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The Buckingham School

The Buckingham School

Headteacher letter regarding facemasks - dated 27 August 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I am writing to you, following the government guidance update on the wearing of facemasks in schools.

In short – please read carefully below for further details – we have decided that facemasks will be compulsory at certain times in the school day.

Further, students will need to carry their own personal supply of hand sanitiser, in addition to accessing the wall-mounted dispensers around school.

The decision hinges on the concern that we have held all along, “where social distancing is not possible…” Our growing school is housed on a relatively small site, and so we do not have acres of space to spread out into. There are pinch-points during the day when we know that securing 100% social distancing would be impossible.

Facemasks are compulsory for all of our students:

  • On public transport, our mini-bus and local authority buses
    Please note that we cannot police this, and we rely on our students being responsible.
  • In corridors between lessons
    We expect students to still make every possible effort to stay 2 metres apart from each other.
    Masks to be placed on, before students enter a building.
    Teachers will instruct students to place them on, before they leave a classroom.
  • Queuing in the dining room
    Students can remove their masks; once they sit down to eat.

When arriving at school students will be asked to show that they have a mask with them, if they are not wearing one, as part of our school gate checks.

We favour the use of reusable masks, and ask that students bring a small bag to carry them in, when they are not being worn.

Important to note:

  • We are relying on parents to provide a face covering that is the correct size for their child
  • We will presume that you have taught your child how to apply, wear and remove the face covering safely.
  • We will also be relying on parents to ensure that the face covering is cleaned on a daily basis.
  • We do ask that these face coverings are plain and appropriate for school.

Guidance on removing a face covering:

  • Use hand sanitiser before removing (students will need to use their own)
  • Only handle the straps, ties or clips
  • Do not give it to someone else to use
  • If single-use, dispose of it carefully in a residual waste bin and do not recycle
  • If reusable, wash it in line with manufacturer’s instructions at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric
  • Use hand sanitiser once removed

Exceptions
Some students, for good reason, will be allowed not to wear a mask. The school will work with families to consider each case on its merits. Parents/carers should contact their child’s head of year in the first instance, if they believe that their child should be exempt. If the school accepts the explanation, the student will be issued a card that they can show staff, if they are challenged.

Government guidelines can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-makeyour-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own

Further, reviewing our arrangements for safe break-times, we have agreed that students will be outside during their break-times in all weather. Therefore, coats and umbrellas should be brought/worn to school.

We are doing everything we can to ensure a positive and happy start to the return to school for our students and staff. All of our arrangements and procedures are under constant review. We will continue to update you and to provide as much clarity as we can to support this aim. Please continue to contact us, should you need any further guidance or support; in the meantime, thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

Best Wishes
Mr Andrew McGinnes, Headteacher
aallen@buckinghamschool.org