon return to school:
- Continue to undertake twice-weekly asymptomatic Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing for all household/family members age 11 and over.
- Book a PCR test for you or your child if you are concerned that either you might have Covid-19 or have had contact with someone with Covid-19. If you don't meet any of the criteria for seeking a PCR test, please tick the box 'I've been told to get a test by my local council, health protection team or healthcare professional.'
- Any student who has a household member test positive for Covid-19 to take a daily LFD test for seven days, in addition to taking a one-off PCR test.
- Any student who is identified as a close contact of a positive case via NHS Test and Trace are advised to take a daily LFD test for seven days, in addition to taking a one-off PCR test.
- Students should undertake a lateral flow test on the day before they return to school.
We also ask you to continue to keep in mind these key elements in the ways to keep safe;
- Hands – wash with water and soap or use hand sanitiser regularly.
- Face - please try to wear a face-covering when in enclosed spaces or large groups of people.
- Space – allow as much space and distance between you and others and try to avoid crowds.
- Fresh air - meet friends outdoors or in well-ventilated areas as much as possible will help keep everyone safe.
It is likely that cases will remain high after the half-term break, and we will be working with West Berkshire over the coming week to review whether any additional measures will be needed as we return in November. This could mean increasing how often pupils undertake lateral flow testing.
We will continue to ask students and staff to wear masks in communal areas. In addition, in line with West Berkshire authorities, we will also be asking students to wear face masks in the classrooms. Anyone unable to wear a mask due to health reasons will be offered a faceguard, as always individual circumstances will be taken into account when making this decision.
Thank you again for your support through this challenging time, and we hope you enjoy spending time together with your families over the next week.