Coronavirus COVID-19 Information
Update 20th March 8am
I would like to start by saying how proud I am of our staff – this week people have done extra hours and jobs that they would not normally do in order to keep the school running, all while presenting as cheerful and “normal” an experience for the children as they can, despite their own worries about their health or the health of their own families.
Yesterday, I asked for information from parents about their roles as keyworkers. I used text supplied by the Local Authority based on communications they had had with the DfE. We are waking up this morning to a document that the government has finally produced with the information that we all wish we had been given on Wednesday when they announced the “closure” of schools. That would have saved all of us a great deal of anxiety and worry.
I now have a matter of hours to try and plan next week in school, based on the needs of our keyworker parents (the list is now much longer than we were led to believe), and the staffing situation in school (we have a reduced staff due to self-isolation).
We need to remember that schools are “shut” in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and although it is disruptive to parents to have their children at home, we must all make changes in order to protect our communities. The document published overnight clearly states as its first principle:
“If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.”
The school is committed to playing its part in the national response needed to keep key services running by supporting parents who have a critical role in this, whilst keeping children and staff safe.
Please check the list below (or follow the link) and if you think that you fall within the critical categories listed, please confirm with your employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, your specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.
If so, and you have been unable to make alternative arrangements for your child, please complete and return (by e-mail) the information below as soon as possible so that I can prioritise children for educational provision and plan for next week (although you should understand that this will be childcare not “normal” education). Remember, it is important to keep the number of children in school to a minimum to slow the spread of this virus. Please also remember, children with underlying health conditions or those who should be in self isolation cannot be in school.
Name of child:
Name of parent 1: Occupation: Place of work:
Name of parent 2: Occupation: Place of work:
Times when both parents are at work and need childcare at school (please highlight): Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
- Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
- Education and childcare
This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
- Key public services
This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
- Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arm’s length bodies.
- Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
- Public safety and national security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
- Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
Update 19th March 4pm
Further clarification of Key Workers
The Government has confirmed that for the foreseeable future, schools have been asked to provide care for some vulnerable children (we will contact you if your children fall into this category) and the children of some key workers. All other children will need to stay at home from Monday onwards.
In order to enable key workers to remain at work during this period of need their children may be catered for in schools. This is only the case where both parents are key workers. The updated list of Key Workers includes:
- NHS staff
- Teachers and support school
- Police and community support officers
- Frontline civilian police staff
- Prison officers and staff
- Probation officers and trainee probation officers
- LA officers and LA/ NHS social workers
- Uniformed staff in fire and rescue services
- Armed forces personnel and some civilian MOD personnel (ie clinical staff, MOD police, uniformed fire and defence) and some discharged personnel
- Highway agency traffic staff
- LA environmental health officers/practitioners
- Care workers
- Supermarket delivery drivers and other supermarket workers
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible if both parents are on this list so that we can assess needs at our school. If you know that you will only need part-time support e.g. only Wednesdays, please indicate this, too. There is a possibility that further roles will be added to this list. If this happens, we will update you.
SATs and Assessments
The Education Secretary has confirmed that they will not go ahead with primary school assessments or secondary exams this summer, which includes the Y6 SATs. I know that our Y6 pupils have been working incredibly hard towards these tests, and we are very proud of them.
Update 19th March – school closure for most children from Monday 23rd March
As you will have heard, schools across the UK will be closed from Monday. The announcement yesterday evening has left us all with many questions, and over the next couple of days Cambridgeshire Headteachers will be working closely with the Local Authority to find a way forward.
We are currently awaiting more detailed information from the Department of Education - it is not yet clear exactly how we will be asked to support childcare for key workers and our more vulnerable children. I am sorry that I am unable to give you any more detail at present, as soon as we have more information we will be in touch with parents and carers.
I do not yet have a list of key workers as designated by the government. The most recent communication from the DfE is that the list will include NHS staff, the police and food delivery drivers. The Secretary of Education has promised the list will be shared with us today.
If you know that you work for the NHS, the police or as a food delivery driver, please email email@example.com to let us know the occupations of all of the parents/carers in your household so that I can begin to compile that information. If you are in these three categories, but have already made arrangements for your child, and so won’t need support from the school, please let us know that too.
When the updated key worker list has been sent to me, I may be asking for more information from parents. As a village community, I know that we can work together to support each other through this incredibly difficult time. If you want to discuss anything with me, please don’t hesitate to call.
We remain open to Y1-6 today and tomorrow. Please continue to use our home learning suggestions in the “Learning Zone” of our website with your YR children and the children who are already socially distancing at home. The class teachers will update the activity suggestions regularly throughout the school closure.
Update 18th March – School Closed to YR from tomorrow
Unfortunately Miss Chubb is now in self isolation for at least the next 14 days, as a member of her household has a temperature and cough. Miss Chubb has not shown any symptoms, but she is following the current household self-isolation guidance.
We have managed to staff Class 3 today, however because this has changed the staffing situation in school, we have had to make some very difficult decisions. Unfortunately, with the staff that we have, we are unable to continue to educate all of the children and keep them safe while they are learning. Therefore, from tomorrow we will be partially closed. All reception children (those that started school in September 2019) will need to learn at home until further notice. I know that this will be difficult for some parents, and I apologise for that, but we really have no alternative at this time.
From tomorrow, we will re-organise the remaining children into 3 classes: Y1 and Y2 together; Y3 and Y4 together; and Y5 and Y6 together. We will continue to work to prepare Y6 for the SATs and their transition to secondary school as best we can. I know that the current situation is unsettling for the children, but we are doing our best to make sure that they have staff in the classrooms with whom they are familiar.
If students are at home and are well enough, please visit the “Learning Zone” on our website for information about Home Learning – there are suggestions for each class. Mrs Leadbeter will continue to update the Class 1 page with ideas for YR children, and would like to remind YR parents to keep using Tapestry as a way of recording what the children have been doing. Mrs Leadbeter will check in regularly with your updates.
Self-Isolation and Social Distancing
The current advice is still that if you or your child have a new continuous cough or temperature, then everyone in the household should self-isolate for 14 days. Please let us know if this is the case, so that we know when to expect your child to return. In addition, pupils who have a significant underlying health condition which has been identified by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) as being a high risk, should not attend school with immediate effect.
Friday’s STEM day has been postponed until the summer term.
Thank you all for your continued support and understanding in these unprecedented times. If you would like to discuss anything with me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Following new government advice yesterday evening, there have been some important updates for schools and parents. What follows is the advice as it currently stands although it is quite possible that further updates will follow tomorrow.
If you or your child have a new continuous cough or temperature, then everyone in the household should self-isolate for 14 days. Please let us know if this is the case, so that we know when to expect your child to return.
In addition, pupils who have a significant underlying health condition which has been identified by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) as being a high risk, should not attend school with immediate effect.
This group includes children who have an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
- chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)
Additionally, there are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this category, next week the NHS in England will directly contact you with advice on the more stringent measures you should take in order to keep yourself and others safe. For now, you should rigorously follow the social distancing advice in full, outlined below.
People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:
• People who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
• People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
• People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment
• People with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
Full guidance can be found here:
The DfE guidance on absences has been relaxed - if a pupil does not attend school, despite the school operating as usual and if the pupil is not self-isolating, it is now for head teachers to determine whether or not the absence is authorised depending on the individual circumstances. If you wish to discuss this, please get in touch – we feel that parents should not be worrying about their child’s attendance percentage - in this unprecedented time this is not a priority.
We are aware that many families may have other complications that do not allow straightforward decisions to be made and if you do need some further advice or reassurance regarding whether your child should be attending school please contact us.
If students are at home and are well enough, please visit the “Learning Zone” on our website for information about Home Learning – there are suggestions for each class.
Cambridgeshire County Council have advised all members of staff with underlying health conditions to work from home. This means that from tomorrow, Mrs Harris, Mrs Leadbeter and Mrs Price will not be in school. I assure you that they are not self-isolating as a result of being ill or having had known contact with C-19: they are practising social-distancing to safeguard their health.
This means that Mrs Pizey will now be teaching in Class 2 and will be following Mrs Harris’s planning. There will be two supply teachers in Class 1; Mrs Goodman for the majority of the week and Mrs Green on Friday. Both of these teachers have worked in the school a number of times this year and will be following Mrs Leadbeter’s planning.
We are doing our best to keep the school open and operating as normally as possible, implementing the advice we are given to the best of our ability. It is still possible that there will be a partial or full closure of the school in the future – we will keep you informed.
We understand the level of concern this national issue has generated in our school and local community and we want to reassure you that we are following the latest advice and guidance. I would also like to reassure you that currently we have no members of our school community that have been in contact with people who have Covid-19 or recently visited any of the places that are of concern, as far as we are aware.
Developments regarding COVID-19 are continuing to be carefully monitored by Public Health England (PHE) and there is currently a national approach in place with PHE and the NHS leading. Local Authorities and schools across the country are following the national advice and guidance.
The government have launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)
Government Coronavirus action plan
On Tuesday 3rd March, the Coronavirus action plan was launched. This document sets out what the UK as a whole has done to tackle the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and what it plans to do next.
Action plan overview
The action plan sets out a four phased approach in response to the Coronavirus – Contain, Delay, Mitigate, and Research. An approach designed by world leading experts.
As there are already cases in the UK, the current emphasis is on the Contain and Research phases, but planning for Delay and Mitigation is already in train.
As part of the Contain phase, we have been providing advice about educational settings in England, which can be found on Public Health England’s website. We also launched a DfE helpline to manage the flow of increasing queries, from providers, parents and young people.
Personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19, especially washing hands more; and the catch it, bin it, kill it strategy for those with coughs and sneezes – also help in delaying the peak of the infection.
The action plan is a framework that outlines the types of options open to government in each of these four phases. But this document is only a list of the types of measures we could consider – not those we are planning to implement.
Current advice remains in place: No school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.
The importance of hygieneOn 4th March 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care launched a public information campaign that focuses on the importance of handwashing. Washing hands for 20 seconds is central to prevent and slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
To help prevent the potential spread of any infections, including Covid-19, the PHE has launched the Catch it, Bin it, Kill It campaign. Using a tissue to catch a sneeze, binning the tissue and washing your hands is the best way to stop the spread of any germs or viruses. We would ask all parents, carers and their children to follow this good hygiene to stop the spread of germs.