Dear Parents and Carers,

Today has started well. Everyone is being very conscientious about adhering to our adjustments and it’s been fascinating to see the range of masks students and staff are wearing. Thank you for your support with that.

We have now had nearly all the test results back. There is one more positive test of a member of staff who has been isolating since last week. There are no new track and trace requirements as a result of that test and it does not change the opinion of both PHE and myself that the school is safe.

I want to reassure you that all staff who have tested positive are isolating, and all staff who were within 2 metres of any of them for 15 minutes or more are also isolating. I gather that some people think there are members of staff in school awaiting test results. That is absolutely not the case.

A few of you have written to me asking if we would consider allowing students to come to school in PE kit on the days they have PE so they avoid being in changing rooms. We have made some adjustments to the ways that students change but in the current climate of heightened caution it seems sensible to make that further change. From tomorrow, student should come to school dressed in their PE kit if they have PE that day and be prepared to wear it all day. It needs to be Samuel Ward PE kit – other tracksuits or hoodies won’t be allowed.

Many of you have sent us kind words of encouragement this week and we are very grateful for those. I don’t normally pay any attention to social media rumours but sadly I’ve heard some very aggressive and hurtful things about the people at Samuel Ward who have been unfortunate enough to catch this disease. I am absolutely clear that no one is to blame and no one has done anything wrong. Any criticism towards any groups or individuals is totally misplaced and totally unacceptable.

We had worked hard to make the school safe before we reopened. We were all taken by surprise by how quickly covid spread and we have all adapted our behaviour even further to stop it happening again. Schools across the country will be looking to us to help them adapt their precautions because they will be realising this week that it could have happened to them.

I hope you will join me in ensuring that our message towards those who are ill is that we all hope they get well soon.

Andy Hunter