27th November 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I do hope you have all had a good week.

I am conscious that the run up to Christmas is quite a challenging time for our pupils as the winter draws in and the excitement rises. We are working hard to ensure school provides the routine and calm learning environment that supports them whilst planning some Christmas celebration and treats.

I am equally conscious that for adults this time of year is pressured and with the added stresses of this situation the ongoing guidance from the government can be overwhelming. As you may be aware West Sussex will move into tier 2 when the national lockdown ends which means ‘high alert’. I have provided the link to this so you easily access the information about what this means: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know#high-alert

At the start of the 2nd national lockdown we made some alterations to the timetables and staffing to ensure as much separation between bubbles and opportunity for cleaning as possible. We took the decision to keep this timetable in operation until the end of term because we know our children thrive best in a settled routine. In reviewing the government’ updates to school (provided just before 4.30 this afternoon) we are happy that the systems we have in place are the best possible to provide for the children safely until the end of term.

I assure you that the staff team are working hard to maintain the extra cleaning in school and to follow all the guidance we have been provided with. When we do have to ask you to collect your son or daughter we are only doing so because we believe your son or daughter is displaying symptoms that require us to do so during the time we are with them. It is a hard judgement call to make with the usual winter bugs so we follow the guidance below and call you if you child is displaying:

  • a high temperature – this means they feel hot to touch on their chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour,

which are the symptoms that are apparent in school. If they told us they had lost their sense of taste or smell we would call you too.

I appreciate this is not easy and I appreciate it has an impact at home. I ask that we all continue to work together and keep following the guidance collectively, being as positive as

we can as a community so school can remain open and the children can continue to enjoy their learning and making progress. Thank you so much for helping us to do this.

A reminder

You will be aware that we have set up an email address covid19@palatineschool.org for staff to use if they have a positive test and for parents and carers to use if their son or daughter tests positive out of school hours. This is checked out of hours at regular intervals by the duty manager. If that occurs before 9 pm in the evening we will phone the parents and staff who have been in direct contact to explain the situation and to ask them to remain at home the next day. If we cannot get hold of someone we will email them. If we get notified after 9 pm (10 pm is the latest time we will check the email) a text will be sent to the ‘teachers2parents’ text service’ with the message ‘please check your emails, if you have one from school please follow the instructions.’ Emails will only be sent to those who need to stay at home the next day. If you do not receive an email come to school as usual. We will then contact the DfE and PHE once they are open and follow their instructions and contact you again with full details of the actions we and you need to take. Please do follow these procedures carefully as we hope this will reduce the number of potential cases and enable us to remain open. Please only use this email if your son or daughter has tested positive. All other information should be shared using the usual channels and in the working day. Thank you.

The children have done some terrific work in school this week. One of our children who has not been able to tolerate the pool got into the water. Some really scary Vikings raided my office for treasure whilst others cooked up a Saxon feast. Another child independently went from their bus to class, stopping to wash their hands with no prompting at all. Another pupil who really enjoys the clang of their car seat landing on the floor put it down gently so it didn’t upset others. Some of our littlest ones walked really calmly and quietly down the corridor displaying really good listening skills. I have had some wonderful letters requesting extra days off and a return to Littlehampton pool. I have replied that Boris is in charge of these decisions (on thinking about it I might encourage some letter writing to number 10 next week!)

Thank you again for working with us. I know it is hard and I assure you we are doing the best we can to keep everything as routine and normal as possible. Thank you for working with us and for your support.

Have a restful weekend.

With very best wishes

Catriona

 

 

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