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Letter to Parents/Carers re Coronavirus

Dear Parents and Carers

 

The Department for Education and the Local Authority are encouraging schools to follow the Public Health England (PHE) guidance regarding Coronavirus and to remain open.  PHE advise that in most cases, even if there is a confirmed case within the school community, closure of the school is unnecessary.  We can assure you that in this situation we would take further advice from PHE to ensure the right proportionate local decision.

As I am sure you will recognise, it is very difficult to predict what might happen, but we have taken steps in school to plan as best we can for future events and appreciate your support and understanding.

 

Action we are taking now

Raising awareness

It is important that we all do our best to ensure that your child’s education is disrupted as little as possible and, as always, everyone should continue to promote good hand and respiratory hygiene: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport.  Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze, then bin the tissue and wash your hands (or use a sanitiser gel).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

In assembly last week, all children were given a talk about the steps they can take to help prevent or delay spread of the virus; primarily following the Government advice detailed above.

 

Handwashing/sanitising

There is currently a global shortage of sanitiser, but we do have a supply which we are using at specific times of the day, along with hand washing at other points.  We have a good amount of soap and are ensuring the soap is kept stocked in the toilet areas throughout the day.  We would appreciate your help in supporting us in encouraging pupils to use this sensibly.

 

Contingency Planning

School Closure

Although the Government are currently encouraging schools to remain open, we have discussed any school closure and the impact it may have.  Should we need to close (be it partial or otherwise) please note the following:

  • We have remote access and can email parents/carers to keep them updated.  This, our website and Marvellous Me, will provide all up-to-date information required.  Please ensure you check these regularly in the event of a closure.
  • We will endeavour to keep our business functions open remotely as normal.  This means answering parental queries by email (assuming volumes are reasonable) and managing day to day issues.
  • Children’s learning - It is vital that, if school closes, children continue to have access to learning.  Whilst there is no substitute for being in a classroom with a teacher, we will endeavour to set regular learning tasks electronically.  If we get notice of a closure we will ensure children have some initial learning tasks until our virtual learning is accessible.  Parents can help us by making sure your child has access to the school website and somewhere quiet to work.

 

School Trips 

We are keeping in contact with the residential locations of Hindleap and Bawdsey Manor; as yet we have not been advised of any cancelations, however we will continue to monitor the situation at these locations.

 

Staff Absence

It is possible that for a period of time the school will be open but a higher than usual number of staff may be absent, unwell.  Whilst you may have read in the news that the Government is ‘relaxing’ the law relating to maximum class sizes, in practice this has no practical meaning for primary schools.  Rooms have a maximum physical capacity and we will do everything we can to remain open.  Obviously your child’s safety is a priority so having to close would be a last resort unless we are directed by the DFE.

 

Further advice for parents

Symptoms to look out for

If you have returned from any of the category 1 or 2 areas or countries, look out for the following symptoms: 

  • Cough 
  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Fever (a temperature of 38 degrees C or higher)

According to other official guidance, while you wait for further advice, take the following actions: 

  • Avoid contact with others 
  • Stay at home – do not go to work or school 
  • Do not travel while sick 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing, throwing tissues in the bin 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or an alcohol-based sanitiser if soap and water are not available)

There will be a small number of children, staff, and your own family members with suppressed immune systems.  You will know best how you can stay safe, but we will support all these groups as best we can.  Please take advice from 111 and Government websites.

As stated, this is a fast moving situation.  At the time of writing, the risk level is deemed low to moderate although for parents/carers wishing to keep up to date with the latest information, the following link may prove helpful:

  • http://• https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-guidance-to-assistprofessionals-in-advising-the-general-public/guidance-to-assist-professionals-in-advising-thegeneral-public

 

Finally, a plea for support.  For many of us this is a new situation that we are dealing with as professionals.  We are doing our very best to make the right decisions for the whole of our school community, taking advice from the DfE, Public Health, along with the Local Authority.  Our resources will be stretched for some time so please direct any serious concerns to us but allow us good time to respond.  Please do not publicise any concerns on social media.  We are doing our very best to protect you, your children and the local community.  We appreciate all of your understanding and support. 


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