Our INSET day yesterday was the first time all staff have been able to gather together in one place since the first lockdown and it has been really tremendous to welcome both them and all of the students back to school today. The atmosphere is truly wonderful… a sense of homecoming or a return almost to pre-Covid times.
However, given the fact that Covid has not in fact gone away (however much we wish this were the case), I would like to remind everyone of the current Covid rules for schools. The system of “bubbles” – where children only mix within a fixed year or class group – has ended. Face coverings no longer need to be worn by staff or pupils (although they still need to be worn on public transport and teachers/ pupils can wear them if they wish). Any pupil who tests positive for Covid will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to isolate. The child – or their parents – will be asked to provide information about close contacts at school and elsewhere. Those pupils named as close contacts will be asked to take a PCR test, but will not have to self-isolate unless they test positive. Due to the national relaxation of Covid mitigation measures, it is all the more important therefore that secondary school pupils (and staff) self-test twice a week to prevent the spread of the virus and continue to practice good hygiene. At the Girls’ School, Lateral Flow Tests can be collected by your children from Mrs Palmer at Student Services and at the Boys’ School, Lateral Flow Tests will be handed to students at the school gates at regular intervals.
As you have been previously advised, ISS, the catering provider for Barnet schools, has terminated its contract with Barnet. We are in the process of arranging a contract with a new Kosher provider. However, due to some historical TUPE issues which emerged during the change of contracts, students will need to bring their own lunches for the (very few) days that we are in school during September. I am very sorry that this is the case and can assure that we will do our utmost to resolve this situation as soon as possible in time for our return after Succos. If your child is entitled to free school meals, their meals can be collected from the lunch halls as normal. Otherwise, please ensure your child brings packed lunch to school for the month of September.
Wishing everyone Shanah Tovah,
Mr Andrew McClusky