22nd January 2021

Dear Parents,

 Three weeks have passed since the start of term and the national lockdown came into force.

January can be a challenging month in a normal year and this year gives us so much more to contend with. We have now spoken to many of you who are at home with your children and see others of you at drop off and collection and I appreciate all the kind words and support and willingness to ‘bear with it’. Thank you!

Unfortunately, we have been made aware of a further member of our school community who has tested positive for COVID 19 meaning that this is the third case this week. I know that you will find this concerning and we are continuing to monitor the situation and are working closely with Public Health England. The cases are confined to a specific group and all those who need to isolate are doing so. The team at Public Health England are confident in our measures and happy that we have all the control measures in place that we need to.

They also agree with my assessment that we err on the side of caution at this current time. This is because we are a special school community with vulnerable members who cannot easily socially distance and who require many more staff members working in closer proximity than would be needed in mainstream settings.  I know a number of you educating at home have requested a school place for a variety of reasons and we will be contacting you as soon as we can to discuss this further. However, I hope you will appreciate that at this time I assess that the school is at maximum capacity and to assure myself that the outbreak is contained I believe we must remain operating as we are currently. I know some of you will find this disappointing (as do I!) and I hope you will appreciate that it is not a decision that I take lightly or that sits easily. However, safety has to be my first priority. Thank you for your understanding and your forbearance. We will continue to stay in touch twice weekly to support your family’s well-being and in regards to learning and I am hopeful that as time passes we will be able to make more spaces available.

For those of you whose children are accessing school I ask that you are extra vigilant and take the extra precaution of not sending your child in even if they are presenting with what you think is a normal cold or bug.

It is absolutely essential that we follow the guidelines and children must not come to school if they are displaying the following symptoms:

Symptoms of COVID 19

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

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

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

If your child does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from NHS 111 at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/ or by phoning 111

How to stop COVID-19 spreading

There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19

Do

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

Further Information

Further information is available at

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID 19

If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must not come to school and should remain at home for at least 10 days from the date when their symptoms appeared. Anyone with symptoms will be eligible for testing and this can be arranged via https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

All other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. This includes anyone in your ‘Support Bubble’. Further guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

The 10-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

Household members should not go to work, school or public areas and exercise should be taken within the home. If you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, or walking a dog, you should ask friends or family. Alternatively, you can order your shopping online and medication by phone or online.

Household members staying at home for 10 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community

If you are able 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

I appreciate I sound like a stuck record this week and I am sorry to have to repeat myself! I do so because I am determined that we remain open, safe and that over time more children will be able to access school. In order to do this we must work together as a community in order to keep everyone safe and well.

Safeguarding spotlight

Coronavirus (Covid-19) advice & support for parents and carers

Another national lockdown, school closures & social distancing has changed lots of things about family life and brought about new challenges for parents and carers.

Whether you are working from home with your children or supporting children with anxiety due to coronavirus, the NSPCC have got plenty of tips and advice on a number of topics to help make things easier at home https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/coronavirus-advice-suppport-children-families-parents/

Online Safety

  • Talking to children with anxiety about Covid-19
  • Managing behaviour
  • Returning to school
  • Working from home
  • Separated parents/co-parenting during lockdown
  • Arguments, conflict and family tension
  • Looking after your own mental health

There is some specific advice for parents and carers of children with SEND https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/support-for-parents/coronavirus-supporting-children-special-educational-needs-disabilities/

I have really enjoyed hearing from you about the lovely learning children are doing at home: finding Wally on his trip around the world, making Pizza, looking for ice patterns in the garden, playing with play dough, watching the phonics videos, completing maths games and completing art work too. It has also been lovely to have seen the children in school where I have been read a story about Noah’s Ark and seen some love biscuits that have been made. The children are so positive and doing so well and I think bring light to our world at the moment!

Have a safe and enjoyable weekend!

Kindest regards

Catriona

Please be advised that during the summer holidays, the website is undergoing updates and maintenance.

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