After much consultation and consideration the college has decided to make the wearing of face coverings optional from September 1st subject to frequent review. Key to these reviews and a potential decision to make them mandatory will be the rate of transmission in Worcester and surrounding areas. The current transmission rate in Worcester is low hence the decision to make the wearing of face coverings optional.
We are however asking all students to bring a face covering to college each day as an integral part of their normal college equipment along with a plastic ziplock bag to store the face covering in and their own personal bottle of hand sanitiser. Our rationale for this is if students are used to bringing a face covering into college then any change to the college position on face coverings will be more straightforward. It also allows for students to operate out of their “bubble” for short period of times e.g. during interventions or support sessions. Students who travel on a bus to and from school will have to wear a face covering until they step off the bus.
In summary the college position is as follows:
When the transmission rate is low, as defined by Worcestershire Public Health, the following applies:
- Students may choose to wear a face covering when moving between lessons or in communal areas.
- Students will be asked to bring a face covering with them each day as part of their normal college equipment .
- Students do not need to wear a mask outdoors.
When the transmission rate is high, as defined by Worcestershire Public Health, the following applies:
- Students must wear a face covering when moving between lessons or in communal areas. Use of a face covering in a lesson by a student should be in response to a specific medical condition.
- Students do not need to wear a face covering when outdoors.
It is important that we all recognise that face coverings are just one of the measures which reduce the transmission of coronavirus. The college has laid out details of these measures in its risk assessment which include:
- Strict hand hygiene protocols
- Enhanced cleaning routines
- Staff maintaining 2 metre distance from students where possible
- No mixing of year groups
- Good ventilation in classrooms
- Ensuring that symptomatic people do not come into college
We must be careful not to create a sense that if students are wearing face coverings then these other measures can be minimised or reduced in any way.
Please be assured that we will continue to keep you updated with the college’s position on face coverings. You may find the following website useful in order to monitor local transmission rates https://lginform.local.gov.uk/reports/view/matthew-fung/covid-19-report-for-education-providers As always if you have any concerns about your child and the wearing of face coverings please do not hesitate to get in touch with us so that we can work together towards a solution.