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Coronavirus updates

Message from the Headteacher

20 March 2020

Dear Parent/Carer,

As you know, the government has taken the decision that all schools will be closed from the end of today, Friday 20th March, until further notice. We will remain partially open for our most vulnerable students, including those with social care support, students with EHCP’s and children whose parents or carers are critical workers who cannot arrange other care for them.

The government’s advice is that if children can stay safely at home, they should to limit the chances of the virus spreading. They have set out the following key principles:

  • If it is at all possible for children to be at home, they should be.
  • If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent or carer who is a key worker who cannot look after their child in any other way, then educational provision will be available to them.
  • Parents should not rely on childcare from those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as people over 70, friends or family members with serious underlying health issues.
  • Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

If your work is critical to the Covid-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision. Thank you to those parents and carers who have registered their children with us already. If you believe your child qualifies and haven’t yet made us aware, please can I ask you to email [email protected] by 3pm today.

We have made arrangements for the care of children who absolutely need to attend school next week. In order to minimise social mixing for our staff and protect their health and wellbeing, the extra-ordinary provision we are arranging for those children will not replicate normal schooling. Children will not be with the same staff, in the same classrooms or following the same routines as normal.

Those children registered for provision are to arrive at 9am and register at student services in appropriate non-school uniform. They will then follow a timetabled day of subject specific learning and will finish at 2.50pm. Children who are entitled to Free School Meals will be catered for as normal and those who are not will be able to buy food. A separate letter has gone home to the relevant parents of children entitled to FSM with more details. Students should bring their PE kit in with them every day. A member of the senior leadership team, our safeguarding team and a first aider will be on site every day. Children registered to attend must do so for the full day. Our breakfast club will continue to run daily from 8.30am.

Attendance is not compulsory for those who are entitled to attend but can I ask that any parent who has registered their children to let us know if their circumstances change at any time by calling the school. This will ensure we are able to safeguard the children in our care effectively.

We must insist that NO student comes to school from a household where ANY member of the home has the virus symptoms of:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly

As per Government advice, the WHOLE household must self-isolate for 14 days. www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ We will have no choice but to continue to send home any student who exhibit any of these symptoms in school.

Sadly, we have had to cancel all calendared school events for the remainder of this academic year. Refunds will be arranged as quickly as possible but please be aware we have significant high staff absence levels so this is going to take time to process. Your patience is appreciated.

Our teachers have worked hard to prepare and upload work for all their classes to google classrooms and the students have been fully prepared with how to access this. During this period of term time school closure, teachers will continue to upload work each week for their classes to complete. Formal feedback will be provided in line with our school policy. Please encourage your child to make every effort with their work, aiming to complete Maths and English work each day and a range of other subjects across the week. It is also important our students maintain their positive learning habits and continue to read a variety of books and texts.

I am incredibly proud of the commitment my staff have continued to show to our students’ education at this incredibly worrying time and I can assure you this will continue during this period of school closure. However, please be mindful that teachers are only human and are subject to the same government guidance as you for protecting their health.

Finally, we fully appreciate this is a particularly difficult time for our wonderful Year 11 students. We are so sad we haven’t been able to give them the send-off they deserve but are committed to doing so once this is all over. They will have a results day and a certificates evening and we will hold their prom at some stage. I don’t know when, but we are determined to celebrate their progress and successes with them in style! More information will follow as soon as possible.

Trafalgar School is a very special community and one that I am proud to lead every day. Our team spirit will see us through this very difficult time; even though we will be a virtual family for a while!

Please call or email us if you are worried about anything.

Take care of yourselves and your families.

Yours sincerely,

Claire Copeland
Headteacher

School closures

No school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case unless directed to do so by Public Health England.

Home Learning - In event of self isolation/school closure

The school has established a Google Classroom for students and a list of other online resources for use at home, in the event of students having to self isolate/school closure.

How families can cope with self-isolating together

Please see attached article with suggestions on how to structure the days in the event of a school closure. We will keep you fully informed of any changes.

BBC: Coronavirus: How families can cope with self-isolating together

Help with food

The Salvation Army can provide up to 3 food parcels without a voucher:
Haven Community centre, Lake Road, PO1 4HA: Tuesday 1-3pm, Friday 10am-12pm.

Helpline

The DfE have also launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and students can contact the helpline as follows:

  • Phone: 0800 046 8687
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

24/3/20: The Universities of Oxford and Reading have put together a resource containing advice around supporting young people at a time when anxiety and worry will likely be high.

You can find the resource on the Emerging Minds website here:

https://emergingminds.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID19_advice-for-parents-and-carers_20.3_.pdf

Updates

You can find the latest updates on COVID-19 on the Government page here:

Updated travel advice for travellers returning from Italy

On the 9th March 2020, Public Health England updated their travel advice, recommending that anyone returning from Italy should self-isolate, even if you do not have any symptoms. If you do develop symptoms, call NHS 111.

The latest travel guidance can be found here:

The importance of hygiene

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.

Wash your hands more often for 20 seconds with soap and hot water.

In addition to handwashing before eating and after sneezing, both children and staff should also wash hands after using toilets and after travelling on public transport.

Guidance for Education Settings

They have also released the following guidance for education settings:

You can read the advice given to schools by the Government on the link below, including more information about the Coronavirus which will hopefully help dispel some of the myths that are going around!

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19