Monday, 16 March 2020
With the rapidly changing advice regarding Coronavirus, I thought it was worth writing to prepare you for any changes the school may have to consider in the coming days and weeks. Please ensure that you read to the end of this lengthy communication.
The Government advice last week was largely expected and included a greater emphasis on self-isolation. As I shared in the letter over the weekend, essentially, we have been directed to send home any child or adult with a fever or persistent cough. If this should happen, the advice is that self-isolation should then follow for a period of a full week. This will obviously affect children, parents and staff and therefore could impact on the day-to-day running of the school. If or when we find ourselves in this situation, the following actions may be taken:
Other measures we will be putting in to place as from tomorrow include asking all adults to stay out of the school building as much as possible. I am requesting that all parents encourage their children to come into school on their own and for parents to drop off at the front door or gate. We will, of course be on hand to reassure them. After drop off, please leave the school site promptly. We are seeking to avoid the school community coming together in large numbers and at peak times.
Please use the school office email or phone number to communicate with us, rather than coming into school unless you absolutely need to. Should you not get a quick response, please understand that it will be because we are busy supporting children and/or staff. Please also remember you can drop documents off in the school post box, which is emptied every day. I know this all sounds very anti-social, but these are hopefully short-term measures that will enable us all to stay fit for work and school, for as long as possible.
For the moment, we are allowing music teachers and sports coaches to continue to come into school having received a clear understanding of the action they are taking but we will continue to review the situation daily and as we know more.
With regards to this week, we have taken the tough decision to postpone our Parents’ Evening appointments this evening and tomorrow. This has not been an easy decision to take but we have to consider the whole school community. You will still receive the end of term report as planned but teachers will add some comments on to them that reflect what they would have said in their meetings with yourselves. Once we are back up and running to full capacity, we will arrange another evening for you to come in and chat with the teachers.
Our planned trip for Years 1 and 2 to Waddecar on Thursday has been postponed and we are very reluctantly cancelling our Mother’s Day Lunch next Monday and the Friends of Carter’s disco next Wednesday due to the numbers that would gather and the food element involved. People who have already booked for these and other events that may be cancelled will receive a full refund in due course.
At this point I think it is important to add context and reality. Despite the Education Minister’s most recent announcement that schools will remain open for the time being, we are doing what we must, including preparing for a national closure. I have shared our current and ever-changing action plan with the staff team today. This includes planning for how and when we will communicate with parents and vice versa, health and safety elements and what action would be taken should staff fall ill. We are currently compiling work that will be shared with all children via our school website, ClassDojo or on Parentmail. This will be a mix of powerpoints, website links, spellings, phonics games and some suggested non screen activities that the children can try. At the time of any closure we will send the children home with any resources that may be relevant to their age or stage that we have been able to prepare in the time allowed. Members of the staff team have young families or dependants so we will do our very best to balance supporting our school community as well as our own families.
With this in mind, it is important that you make us aware if your child will not have access to a computer to view this work and please make sure we have your correct email address and ensure you are checking your ParentMail regularly. During this period, we will endeavour to use ParentMail for only essential communication, so when you get an alert, please read the messages carefully. Please send any amendments to your contact details to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, please can I ask you to speak to us directly if you are worried or concerned or have any further questions. Be assured that if there is something that we all need to know - or if there is something that potentially increases the risk for you or your child – we will share that information ASAP and act upon it.
Thank you to everyone for your continued support of the staff team during this time, it is hugely appreciated. Whatever challenges we may face in the next week or so, I feel confident that we will meet these together.