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Update on Face Coverings - 29th Aug

August 29th, 2020

Dear Parent / Carer

You will be aware of the recent announcement from the Welsh Government that Local Authorities and Schools should make the decision about the use of ‘face coverings’. In response to this RCT have now confirmed that they strongly recommend face coverings be worn by all secondary school staff and students. Therefore I can confirm that at Pontypridd High we will be expecting students and staff to wear a face covering on our return to school next week. This will help to keep everyone safe and healthy when moving around common areas of school buildings including corridors, lifts, stairwells, toilets, canteen areas where physical distancing is unlikely to be maintained. Advice also says that staff and students can remove face coverings when seated in classrooms, participating in lessons and when outside school buildings. In addition to wearing a face covering at certain times and places in school, all secondary aged children who will be using school transport must also wear a mask. One re-usable face covering will be issued to your child(ren) for their first return trip home. Please note that for the initial trip into school, drivers will issue a disposable face mask for pupils to wear until they collect their reusable mask. Please note that a refusal to comply with this expectation, good hygiene and where possible social distancing could jeopardise your child’s place on school transport. Your support in reinforcing this message with your child would be greatly appreciated. Students who travel to school on public transport must wear a three layer face covering as mandated by the Welsh Government. The wearing of face coverings will not remove the need for staff and students to respect the 2m social distancing and good hand hygiene wherever possible but face coverings are an added safety measure to prevent transmission of the virus. In order to support the wearing of face coverings we have produced a school policy that is available for you to read on our website. The policy provides more information on our expectations and the circumstances when some students may be exempt from wearing a face covering. This includes situations such as:

• where a child is not being able to put on, wear, or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability

•if putting on, wearing, or removing a face covering will cause severe distress

•where interacting with someone who uses lip reading to communicate, or who has social communication impairments In terms of an appropriate face covering I imagine that most people will be wearing a face mask and not a face shield or visor.

I would encourage everyone to purchase their own masks if at all possible though we will have a supply in school which can be given to students as required. Face masks can be made of cloth which means they can be washed and reused. Others are made of paper and are disposable. The World Health Organisation recommends that a ‘paper’ face mask should have at least 3 layers. All face masks supplied and distributed at Pontypridd High will be made up at least 3 layers. It is recognised that there will be occasions and situations which will need to be managed on their individual merit and context. Please note that where students plan to use their own face mask, the mask must be plain, with no words or pictorial or symbolic representations that may be considered controversial and/or would detract and possibly cause offence to others in our school. In such circumstances, the student will be asked to wear a plain face mask supplied by the school. I appreciate that it is late in the day to be informing you of all these details but I know you will understand the reasons for this. I would ask that you take time to read through the school policy on our website and if possible make sure your child(ren) has a face covering (mask) ready for their first day at school next week.

Please visit our school website to access the following information: - our school ‘Face Covering’ policy - a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document produced by the Local Authority about returning to school this September - a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document produced by the Local Authority on the issues surrounding examinations this summer and in the year ahead - Our school plan for all year groups from September 2nd next week.

If there are any issues or concerns please contact staff at school on Tuesday next week and I am sure we can help to resolve anything before children start attending from Wednesday, September 2nd. As always, thank you for support with this matter.

Huw Cripps