We hope that you had a restful Christmas break and were able to enjoy some time with your families as well as wishing you a very Happy New Year. We hope that we have much more to look forward to this year and to be able to share and celebrate with you over the coming terms.
As I am sure you can imagine, after the challenges we started to experience in the last week of the Christmas term, COVID has now presented us with further challenges to start the new term. We will always endeavour where possible to keep the school open for the children as we think it is extremely important that they attend school in person and we will keep you informed with any updates as soon as we possibly can. We do hope to be able to continue to offer parent open events and for this term we will have to do so with limited numbers and other precautionary measures such as face masks, social distancing and testing, in the hope that we can then review this by the end of the term. As we did back in December, we look at cases that we have within school and within the local community as to whether we are able to hold events safely and without risk to the children and staff in the whole school. With all this in mind, we will have to start with reduced parent events but with the view that we can hopefully increase these if the COVID situation improves and offer as many opportunities as we did in terms 1 and 2.
Unfortunately, we are starting the term with some staffing shortages due to positive COVID tests in some of our staff. This means that year 5 will be covered by TAs this week with Miss Theobald tuning in live into the classroom when she can and depending on how she feels. Mrs Bush is at the end of her isolation period and so until she can return the class will be covered by TAs but we are hoping that in both cases, both the year 1 and Year 5 teachers will be back to school next week. Mrs Bush may return by the end of this week. Mrs White who covers our minibus, lunches and after school club will also not be able to return until next week. Mrs Drobka will be taking over her morning minibus runs and due to low numbers we should be able to continue with the after school club this week. Please bear with us while we have to put these temporary measures in place and depending on the situation, we may have to put more temporary measures into place with staffing over the coming weeks. Please rest assured that our staff test themselves regularly and we have also put in additional measures in place within the school to try to reduce the spread between staff members and children.
As mentioned previously, we will endeavour as much as we can to keep the whole school and classes open to the children but in any cases of a severe outbreak in staff or with children in particular year groups, we may have to put in place short periods of online learning at home. We will of course give you as much notice as we can if this was to occur.
We will not currently ask parents to wear masks on drop off or pick up as this is outside so we will leave it to your own discretion but would kindly ask that if you are entering the school office or building that you please wear a face covering. We would also appreciate your support in taking care in social distancing whilst waiting to drop off or collect children and would kindly ask that you leave the school premises as soon as you are able to do so.
We would encourage you to let us know whether yourselves and particularly the children have any symptoms or have had a positive LFD test. In all cases, if they have had a positive LFD test then they would need to arrange to have a PCR test. We would also ask that you keep us informed of the outcome of the PCR. Individuals may now take LFD tests on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period. Those who receive two negative test results are no longer required to complete 10 full days of self-isolation. The first test must be taken no earlier than day 6 of the self-isolation period and tests must be taken 24 hours apart. This also applies to children under 5, with LFD testing at parental or guardian discretion. If both these test results are negative, and they do not have a high temperature, they can end self-isolation after the second negative test result and return to school from day 8. Anyone who is unable to take LFD tests will need to complete the full 10 day period of self-isolation.
People who are fully vaccinated, or children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years and 6 months, identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 by NHS Test and Trace, should take an LFD test every day for seven days and continue to attend their setting as normal, unless they have a positive test result or develop symptoms at any time. Children under 5 are not being advised to take part in daily testing of close contacts. If a child under 5 is a contact of a confirmed case, they are not required to self-isolate and should not start daily testing. If they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 they should limit their contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19, and arrange to take a PCR test as soon as possible. They can continue to attend an education or childcare setting while waiting for the PCR result. If the test is positive, they should follow the advice as above.
We hope that the situation improves as we head towards the end of the month and we will keep you updated throughout the term. We will ensure that where we are not able to facilitate as many open events in the first month, that we send out videos and class leaflets for you to access and keep up to date with the fantastic learning that the children are undertaking in school. We will want to ensure that they still have the same opportunities and as much consistency that we have been able to provide in previous terms, despite more challenging circumstances. We will be in touch in the coming weeks about any events and we will ensure that the children have the opportunity to still have their Talent show from the last term.
As always we appreciate your support during these more difficult times and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or queries.
Mrs L Rimmer