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Minister Allinson’s Statement on COVID-19 - 1 July 2021

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This time in the school year staff and students are normally very busy.

For sixth formers they are looking back on what they have learnt and finishing assessments and exams.

For younger pupils they are looking forward to moving up to secondary school or sixth form.

Due to the pandemic all students have been affected to some degree.

I would like to thank our teachers and students for their dedication, hard work and patience as they navigated the systems created by the various award bodies to allocate centre assessed grades.

This process is now largely completed, and I wish all our students at school and UCM the best of luck in getting the grades they deserve.

Transition visits for primary school pupils have been going ahead to prepare them for the next stage in their education and familiarising them with their new schools come September.

This is an exciting time, although some may be nervous about moving to “big school”.

On Sunday it was confirmed that a member of staff at St Ninian’s School had tested positive for COVID-19.

I would like to thank them and all their colleagues for the calm and professional way they have handled this situation.

All visits to and from St Ninian’s to other educational facilities have been suspended for a week when this will be reviewed.

Unfortunately this has meant some transition visits have had to be re-scheduled. It also meant that the teams from St Ninian’s Team invited to the Junior Achievement Company of the year Awards Ceremony held at the Nunnery were unable to attend but watched the event virtually.

Against strong competition the teams won the award for “Best Use of Marketing” and were named “Student Company of the Year”. They will be presented with their prizes and a cheque for £1000 at an event later this month.

These temporary restrictions are just a precaution and will be reviewed next week.

Parents have been concerned at the risk of spread of COVID-19 and have been taking up the offer of lateral flow testing for their children. So far a total of 4 children across two schools have tested positive and contact tracing together with further testing is ongoing.

This contact tracing is now more focussed on friendship groups and high risk contacts.

We want to protect the safety of all our pupils and staff without severely disrupting the education service.

Mitigations include the extra supply of lateral flow tests to secondary schools for home use.

Students and staff are able to wear a face covering, should they wish, which are available at school free of charge for those that don’t have their own. Increased messaging on the importance of hands, face, space and fresh air, reduced indoor activities and increased ventilation of rooms is also in place.

Parents and students are asked to remain vigilant for the symptoms and signs of COVID-19 and to stay at home and call 111 should any of these develop.

And that needs to be the take home message for all of us. The last 14 months has allowed us time to develop a highly successful vaccination programme, a robust track and trace system and a more resilient health service.

But as we start to get used to living in a world with COVID we also need to look after our own health and help others close to us do the same.

Thank you