In preparation for Education Restart in schools, following the advice issued on 6th August 2020 from the Minister for Education Peter Weir, the School’s Senior Leadership Team and the Health and Safety Committee have spent considerable time planning for the safe return of all pupils and staff to full-time education later on this month. The Health and Safety Committee includes Governors and medical practitioners.
Following discussion of our risk assessments, a number of precautionary measures will be implemented including the mandatory wearing of face masks for all pupils, staff and visitors to our school. Provision will be made for pupils and members of staff for whom this safety measure presents a difficulty. The School will provide a reusable mask in school colours, free of charge for every pupil and member of staff. We have suggested that parents and staff purchase an additional face mask to facilitate the recommended regular washing,
The guidance is designed to ensure the safe operation of the School and to protect all members of our community, particularly those who are vulnerable. These precautions take account of the nature of the school site and our large pupil and staff population. We are aware that the Northern Ireland Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Ian Young, has recommended to DE that “there may be some benefit to the use of face coverings by older pupils where social distancing cannot be maintained.”
We hope that this health and safety measure will ensure that Belfast Royal Academy can continue to operate as normal a service as possible. The health and well-being of our school community is of paramount importance. Schools are an essential part of society and children’s lives and the arrangements we are making are designed to ensure we are in a position to welcome all pupils and staff back to school.
Face masks will not need to be worn when the pupils are exercising, eating or drinking or playing outside in the playground.
We do not anticipate any discipline issues as feedback from our parent body since the communication was issued yesterday has been overwhelmingly positive. The school community is a genuinely caring environment. We are confident that our students and staff will fully understand that these measures are designed to provide the best care, not just for those in school, but also for our families and this initiative will therefore be supported with the same generous spirit which typifies the attitude of those in this school.
The risk assessments and all health and safety measures, including the mandatory wearing of face masks, will be kept under regular review.
Mrs H. Woods