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Marshland High School

Face Coverings and COVID-19 Precautions

New updates and precautions are to come into effect from Monday 28th September 2020.

Following a national increase in COVID-19 cases and in light of the UK Government’s tightening of restrictions this week, I have made the decision to make it compulsory for all students and staff to wear face coverings in corridors from Monday 28th September. Face coverings can include: a mask that covers the nose and mouth (either disposable or one that can be washed regularly); a face shield, or; a snood. Students should store their face coverings in a re-sealable bag when they are not wearing it.

Some students may be exempt. If this is the case, I would ask that you contact your child’s Pastoral Manager to let them know the reason, so that we can update your child’s record and keep staff informed. I envisage the vast majority of students will be able to wear a suitable item. 

Our primary aim with these changes to face covering guidance and behaviour expectations is to keep our school community safe and calm, reduce the risk of increased lockdown restrictions, and to ensure our students are able to stay in school and focus on their learning. A large proportion of our students will already be used to wearing compulsory face coverings as they travel to school by bus. Face coverings are also already compulsory in settings such as shops.

I would like to say a big thank you to students who are co-operating with staff and who have adapted brilliantly to the new temporary COVID rules, as well as to all the parents supporting these. As ever, Marshland students impress me with their standards of behaviour and ability to adapt to challenging circumstances.

We have issued detentions to some students who have not followed these new rules. I have personally spoken with many of these students. They understand the reasons for the changes and have assured me that they will not get it wrong again. Again this shows the honesty and responsibility of our students.

I would like to remind you of some of the new rules and the reasons they have been introduced:

New expectation The reason we are doing this
Follow the one-way system This means there is less face-to-face contact between students and allows a smooth and calm flow of students around the school whilst avoiding congestion points
Not to talk when moving to and from lessons and around school  As we now have staggered break and lunchtimes for year group bubbles, this means that there are lessons for other year groups still in progress during changeover periods. Teachers keep their doors open to increase ventilation and, if students are talking in the corridors, this disturbs the learning of other classes. Furthermore, we aim to reduce year group bubbles mixing in the corridors and if students are talking there is more chance of cross-contamination between year groups. Children stopping in the corridors to chat with each other also increases blockages in the corridor and potential cross-contamination.
Not to be in physical contact with each other Government guidance states there is no expectation for social distancing between students in bubbles, but we aim to reduce the risk of cross-contamination by not allowing physical contact. Students are also not permitted to share food, drink or equipment due to the risk of cross-contamination. 
No chewing gum This has always been a school rule. However, this rule is now more important than ever as discarded gum on surfaces, the floor or tables causes a considerable contamination risk

As we all learn new ways of working together, we will continue to review and update our COVID-19 Behaviour Policy Addendum. This can always be found on our website. 

In addition to these COVID rules, it is important to stress that the school site is a “Nut Free Zone”. We have students with severe allergies and we would ask that you do not send your own child into school with nuts in their food or snacks. 

Finally, due to the restrictions on large gatherings, we are working on plans for online appointments for parents’ evenings. As soon as we have more information we will share details and dates with you.

I am sure you will understand that we are doing our utmost to keep everyone safe. For this to happen, I would ask that you discuss with your child why it is important that they follow the new rules and routines.