Mask Guidance, September 2020

Guidance on masks for September 2020 return

Dear Parent/Carer,

I hope you and your families have had a good summer and are feeling ready for the return to school. We are very much looking forward to safely welcoming all of our students back. You can read our guidance on returning here:

Following an update to Government guidance released late last night, I wanted to write to you today to provide an update on the wearing of face coverings in and around the Academy:

The Department for Education has said the use of face coverings in schools are generally not necessary. The robust safety and hygiene measures that have been implemented, including students in consistent groups (bubbles), social distancing and undertaking regular hand washing will help control the spread of any virus.

This being said, the guidance has been updated to state that in areas of the country where the transmission of the virus is high and local lockdowns have been implemented, face coverings should be worn by all students when moving around the school. In the event of a local lockdown being implemented here, we would communicate with parents and students immediately and would provide disposable masks in the first instance.

We understand that some parents and students may feel more comfortable if they have the option to wear a face-covering on their return to school in September. Whilst not compulsory, face-coverings will be permitted where appropriate. This includes communal areas (such as corridors, sixth form common room, study rooms and the canteen if not eating) but will not necessarily be needed within the classroom where there will be social distancing and social bubbles in action. If a student wants to wear a face-covering in the classroom then we have no objection to this.

It is very important that when wearing a face covering at school your child understands the correct way to wear, handle and store them. If they are handled incorrectly it may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission. Information on wearing, handling and washing reusable face coverings, is included at the end of this letter and I would also encourage you to read the following Government guidance:

The masks are not mandatory in areas of low transmission and your child should already have an appropriate face covering for other settings such as shops. If you wish your child to wear a mask to school, you will need to provide it. We would ask that the face coverings are multiple-use, are as plain as possible and without any offensive or aggressive words or images on them. If you would like your child to wear a face-covering but are unable to access one, please do contact the school directly so that we can provide the necessary support.

The safety and wellbeing of our students and staff continues to be our absolute priority. We have worked tirelessly over the last few months to have all safety measures in place so that we can safely welcome your child back to school come September.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely,

Lisa Mason
Ormiston Forge Academy

How to wear a face-covering

A face-covering should:

  • cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably
  • fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
  • be secured to the head with ties or ear loops
  • be made of a material that you find to be comfortable and breathable, such as cotton
  • ideally include at least two layers of fabric (the World Health Organisation recommends three depending on the fabric used)
  • unless disposable, it should be able to be washed with other items of laundry according to fabric washing instructions and dried without causing the face-covering to be damaged

When wearing a face-covering you should:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face-covering on
  • avoid wearing on your neck or forehead
  • avoid touching the part of the face-covering in contact with your mouth and nose, as it could be contaminated with the virus
  • change the face-covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
  • avoid where possible taking it off and putting it back on a lot in quick succession

When removing a face-covering:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before removing
  • only handle the straps, ties or clips
  • do not give it to someone else to use
  • if single-use, dispose of it carefully in a residual waste bin and do not recycle
  • if reusable, wash it in line with manufacturer’s instructions at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser once removed