Letters to Parents re COVID 19:
8th July 2021
Firstly, many thanks for your patience and understanding once again with the latest Covid outbreak in school. We are doing all we can to try to prevent transmission within our bubbles and additional Covid hygiene controls but we need your co-operation to get to the end of term successfully.
The transmission rates in the Newcastle community are extremely high at the moment, particularly with children. I have reminded the transport teams of their duties to continue to wear mask and face shields until the end of term despite any changes in Government policy on the 19th July and I am sure they will support this intervention. This may be something we continue in the autumn term too, but more details will follow on this before we break for the summer on the 23rd July.
We are asking for your co-operation with the following;
· Please tell us immediately of any Covid symptoms in your child or your family. The background details are very important for Public Health to track the infection routes.
· Don’t send your child to school unwell. The number of children turning up to school with symptoms and having to then be sent home is worrying, particularly when they have travelled on school transport putting other children and escorts at risk.
· Where appropriate, follow Public Health guidance and ensure your child goes for a PCR test before they return to school following isolation. *Please note, if your child is symptomatic they can’t return to school without this PCR test, a Lateral Flow Test is not sufficient. We also need to see the result of the PCR before you send your child back to school. This can be sent via email or the class DoJo.
· If in isolation please follow the rules and don’t mix bubbles. Your children will often recount where they have been and who they met when they are meant to be staying indoors.
· Seek medical advice for medical concerns. School cannot answer health issues.
As you are aware, we have a duty to protect our staff as well as your children’s health and despite having both injections we currently have staff members unwell with Covid again.
If you have any questions please email or phone me and I will try and answer as best I can.
11th June 2021
Guidance Change – PCR Testing for all Close Contacts
We are sharing the new Government Guidance now in place for Individuals who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. These close contacts are now advised to access a free PCR test at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119 (free of charge).
Schools are now being advised that if your child has been identified as a close contact of a positive case your child isolates for 10 day as per Government Guidance but advised to access a PCR test at the end of their period of self-isolation and have a negative result before they are due to return to school.
This process should be followed even if they have returned a negative Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test during the period of their self-isolation.
Public Health teams from Newcastle City Council and Public Health England are working to detect further cases of COVID-19, limit its onward spread and reduce the impact it may have on local communities.
This additional testing will help to reduce any possible transmission within the school. This highly precautionary approach will allow us to detect any additional cases within the wider community and reduce possible transmission.
If you need support with self-isolation contact your local council.
For Newcastle residents needing help with self-isolation the City Council’s Welfare and Wellbeing Team may be able to help you. If you can, you should try to seek help from your friends, family and community first, or look online at www.newcastle.gov.uk for local support services. Where this is not possible, the Welfare and Wellbeing team can help.
Visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/welfare or call 0800 170 7001 (8am-8pm Monday to Friday, 9am-3pm Saturday) to get the support you need.
You may also be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment. Apply online at https://newcastle.gov.uk/TestandTraceSupportPayments (available until the 30 June 2021 only).
What to do if you develop symptoms of COVID-19
For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
· a new continuous cough and/or
· high temperature and/or
· a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
If you develop any of these symptoms of COVID-19, you must remain at home for at least 10 days from the date the symptoms first started and make arrangements to be PCR tested. At that time, all other household members must also stay at home, not go to work, school or public areas, even for exercise.
When the result of your test is known, further advice will be given.
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:
Remember; ‘Hands, Face, Space and Let Fresh Air In’:
· Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds or 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.
· Try to stay at least 2 metres from anyone you don’t live with at all times.
· Use a face covering when social distancing is not possible.
· If meeting others, try to do so outside. If inside, open the window to let fresh air in
You, the adults and secondary age children you live with, are encouraged to take part in twice weekly Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing for COVID-19 to help identify those who do not have symptoms of the virus. LFD testing is an important control measure in helping to protect yourself and others from contracting or transmitting the virus. You can obtain free LFT test kits at most pharmacies or by ringing 119 or online at https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
Please take up the offer of the COVID-19 vaccine when invited. The vaccines are safe and effective. They give you the best protection against COVID-19. More information can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/
Further information is available at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
Thank you for your support. Your efforts do help to reduce the further spread of COVID-19 to others in the community.
If for any reason you need support to understand this letter, please contact school and we will do our best to explain the advice.
13th January 2021
Hello, I’m just keeping in touch and letting you know how things are in school. Many thanks to those parents who have sent messages of thanks and appreciation to our staff for their selfless dedication to your children, this really does help our staff feel valued. Have any of you had any success campaigning for our staff to be prioritised for vaccination? We know the BBC are covering this story now and that specialist schools in the borough of Ealing in London have been prioritised, so why not our staff?
We are developing our remote learning offer again and will soon post our plans on the website. Have you all got copies of your children’s PLP outcomes at home? If not then please contact your child’s Teacher and we will get them to you. Some of you may be able to help us to make bespoke reading books for your children by sending in photos of family members, friends, pets, favourite activities etc., and we can turn them into appropriate books with key symbols or text.
For those families in receipt of Free School Meals (FSM) who are at home a packed lunch can be collected from school. Please let the Admin Team know if you intend to take up this offer. We are awaiting further information from the Government for the return of the FSM voucher scheme and we will update you as soon as this is in place. In the meantime any families in real hardship please let us know and we will do all we can to help you.
Please remember the basic Covid rules, clean clothes, wash every night, don’t send your child to school in a taxi with any Covid symptoms. Can you check your child’s bag each night and respond to individual messages from staff. Remember if you change phone numbers tell us straight away. Can all parents/carers ensure daily and emergency medication is ordered in good time from your GP and sent into school.
Take care everyone, stay safe and keep following the Covid guidance at all times.
6th January 2021
Happy New Year and welcome back to all those who feel safe to do so. We have 64 children in school today and hopefully a few more returning later this week.
We totally understand the concerns of those parents who have chosen to keep their child at home with our consent. We will try to continue to deliver remote learning, however, please bear in mind your Class Teacher is also in school teaching full-time.
I must pay tribute to all of our staff for returning to work full-time despite the rise of cases in the pandemic and without regard to their own safety and the wellbeing of their families and loved ones. You could all help support school by campaigning for our front line staff to be vaccinated as soon as possible. As you fully understand they carry out the same duties as Nurses and Care staff and yet we seem to be the forgotten staff in this pandemic. Please contact your MP’s City Counsellors, Piers Morgan, press contacts, Health contacts or anyone you know who has the opportunity to shine a light on our work and push for vaccination as soon as possible.
If you need reassurance about our Covid measures please contact school. You will appreciate we cannot guarantee the safety of your child in school but you can be reassured that we are doing everything possible to keep everyone safe. So once again we are asking you not to send your child to school with any Covid symptoms. Could you also alert school if any close family members in the same household are going for a test. Can you please ensure your child comes to school in clean clothes daily and have bathed before school. Equally make sure they change out of their school clothes as soon as they get home and wash hands.
For those families in receipt of Free School Meals who are at home, a packed lunch can be collected from school. Please let the Admin Team know if you intend to take up this offer.
Assemblies will continue to be zoomed each Friday morning from 9:30am and we will look at putting on some extra special events remotely to keep your spirits up.
Take care everyone, stay safe and follow the Covid guidance at all times.
19th October 2020
Meeting ID 284 776 8305
We will be having our usual Harvest Festival this Wednesday at 1:45pm but in the new world we are in it will be available to access for you and the children via ZOOM. The contact details are above and it should last maybe fifty minutes or so. Remember Friday’s assemblies are also accessible each week via the same link at 9:30am.
Could we ask for donations in support of the West End Food Bank please. Tinned goods, pasta, cereal, rice, lentils, beans & pulses, soup, tea/coffee, UHT milk would all be very welcome.
Could we also please ask you to send your child dressed for outdoor weather. The children are spending significant periods of time outdoors daily and whilst we do have some outdoor clothing it is quite difficult in these Covid times to keep them all laundered between sessions. So, if possible a waterproof, warm coat, gloves, wellies, hat, waterproof trousers and lots of layers would be great.
Feel Good Friday 13th November Children in Need Day
Next month we will be celebrating with a non-uniform day with a donation of £1 or £2 to Children in Need. You can prepare for this by logging on to bbcchildreninneed.co.uk/schools for more information. We will be doing lots of nice thrive activities in school that week to help the children and staff’s mental wellbeing.
Remember we break for Half Term this Friday 23rd October at 3:15pm and the children come back to school on Monday 2nd November. We will leave a contact number on our school answer phone just in case you need to inform us about any positive Covid cases during the holiday break. If I don’t get another opportunity before the end of the week to say ‘Happy Holidays’ I do hope you can relax and enjoy the break when it comes.
Dear parents & friends,
We had a productive meeting with partners including Public Health England and Newcastle City Council yesterday and we will reopen to our children and staff this Thursday 8th October.
Unfortunately we have had a further three tests come back positive this morning which now takes us to twelve positive cases (10 staff and 2 children).
This means we now have three bubbles self-isolating. The parents involved should know this already, so if you have not been contacted by school then you can assume your child can be back in school on Thursday. Those on LA Transport will be collected as normal.
In the meantime the school has been deep cleaned. Staff and children who have been identified as close contacts have been advised to self-isolate for 14 days from their last contact with the confirmed case.
We can further reassure you that no class bubbles are mixing in school and where staff do have to cover another class other than their own, then they will be wearing full PPE.
Our partners were reassured by the control methods in place. We do appreciate that many of you will be anxious about the number of cases in school. I am pleased to report that all those who have tested positive are OK.
Again, can I make a plea to all of those who are isolating to follow the Government legislation and to remain in your home and do not leave the house for any reason.
Newcastle City Council has a series of very useful Frequently Asked Questions about measures in the North East online at – https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/services/public-health-wellbeing-and-leisure/public-health-services/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-FAQs
No one can predict that there won’t be any more positive cases in school, however, we have to learn to live with the virus. What I can reassure you all is that your children are enjoying school, are unaware of all the fuss going on around them and are being very well looked after and indeed educated and thrived!
Can I also just pay tribute to our wonderful staff for all they are doing. Our partners are also being very supportive.
If you want to talk to any members of the Leadership Team about your concerns, please do not hesitate to do so.
Best wishes, Chris
5/10/20 – UPDATE FROM CHRIS
Dear parents and friends.
I’ve just this minute (3:30pm) finished a 45 minute conversation with Public Health Newcastle to advise us as to the next steps in re-opening school. We have gone through each Covid positive case by case and reviewed any links to connections inside and outside of school. Public Health are very happy with the measures we have in place and are optimistic we will re-open soon, however, as you know, we always put the safety and welfare of your children and our staff first and will never take any risks in unnecessarily exposing your children to infection. I appreciate many of you will have spent the day looking for updates, however, we must also recognise the levels of stress placed upon Public Health at present and we are not the only school looking for their advice and guidance.
We are meeting with colleagues in Public Health tomorrow morning to talk through any additional precautions we might be able to put in place, but as I said Public Health were complementary and think our approach is working well. As we speak, only 1 child in school has tested positive in a Year 6 class and he is doing very well. The other 8 cases involve staff and, once again, they are all doing fine.
I hope you can appreciate the stresses we are under in keeping your children safe and our staff safe. What would really help us is if you have any concerns you bring them to our attention and refrain from using social media to ask questions or comment on school to protect confidentiality.
We hope to update you tomorrow afternoon following the outcome of the meeting. In theory we then may be re-opening on Wednesday to those children who are not currently self-isolating, e.g. Marc and Rachael’s classes. If we have not been in direct contact with you personally you can assume your child is safe and has not been in contact with any of the positive cases.
Take care, best wishes, Chris
5/10/20 – UPDATE
Dear Parents, Carers,
Following Public Health advice today, school will remain closed on Tuesday the 6th October. There is an Infection Control Meeting tomorrow morning with Public Health.
We will let Parents, Carers know the outcome of the meeting as soon as we speak to Public Health – an update will hopefully come after lunchtime tomorrow.
5/10/20 – TEMPORARY CLOSURE NEWS
Dear parents and carers,
School is closed today to all children and staff. More information to follow later on today.