School offers Covid jabs for 12-15s

Wednesday 13th October 2021 10:13 am
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THE town’s secondary school and sixth form has become the first in the county to offer Covid vaccinations for students.

Two weeks ago, Ross-on-Wye’s John Kyrle High School was forced to reintroduce some lockdown restrictions, including compulsory face-mask wearing, following a spike in virus cases.

And now it has made the vaccine available to younger pupils and provided parents and carers with an invitation letter from Vaccination UK for students to receive a single dose of the Pfizer jab.

In a message to parents and carers, a school spokesperson said: "We are pleased that JKHS will be the first Herefordshire school to offer Covid vaccinations to students aged 12-15 (and those Year 11s who are already 16)."

They needed to have filled out the form if they wanted their son or daughter to take part in the vaccination programme by the end of last weekend, with jabs set to be offered this week.

The invitation letter from Amanda Schiller, clinical director of Vaccination UK, said: "I would like to ask if you wish to give your consent for your child to receive a single dose of the vaccine.

"The vaccination will be free of charge and our highest priority is making it easy for children to access one dose of the vaccine before the winter.

"The main purpose of the Covid-19 school age vaccination programme is to provide protection to the children who receive the vaccine and it may also help to reduce transmission of Covid-19 in the wider population.

"By consenting, you will be helping to play your part in reducing the rick of Covid-19 spreading."

However, national guidance says parental consent is not needed if the child is considered competent to make the decision by themselves.

Two weeks ago, the school was forced to tighten its Covid procedures again after a rise in cases among staff and children.

It reintroduced mask-wearing in classes from September 28 to try and head off the spread of the virus, while sports fixtures and open days and evenings have been cancelled.

A letter from school headmaster Nigel Griffiths sent to parents and carers at the time said: "We want to take stronger action now in order to limit the impact and prevent further casesâ?¦

"Face coverings will be reintroduced, including in classes, for everyone unless they have an exemption.

"Face coverings will be needed on school and public transport. Again, this is for everyone unless they are exempt.

"The one-way system will continue to be followed.

"Staff will revert to teaching from the front of the lesson as much as possibleâ?¦

"We will be asking people not to visit the school for the time being unless it’s absolutely necessary," added the head.

"Inter-school sports fixtures will also be cancelled for the time being.

"We are reviewing our provision for break-time and lunchtime eating arrangements as well.

"After-school clubs will continue, but again, be kept under review."

* John Kyrle headteacher Nigel Griffiths has confirmed that the Government plans to reintroduce GCSE and A-level exams next summer, although a consultation has been launched to agree contingency plans in the event they can’t go ahead.

A letter sent to parents and carers last week said: "Next year, 2022, will be a ’transition year’ to reflect the fact that we are in a pandemic recovery period and students’ education has been disrupted.

"Ofqual will therefore aim for grades in 2022 to reflect a midway point between 2021 and 2019.

"This means results overall next year will be higher than in 2019 but not as high as 2020."

Mr Griffiths added: "Please be assured that students will be given every support, including academic and pastoral, in the coming months to enable them to achieve their potential in the summer.

"We will of course be in close contact with you throughout this period sharing key information.

"You will know of our strong track record in helping students achieve strong outcomes during normal examination periods; we were also successful this year and last with internally assessed grades. I hope this will reassure you at this time."

Although the school is currently still under some degree of lockdown owing to the spike in Covid cases, senior staff will be able to meet parents once restrictions are lifted without an appointment between 8am and 8.20am.

Meanwhile, anyone with questions or concerns is asked to contact key school leaders.

To see the letter and contact details, go to the school’s website www.jkhs.org.uk and Facebook page.

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