Dear Parents and Carers
You have probably seen the news that the government yesterday announced some new measures to deal with COVID-19 and also a change to its overall response, moving from the ‘contain’ to the ‘delay’ phase of its plan. As before, the advice remains that effective hand hygiene and using a tissue when coughing or sneezing are some of the most effective ways in which we can help reduce the spread of the virus. The school is continuing to do all that it can to minimise the spread with good hygiene and is following all the advice from Public Health and Herts County Council.
Self-isolation and staying at home
As you know the government has widened their advice on who should self-isolate to include those that have coronavirus like symptoms - a new or continuous cough or a high temperature, however mild - should stay at home for at least 7 days to protect others and help slow the spread of the disease. All our staff will be expected to follow this advice, and we ask you to ensure that your children do so too.
Please ring 111 or the coronavirus helpline if you need advice: Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)
If your children are absent from school because they are ill, please continue to call the school every day on 0208 428 4571
In certain circumstances you may be advised by medical professionals to keep your child at home even if they are not unwell. If this is the case, please let us know and we will support your decision. I understand that parents are concerned about the risk of their children catching Coronavirus and that some may wish to keep children at home even though they have not had any medical advice to do so. However, the government have told us we are not allowed to agree to a child’s absence for that reason alone. All children who are well enough to come to school are expected to continue attending as normal unless advised otherwise by Public Health England. At the end of this I have listed all the additional things we as a school are putting in place
There has been updated guidance on school trips and the government has advised that planned school trips outside the UK should not go ahead. We will of course follow this advice and we will write separately to the families of all children who were due to go on overseas trips in the remainder of the academic year. The government advice is that school trips within the UK can at present go ahead safely. As the COVID-19 situation in the UK is changing rapidly we will review the risk assessment for each trip before it goes ahead.
The possibility of school closure
Some parents have asked whether we could choose to close the school now. If we are ordered to close the school by Public Health England, because there is a risk to children/students and staff we will do. If the government make a decision to close all schools we will do so, otherwise our intention is to stay open and operate as normal as this is what we have been instructed to do. The Government has made it clear it expects schools to remain open unless public health advice has been given to close. This is based on the clear advice from the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, Sir Patrick Vallence, on how best to manage this epidemic. We are sure that you will be supportive of this.
We are however preparing in case the school closes and we are looking at ways to ensure your children can continue learning at home. We recognise that if closure is necessary this will have significant implications for many of our families with issues ranging from the loss of free school meals to problems for families finding suitable childcare.
Please make sure we have your current phone numbers and email addresses.
Obviously, we will continue to provide updates as the situation continues to develop and would ask that you inform the school of any contact your family may have had with a person with symptoms or who has tested positive.
I am sure as this virus continues to spread we will all know of people who are self-isolating, have been in contact with someone or have the coronavirus. This could affect any one of us so please remember BE KIND- don’t share names either in conversations or social media.
If you have to self-isolate which means you can’t leave your house please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you are worried that you have no food and I will try and support you with this.
I am aware that there has been a lot of negativity on social media but not from our school community-thank you so much for this as no one needs the extra stress of this.
Further steps we as a school are putting in place to support the delay of coronavirus:
All assemblies including class assemblies cancelled
No sharing mornings
All parents from Early years to year 6 to drop at the door
Children to wash hands as soon as they come in-supervised by staff (including on arrival to breakfast club)- adults to check hands are dried use paper towels as needed instead of driers
Ensure plenty of tissues in classroom use once and then throw in bin- talk this through with children
No ‘touch’ in terms of morning greeting-thumbs up or a wave
Gates and doors open from 8.30-9am to stagger children coming into school
End of day stagger pick up from 2.45-3.15pm
Parents to avoid coming into the office unless urgent-email or telephone
Teachers and TA’s to help with cleaning classroom at break and at lunch
Avoid sitting on the carpet for input children to sit at tables
Children to work at same table space in KS1 and 2 throughout the day
Small group interventions to take place in bigger spaces-hall/dining room
No PE apparatus to be used
Water bottles to be sent home daily-have plastic cups as needed and throw away after use
Packed lunches in classroom, school lunches can then stagger on tables at least every other seat
As much outdoor play as possible -extra or longer breaks for KS1 and KS2
- no reading or library books to be shared/exchanged
- No meetings/gatherings or parent consultations -only urgent
- Doors and windows open, - including fire doors/office doors
- cancel unnecessary trips/events/clubs- no school run after school clubs-only paid after school club- external gym clubs told to clean all equipment used as they set up and at the end
Planned school trips to risk assessment individually
- Lots of water play with bubbles bath in water for EYFS
- Limit/ reduce resources so some can be put away to be cleaned, they can be rotated
- EYFS to sterilise as many resources as possible, key items being small objects that children put in their mouths
- Limit messy play like sand/dough where it can spread
- Hand washing activities like washing up
Keyboards of computers/iPads to be cleaned after every child uses them
Thank you for your continued support and understanding