New Restrictions to Parents – Final
As you will be aware, this week the Government published their updated guidance around the changes they are making to the law for COVID. I’ve tried to outline the changes in this letter. As you can imagine, the guidance is not as clear as we would hope; there are still many questions so thank you in advance for your understanding and support – as always.
Staff will no longer be required to wear masks in communal spaces unless they choose to do so. Visitors and parents will no longer be required to wear masks indoors unless they choose to do so. This also means that masks are not needed at drop-off and pick-up times unless you wish to.
Primary age children have been recommended to test when there is a positive case in their class. We will continue to recommend this approach to protect children, staff and wider families linked to our school. For staff, the guidance changed on Monday afternoon, removing the recommendation for staff to routinely test. However, we will be continuing to test twice weekly whilst stocks last.
From 24th February, the law changes and it is no longer a legal obligation to isolate. The advice remains to isolate for five full days if an individual is showing symptoms. They should then have two negative tests before ending isolation after day 5 (testing on day 5 and day 6, or day 10 if there are no negative results). There is therefore no expected change in the advice, just to the law enforcing that advice. Whilst the legal enforcement of isolation has been removed, the moral obligation to keep ourselves and others safe remains as clear and strong as ever.
For the time being, we will not change our existing procedure for children and staff with COVID symptoms (high temperature, new continuous cough, change of taste/smell) or testing positive to remain at home for five full days as a minimum. This is to ensure the continued safety of other pupils, staff and their families.
If your child has no symptoms, but tests positive on a Lateral Flow test, we recommend they remain off school for five full days as a minimum as well. Although your child may be symptom free, others might not be so lucky and continued attendance while knowingly positive poses a significant risk to others. Several of our families have household members or children with medical conditions that mean COVID could be life threatening – we’d hope families would make the right choice and keep their child off school if they test positive.
Please do continue to let us know after reporting test results to confirm the absence reason. We will also continue to provide remote learning for COVID absence periods, as we have done.
As before, children do not learn well if they are unwell in themselves. Please avoid spreading illness to others and keep your child at home if they are unwell. This website may be helpful: Is my child too ill for school? – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
If cases are to escalate in the school, we will once again put in place contingency plans where we will install extra measures to deescalate cases. We will be continuing with twice daily cleaning of the school of frequently touched surfaces. Pupils will no longer remain in bubbles and will be able to mix with their friends from other classes at break and lunch, something that I know that lots of them are really looking forward to! Clubs will be reinstated across classes. We have really enjoyed greeting parents and children at the doors during COVID and so this is something that we will be continuing to do at drop off and pick up. Parents will, however, be able to come into the school for meetings with staff when arranged with them. We look forward to welcoming you in fully for review day and celebrating children’s learning again.
What is not changing?
We will continue to ventilate all spaces used by children and staff in school. Hygiene measures (hand washing and cleaning routines) will also remain in place. We will continue to monitor and report cases as required and offer advice for families with positive cases.
I appreciate that the current changes may bring more questions than answers. Some families will be pleased to see the changes, while others will be extremely worried about what it means for them. As always, we will take a balanced approach, that aims to enable children to have all the opportunities we can provide, while keeping them as safe as we can.
I am proud of the way our school community, children, staff and parents – but particularly the children – have navigated the difficulties and challenges of the last two years, and I’m confident that whatever comes next, we will continue to show our school values in all we do to get through it all together.
Thank you for your understanding and support. As ever, if you have any specific concerns, please do get in touch and I will do my best to support you with them.