Dear Parent / Carer
Following my numerous communications last year you may remember that I sit on a number of COVID- and vaccine-related steering groups. This is rather ironic because I am not a great fan of meetings, but it does mean that The Priory School is well placed when making decisions.
Across secondary schools in Hertfordshire there has been an increase in the number of reported COVID cases, which one would expect to see as winter approaches.
Schools all have COVID outbreak management plans that look to introduce measures used last year to reduce the spread of infection. The introduction of these measures is discussed with the local authority’s COVID response team before being actioned.
We will undoubtedly see an increase in infections at The Priory School as half term approaches and following are some measures that we may introduce in addition to what is already in place (see letter dated 2nd September):
- Face coverings to be worn in communal areas and, if required, lessons.
- Teachers to deliver lessons from the front of the classroom, and restrictions on certain types of learning activities.
- Students to line up outside before lessons where this is not happening already.
- Assemblies and other large student events to be online.
Currently at The Priory School we have a handful of COVID cases and where relevant we have carried out our in-house track and trace to support what NHS Test and Trace are doing. To be frank we have serious concerns regarding the capacity of NHS Test and Trace to identify and then contact close contacts. If you are informed by the school that your child has been a ‘close contact’ we will advise that a PCR test is taken and that your child stays at home until the result is known.
A key strategy for identifying COVID is the testing twice weekly on Sundays and Wednesdays (see letter dated 2nd September). If your child feels unwell in between these days, please test; it is better to play it safe
The vaccination roll-out for 12-15 year olds is currently taking place across Hertfordshire. The delivery of the vaccination programme is being carried out by the School Aged Immunisation Service (SAIS). This is a massive undertaking and the immunisation team has faced a number of logistical and technical challenges. A number of secondary schools have reported that the immunisation team has not been able to vaccinate all students in the allocated day.
The day of immunisation at The Priory School is Monday 4th October.
- The aim is that all students for whom consent has been given will be vaccinated.
- As previously stated (letter dated 17th September) the school remains neutral on the issue of consent, which is between parents and their children.
- Please do not phone the school on the day to give verbal consent as we will not be able to act
- Any concerns need to be raised with the School Aged Immunisation Service (01727 732062; firstname.lastname@example.org).
- The school will only know on the day itself which students have consent to be vaccinated. This will be at the point that the Immunisation team presents the relevant spreadsheet to us.
- Ideally we would want to start with Year 11 and work our way down the year groups. This is to protect Year 11 students who are in an important period of their studies for their forthcoming exams. However, this does depend on what the immunisation team wants to do.
- In the event that all students with consent cannot be vaccinated on the day, we will advise parents what the best course of action is.
- Currently there are discussions being had about the ‘mop-up strategy’ for those students eligible for vaccination. This is not in the control of the school, but the current national deadline for completing this stage of the vaccination programme is 15th
- Young people aged 16 and 17 can now book their vaccination through the National Booking Service. This can be done online at the NHS website.