College update - 30.11.21

30 November 2021

Dear Parent / Carer / Student 

As you will have heard on the news a new variant of the Covid-19 virus named ‘Omicron’ has been identified which is a cause for concern nationally. From the 30th November it is a mandatory requirement to wear face coverings indoors in public areas, including communal spaces and public transport.

The wearing of face coverings was brought in at the college from the 1st November 2021 on the advice of Population Health Tameside. It is now more important than ever to adhere to this request, unless you are medically exempt. Whilst not compulsory to wear face coverings in the classroom, you can if you wish.  This strategy appears to be highly effective in our efforts to minimise transmission and in enabling us to maintain on-site teaching and learning; we have seen relatively few cases this term which is pleasing. However, it is important that your son / daughter arrives at college with their own face covering. The College has supplied students with thousands of disposable masks since November; this is unsustainable. 

Your support with face mask wearing is appreciated. Unfortunately, there have been a small number of incidences where students have refused to wear a mask or have been rude when asked to wear one; members of staff at the college are working hard to ensure that your sons and daughters receive the very best education we can offer. The additional demands of constant enforcement is draining. It would help everyone in the college community if these rules were adhered to.  

In addition, twice weekly LFD rapid testing at home is key to finding cases in people who have no symptoms but could pass on the virus to others. Rapid testing is quick and simple but can be very effective in preventing transmission.  By testing regularly, we can identify and isolate cases to slow the spread of the virus in schools, colleges and the wider community, protecting our students, staff and their loved ones, and others around them. The more cases we find, the better chance we have of stopping COVID 19 spreading.  Students can able to pick up test kits from the College main reception and from their Senior Tutor. If a rapid test is positive, please book a PCR test straight away and inform the college. Should the PCR test give a positive result, follow the advice given by NHS Test and Trace. Close contacts, including household members, will be asked to take a PCR test, even if they do not have symptoms. All close contacts of anyone who has tested positive for the Omicron variant are required to isolate for 10 days regardless of whether they have been vaccinated. If you or any member of your family develop coronavirus symptoms at any point, stay at home and book a PCR test as soon as possible.  

We would also encourage take up of the COVID 19 vaccination by our students. All 16-17 year old students are now eligible for both vaccinations which can be booked through NHS Test and Trace. The eligibility for booster vaccinations have also been relaxed, with all people over the age of 18 now eligible, and children between the ages of 12 and 15 are now eligible for a second dose. More information can be found at NHS Test and Trace.  

Remember the main symptoms of COVID 19: a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste. However, there are many more symptoms which could indicate a COVID 19 infection in younger people, so if your son / daughter is feeling unwell, it is best to book a PCR test, regardless of their specific symptoms. 

Thank you for continuing to follow all the current guidance in relation to hand hygiene, social distancing, face coverings and ensuring spaces are well ventilated. It is particularly important that we all remain vigilant at this time. 

Many thanks for your continued support.

Anton