29th May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

Key Medical Reminders

 It is very important that the following guidelines are adhered to by all families using our setting. Please keep this sheet safe and refer to it over the next half term.

If you have a possible case of coronavirus (Covid-19) in your household you must NOT send you child into school.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above you should self-isolate at home.

Steps to take

  • if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), then you must stay at home for at least 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. For anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms they need to stay at home for at least 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.
  • staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
  • if you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period
  • if you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible
  • reduce the spread of infection in your home: wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser; cover coughs and sneezes
  • if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms:
    • do notgo to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
    • you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
    • testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) is not needed if you’re staying at home
  • if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 onlinecoronavirus (COVID-19) service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999
  • if you develop new coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms at any point after ending your first period of isolation (self or household) then you need to follow the same guidance on self-isolation again

 Steps we will take if your child starts to display symptoms in school:

 

  • If anyone in school becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste of smell (anosmia), we must send them home and you will need to follow the guidance listed under ‘steps to take’. We will send any child home who displays any of these symptoms to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the entire community.
  • If a child is awaiting collection, they will be moved to the medical room where they can be isolated with appropriate adult supervision as required. A window will be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them in the medical room we will move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.
  • If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, this will be be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.
  • PPE will be worn by the staff caring for the child while they await collection.

You will need to arrive at school as soon as possible to collect your child. Please telephone school immediately if you are planning to take up a place in school which you have been offered and you do not have transport as we will need to undertake a further risk assessment with you.

What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in a setting?

When a child or staff member develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus, they will be sent home and will need to self-isolate for 7 days as per the previous instructions in this letter. Their fellow household members will need to self-isolate for 14 days. Where the child or staff member tests negative, they can return to school and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation.

Where the child or staff member tests positive, the rest of their class or group within their childcare or education setting should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The other household members of that wider class or group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.

As part of the national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected within the cohort or in the wider setting, Public Health England’s local health protection teams will conduct a rapid investigation and will advise schools and other settings on the most appropriate action to take. In some cases a larger number of other children, young people may be asked to self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole class, site or year group. Where settings are observing guidance on infection prevention and control, which will reduce risk of transmission, closure of the whole setting will not generally be necessary.

We will only notify you when we have a confirmed case within school.  

For anyone – pupil or staff member – who believes they may have symptoms or is notified that they are a confirmed case of coronavirus, the individual affected must stay at home self-isolating, as above.

  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, OR you have received a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test result, the clear medical advice is to immediately self-isolate at home for at least seven days from when your symptoms started. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
  • You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19 if you haven’t already – visit this website to arrange.
  • Consider alerting the people that you have had close contact within the last 48 hours to let them know you have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Following a positive test result, you will receive a request by text, email or phone to log into the NHS Test and Trace service website and provide information about recent close contacts.

Please note this is an evolving process and we would advise you to keep up-to-date with the guidance as published and updated regularly by the government.

 With best wishes

Catriona

 

12th May 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

As many of you will no doubt be aware the government issued further guidance last night. I know many of you will be feeling somewhat confused and anxious about what this will mean for our school and your child. As yet we do not have all the answers. Nevertheless, I thought it would be helpful to share what I do know and what our next steps will be.

First I would like to reiterate that the health and wellbeing, safety and happiness of our pupils and our whole community comes first and I will continue to work with the staff team to do everything I can to keep everyone as safe as I can.

Over the last two days the government added to their guidance ‘our plan to rebuild’ with ‘actions for education and childcare setting to prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020’ and ‘Coronavirus (Covid-19): implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings’. These documents are for the nation and the school system as a whole and not specifically for special schools. We are expecting there to be some further detail shortly and hoping that some of it will be specifically for special settings!

What we do know is:

 

  • Special schools have not been advised to open for specific year groups but to ‘work towards a phased return of more children…without a focus on specific year groups’. This is good news because we believe as far as possible our children are best served by returning to their usual classes and teams. The expectation is that special schools will ‘work towards welcoming back as many children and young people as can safely be catered for in their setting’.

 

  • To ensure safety schools need to follow social distancing guidelines, reducing group sizes and contact. In a special setting we also need to ensure we do have enough staff in order to keep the children safe. This is a careful balancing act. We have arrangements in place already to stagger lunch and play, clean resources throughout the day and to teach the children how to socially distance and these systems have been working well. These will be added to as we receive more guidance and welcome more children back to school over the last half term of the year.

 

  • The children of key workers and the most vulnerable within our setting will remain coming to school as others join.

 

  • There is no expectation that staff or pupils will wear / use more protective personal equipment (PPE) than would usually be used unless someone becomes unwell with symptoms.

 

  • Those children who are shielded remain so and there is no expectation they will return to school. Those children living in a household with a shielded adult are only advised to attend if stringent social distancing can be adhered to that they understand. If this applies to you we will discuss this with you. Please do not worry about attendance fines and so forth the guidance states ‘Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time and school will not be held accountable for attendance levels’.

 

These are the overall principles for the next steps that I have to work with so far. Once we have more detail which I can apply to our setting, I will of course share it with you.

 

Our next steps

Over the next few days a member of the senior team will ring to talk to you about the particular circumstances of your family so that we can work together to find out what would be best for your child. Once we know this we will plan to move towards a phased return of more children through the summer term.

 

You will be very aware that our school serves over 150 families and each and every child here has their own specific needs.  What is ideal for your child and your circumstances may not suit many others or may not be practical for the community as a whole.  Once we have discussed with you what you think will work best to keep you child physically and emotionally healthy we will do the best we can for the school as a whole. This will be within the guidance from the government in regards to social distancing and employment guidance too.

Please do bear with us. At Palatine we have tried hard to provide a bespoke service to our families over this time and to do the very best we can for you all. This takes time and planning. I think it is important we talk to you all and work with you as we plan to move forward and you will appreciate this will take time.

Thank you for your ongoing support. The team spirit and community support our school has shared during this time has been fantastic and much appreciated! Thank you. We will contact you by telephone over the next few days and will then issue plans moving forward towards the end of next week or early in the week after.

 With best wishes

Catriona

 

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