Dear Parent /Carer 

I hope that over half term you and your family
were able to get a break and that if you have experienced
Covid-19 that you are feeling better or are on the road to
a swift recovery.  With the recent announcement of the
new lockdown I thought it would be appropriate to update you on the
continuing preventative steps we are taking to minimise positive
cases at Great Sankey High School. 

Working with the Trust, whilst acknowledging that
in recent meetings Public Health representatives recognised and praised
the strong control measures adopted by the school, we have been reviewing what
further actions the school could take to further reduce transmission. 
As always, the priority is
to implement a proportionate, proactive and measured response based
on expert opinion. 

While the current government guidance does not require
students to wear facemasks during lessons you will have likely seen the
response in other European countries and, in particular, in Scotland who
are now advocating older students wear masks during lessons.  With
high transmission rates in young adults we have
therefore made the following

Year 12 and 13
students will now be required
to wear masks during lessons;    
Key Stage 4
students will be expected to wear masks in indoor practical subjects 
as catering and DT where movement around the classroom forms part of a
normal lesson. In non-practical
subjects, mask wearing will be optional 
while providing class teachers
the discretion to ask students to remove them if it will improve participation
and involvement in lessons. 

For students in Key
Stage 3 we are making the wearing of masks in
lessons optional, 
while again providing class teachers
the discretion to ask students to remove them if it will improve participation
and involvement in lessons. 

Alongside our existing measures we are also going to place a greater focus on natural ventilation this half term and windows and classroom doors being opened to provide constant background ventilation.  Obviously, the school heating system will be on but as we move into the colder months we would encourage students to wear additional base layers under their uniform.  If it becomes particularly cold teachers will allow children to wear coats in class.  While this is not ideal, recent updated guidance from the DFE has emphasised the importance of air-circulation in reducing virus transmission. 

In addition to the above, the school has recently been asked to participate in a study
to monitor the infection and transmission of coronavirus
(COVID-19) as part of a sample of primary and secondary schools
across the country.
  The study is being conducted by Public
Health England in partnership with the Office for National Statistics, and the
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, working with the Department for
Education and is funded by the Department for Health and Social

With the recent surge of cases across Warrington and the
high number of asymptomatic cases being seen, the Trust and I agreed immediately
to participate.  Students in
Year 7 and 8 and staff will be asked to enrol in the national pilot and letters
and information on this has already been shared.
  I would
encourage as many students as possible to get involved. 

Finally, following the half term break and community
feedback, we have been asked by the Local Authority to
remind parents of the absolute necessity in following government
guidance and lockdown rules that are in place outside of school including
the need for young people to adhere to social distancing rules and
not gather groups. 

Thank you for your continued support.  Further updates
on curriculum activities and initiatives will be shared over the
coming weeks, in the meantime, let us hope that the lockdown has the expected
impact in reducing the R rate and that the restrictions can be eased
as soon as is possible.  

Yours faithfully 

John Shannon