Dear Parent and Carers,
I hope you and your family are keeping well and I would once again like to thank you for your continued support over the last few months.
I want to write to you today following the announcement that local authority leaders, directors of public health and the national government have made the decision to place Sandwell, as well as Solihull and Birmingham, into local lockdowns from Tuesday 15th September following an increase in rates of transmission of COVID-19 in the area.
The local circumstances have meant that schools must now abide by safety restrictions prepared in the instance of government intervention in local areas, as is now the case here in Sandwell. This, therefore, applies to Ormiston Forge Academy.
Ensuring everyone’s health, safety and wellbeing, whilst maintaining a consistent education for our students with minimal disruption, has been and continues to be our absolute priority for this academic year. We are closely following all Government and local government guidance, and because of our robust contingency planning we already have the necessary preparations in place to respond to a range of scenarios relating to a local lockdown.
Moving into Tier 1 will see very little change to how we are already safely operating our school, with various robust and precautionary safety measures in place. We will remain fully open, full time, to all students and staff.
This means that from Tuesday 15th September, face coverings must now be worn by all students and staff when moving around the premises including in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot be easily maintained. This is in line with Government guidance. We would suggest that students wear face coverings from Monday 14th September. Since the return to school this month, we have provided students and staff with the option of wearing a face covering at times during the school day, which some have chosen to do. We are aware some students are exempt from wearing face coverings for medical conditions. These students will be contacted by Mrs Taylor on Monday; if you would like to confirm with Mrs Taylor that your child is included please email her on [email protected]
The school has a small supply of disposable masks to distribute to those students who are unable to obtain a face covering by Monday. We do expect the use of reusable masks or daily disposables, provided by yourselves, going forward. Face coverings must as plain as possible and without any offensive or aggressive words or images on them. If you have any issues with accessing an appropriate face covering for your child then please do contact the school directly by writing to [email protected]
We will be continuing to operate many other safety measures we have in place including social distancing, social bubbles, staggered school days, and increased hygiene and cleaning protocols to help limit any spread of the virus.
We do not yet know how long Sandwell (or Solihull and Birmingham) will be placed into a local lockdown for, or whether we will progress to the further Government Tiers (2, 3 and 4) which would be implemented should the transmission rate of COVID-19 continue to increase locally. If we were to move to the next Tier (2), that would require a mix of on-site and remote learning as part of a rota system. However, should there be any changes or updates to the current Tier that we are in and the safety requirements, we will contact you immediately.
As you know, we have done all we can to ensure that your child has the best possible start to the new academic year, following an extraordinary few months and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support in helping us do this. The health, safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and wider school community will continue to be our priority, but we will also do everything we can to minimise any disruption to your child’s education. In the meantime, if you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Dr Lisa Mason
Ormiston Forge Academy