20th March 2020
In the early hours of this morning the Government released their advice regarding the opening of schools to those families who have parents as key workers and those children who are deemed to be Vulnerable children.
We need your urgent response in letting us know if you are a key worker as defined by the sectors listed below. We can then identify what level of provision is required and whether we as a school can maintain this and remain open to these children. This is also dependant on ratios and numbers that will enable us to continue to safeguard everyone and contain any spread of COVID-19.
Current government guidance regarding eligibility for the school care as of Monday 23rd March 2020 is that children with at least one parent or carer who are identified as critical workers by the government can potentially send their children to school if required. However, we must emphasise that the government guidance also states that “many parents working in these critical sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.”
Government advice states:
If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading. That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
Vulnerable children are those who are supported by Social Services, those with Child in Need Plans or Child Protection plans, Looked after children, young carers, disabled children and those with Educational Health and Care Plans.
For those who are our vulnerable children we will be contacting you directly with regards to this.
We are asking parents to provide us with information about your situations and why you require school based childcare. If you are a critical worker, we will be asking you to give us contact details including full name and telephone number of your supervisor/employer so we can confirm that your active role is a necessity in these challenging circumstances. We may also need to get in touch with you via telephone to gain some extra clarification.
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 arms 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.
If workers think they fall within the critical categories above they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.
If your school is closed then please contact your local authority, who will seek to redirect you to a local school in your area that your child, or children, can attend.
For children coming in to school (as agreed by school) as of Monday 23rd March 2020, the following measures/precautions must be taken:
- Own clothes to be worn which are fresh on – we recommend putting clothes straight in the washing machine once returning home from school to minimise and control the spread of infection.
- Up to date contact details for family members must be available within school and emergency contact details should your child become poorly/exhibit symptoms of contracting coronavirus.
- We must register your child in and out of the premises by somebody who either has parental responsibility or has been nominated by yourselves, as long as you are all fit and well and not showing symptoms of coronavirus.
- Please note, the current guidance around self-isolation regarding symptoms of coronavirus including a temperature of over 37.8°C and/or a persistent cough are still in force.
- If you become unwell with coronavirus symptoms, you must immediately contact school and arrange for collection of your child.
- Social distancing must be enforced whilst your child is not in school if we are to prevent/minimise the spread of infection.
- School must be informed if you no longer fall within the critical worker list or you have been asked to self-isolate.
- Thorough hand washing to take place at home just before leaving the home.
- Children must be dropped off at 9:00 am and picked up at 3:15 pm unless the school has an extended schools service which has been previously agreed.
In the next few days, I will have to make some incredibly difficult decisions. I want to thank you for all the support you have given us as a school and ask that you continue to work with me in helping to identify what the best next steps are for the children in our school.
Please continue to check the school website and emails for updated information.
Thank you once again for your understanding, cooperation and most of all your support and patience.