4th December 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

I do hope you have all had a good week.

The children have had a busy week in school and it has been lovely to see them preparing for their Christmas celebration whilst continuing with other work. We have had a ‘sandbox’ on loan and will do so for the next week. This is an interactive sandpit that can be changed into different thematic landscapes such a river or volcano as well as changing colour for example. When you interact with it the landscape changes. It was lovely to see one of our pupils totally immersed in using this. Another child was able to clearly communicate with me about their likes and dislikes today using words, signs and symbols. Two pupils have beaten me at games such as ‘I spy’ (not a surprise)! Another pupil who does not like interacting with gooey liquids did so for a significant period of time. In another class the children were so engaged in their writing that they didn’t notice me. Another child has added a new word to the dictionary ‘to coronafy’ – this means to put something away for 72 hours to make it safe for others to touch (referring to his Christmas cards)!

Some reminders

Symptoms of coronavirus

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.

The email address covid19@palatineschool.org is 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 ‘all teachers and all parents’ 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.

Safeguarding Spotlight

Each week moving forward we will include a spotlight on safeguarding which we hope will give you useful information.

Online safety guide on webcams: Most commonly found embedded in laptop screens and smartphones, webcams are tiny video/still cameras designed to let you participate in video calls on services such as Skype and Zoom. They have become hugely popular since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, allowing homeworkers to chat with remote colleagues and helping friends and families stay in touch. However, there are many security and privacy risks associated with webcams that owners should be aware of. In the guide (please see attached), you’ll find tips on a number of potential risks such as hackers, malware and access to strangers.

Tips to protect your webcam from hackers;

  • Make sure your software is up-to-date (this helps patch vulnerabilities in your software that could allow hackers access to your device)
  • Use a firewall to lock down your network
  • Secure your Wi-Fi (to stop hackers targeting your wireless router)
  • Avoid all suspicious links
  • Don’t chat with strangers online
  • Cover or unplug your webcam
  • Never allow a webcam in your child’s bedroom
  • Use trusted tech support if you need it
  • Install and run security software on your devices

Thank you again for working with us and your ongoing support. It is lovely to be part of such a kind, positive community; thank you all!

Have a restful weekend.

With very best wishes




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