The first morning back with a full school complement has been a hugely positive experience as friends have been reunited and classes have begun to work again with their teachers. 
Throughout this pandemic we have received daily emails from the Department of Education, filled with information that needed sifting carefully. Regarding the wearing of masks, the Department was using terms such as ‘must’ ‘should’ and ‘compliance’, and sending us mask supplies for those who forget their own. 
However, after challenges on our first morning back, our Senior Leadership Team has needed to review the situation. I have spoken with the Department of Education today, who have clarified their advice which is to strongly recommend mask wearing but advise us not to deny education to a child based on their willingness to wear a mask. This contradicts the written advice they sent us last week.   We also have considered our position before Christmas, when we had zero community transmission of Covid, without mask wearing in classes. Given the numbers of those who are medically exempt, and those who find mask wearing for long periods of time difficult, and given that our class sizes are small enough to be able to ensure social distancing and ventilation for the majority of our classes, and also considering our consistently negative results from our testing programme, we have decided to revert to the safety recommendation in place last term, namely we will not require masks in lessonsWe will continue to require them in corridors and communal areas.
Masks are still ‘recommended’ by the government, and we realise that wearing masks is reassuring for many of you, and we will encourage those who feel happier wearing them to continue to do so. 
Safety from possible infection is also improved with the advent of twice weekly testing for all staff, and for students with parental consent  from Year 7 upwards, to be continued with testing at home going forwards.
Please be assured that safety remains our utmost priority as we support children in their learning.
Do get in touch if you have further concerns.