Herts and Essex High School steps up health and hygiene practices amid daily increases in Covid cases among students
Herts and Essex High School has tightened its health precautions and is stepping up hygiene operations amid daily increases in Covid-19 cases among students.
As of Tuesday (Oct 12), students must wear face masks as soon as they arrive at school and in all communal areas, they must take lateral flow tests at home at least twice a week, pupils doing PE or sport must wear it to school for the whole day and assemblies will be online only.
A scheduled Year 13 visit to South Mill Arts on Thursday afternoon (Oct 14) has been cancelled and parents have been blocked from attending a school music concert.
In an email to parents and carers on Monday (Oct 11), executive headteacher Cathy Tooze said: "I am sorry to need to inform you of the fact that the numbers of positive cases of Covid-19 at Herts & Essex is increasing daily. As a result, we have decided to implement several precautions, starting tomorrow (Tuesday 12 October).
"We hope that after two weeks of precautions, followed by half term week, we'll see a significant reduction in numbers of infections and we'll be able to return to the current 'normality'."
Face masks must be worn in all corridors, halls, outdoor areas and while queueing for lunch and can only be removed in lessons with staff's permission.
Lateral flow tests (LFTs) must be taken at home on Sunday and Wednesday evenings. Students involved in activities involving more than one year group must take a daily LFT.
Where students have a PE lesson or co-curricular sport activity, they should go to school in their PE kit, to include leggings, which they will wear all day. Students are not allowed to turn up for school in skorts.
Girls representing the school in team sports must carry out LFTs both the night before and on the morning of the fixture. Students who lead younger girls' sports can continue but must maintain strict social distancing.
At lunch and break times, students will be kept in year groups – with sixth-formers being treated as one year group – and dining areas will be separated into year group areas. The school's caterer, Cucina, will continue to provide its usual service.
On the hygiene front, the school is increasing cleaning operations, including overnight deep cleans; door handles and light switches will be cleaned more regularly; and windows and doors will be kept open as much as possible.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) readers installed in more than 40 positions around the school are being monitored for ventilation purposes and, where readings suggest, students will be moved to another room.
Next Tuesday's (Oct 19) chamber concert will go ahead as a student-only performance. A recording will be made available to parents and carers with a Just Giving link. Students taking part will need to take extra LFTs on the days of their rehearsals and the concert.
Mrs Tooze concluded: "We all want our community to be happy, healthy and receiving a great education. Therefore, please ensure that your child undergoes the LFTs as described and brings anti-viral wipes, face masks and sanitiser. My thanks, as ever, for your support with everything Covid!"