COVID-19: What you need to know
This page keeps you up-to-date with changes to learning in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We are now fully open to all children!
The DFE Schools COVID-19 Operational Guidance released on 27th August states that:
Step 4 marked a new phase in the government’s response to the pandemic, moving away from stringent restrictions on everyone’s day-to-day lives, towards advising people on how to protect themselves and others, alongside targeted interventions to reduce risk. As COVID-19 becomes a virus that we learn to live with, there is now an imperative to reduce the disruption to children and young people’s education – particularly given that the direct clinical risks to children are extremely low, and every adult has been offered a first vaccine and the opportunity for 2 doses by mid-September. Our priority is for you to deliver face-to-face, high-quality education to all pupils. The evidence is clear that being out of education causes significant harm to educational attainment, life chances, mental and physical health.
In line with this guidance we have updated our Covid-19 Operational Risk Assessment:
What does this mean for you and your child?
Mixing and ‘bubbles’
We will no longer restrict who children can mix with and ‘bubbles’ will no longer be necessary. This means arrangements for break and lunchtime will revert to pre-pandemic arrangements and assemblies will resume in the hall.
Please be aware that we may need to temporarily reintroduce bubbles as per our contingency plan should we need to restrict and prevent mixing between groups for a short period of time. We will let parents know as and when we need to do this, but any decision to do so will not be taken lightly.
Tracing close contacts and isolation
It is no longer a school’s responsibility to trace close contacts; this has now been transferred to Track and Trace. Should your child test positive for COVID-19 you will need to contact Track and Trace and inform them of all the children who have been in close contact with your child. Track and Trace will then advise those individuals accordingly.
However, it would be very helpful if parents could advise the school if their child has tested positive for COVID-19 as this will enable us to take swift and appropriate action to help prevent the spread of the infection within school.
What happens if you are a close contact or if you live with someone who has tested positive?
You DO NOT need to self-isolate if any of the following apply:
- you are fully vaccinated
- you are below the age of 18 years and 6 months
- you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
- you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
However, you will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed that you/your child have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. We would encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so.
Staff and children who have been identified as a close contact, should continue to attend school as normal. They do not need to wear a face covering within the school, but it is expected and recommended that these are worn when travelling on public or dedicated transport.
The government has removed the requirement to wear face coverings in law but expects and recommends that they are worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may come into contact with people you don’t normally meet. This includes public transport and dedicated transport to school or college.
At school, this means that:
- Staff will no longer be required to wear face masks during school hours, unless advised to do so by Public Health officials, for instance in response to a substantial increase in the number of positive cases in our school
- Visitors to site for meetings will be asked to wear face coverings unless the meeting can be held outside
- Parents and staff may consider wearing face coverings during school pick-up and drop-off times where the playground can become crowded with people with whom you do not normally mix
- Parents and visitors will be asked to wear masks at events where groups of visitors are in school together, for instance a sharing assembly.
Outbreak Management Plan
There may be an occasion to step up our response to the virus, in which case we will follow our St Julian’s COVID-19_ outbreak management plan. This plan outlines what we would do if 5 pupils or staff test positive for COVID-19 in a 10-day period, and how we would operate if we are advised to take extra measures to help break chains of transmission.
Please be assured that we will endeavour to ensure all measures taken will have the smallest possible detrimental impact on our children’s education and experience in school. We will also ensure that parents are kept informed of any changes we need to make as per our Contingency Plan.
How we will continue to ensure school is safe – our Control Measures
We will continue to:
- Ensure good hygiene for everyone
- Maintain appropriate cleaning regimes
- Keep occupied spaces well ventilated
- Follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.
- Encourage staff to complete 2 asymptomatic tests each week
- Encourage all parents to engage with Track and Trace
Please spend time with your child reminding them how to wash their hands correctly and what to do if they sneeze, cough or blow their nose.
As last year, your child may find that the classroom is colder than normal due to the need for constant ventilation. Whilst we will aim to ensure a sensible balance between the levels of ventilation and room temperature, we recognise that some children will need to bring an additional jumper to school. As far as possible please ensure this is a school jumper, or one that is plain. All clothing must be named. School uniform is required daily.
What happens if a child tests positive for COVID-19 or develops symptoms?
If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19 then they MUST stay at home.
If a child develops symptoms at school, however mild, we will send them home. It remains essential that you have plans in place to collect your child from school at short notice.
The most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness. However, if you have any of the symptoms above, even if your symptoms are mild, stay at home and arrange to have a test.
There are several other symptoms linked with COVID-19. These other symptoms may have another cause and are not on their own a reason to have a COVID-19 test. If you are concerned about your symptoms, seek medical advice.
If you have received one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccine and have symptoms of COVID-19 or have received a positive test result, you should still follow this guidance. This is because it is still possible to get COVID-19 and spread it to others even if you are vaccinated.
However, if you do not have symptoms or have not tested positive but live with someone who has tested positive you no longer need to self-isolate If you are fully vaccinated or aged under 18 years and 6 months.
You could be fined if you do not self-isolate following a notification by NHS Test and Trace. You may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme if you are required to stay at home and self-isolate or you are the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate.
There is no requirement for primary aged pupils to take regular Lateral Flow tests.
If your child is awaiting a result from a PCR test, they should self-isolate until the result is known.
Attendance is mandatory and we expect all children to attend as normal from the start of term.
Please understand that if your child has symptoms we will not be able to admit them into school given the potential risk to others. This includes if they have had a temperature and you have administered Calpol at home – please keep your child at home and arrange for them to have a test.
Please ensure that you have contacted the school office, as you would for any illness, before 9am so we can ensure we have a correct attendance register for the day.
If you have travelled abroad during the summer break, please ensure you have read and followed the latest government guidance on testing and quarantine. If your child is unable to attend school due to being in quarantine it is essential that you let us know through the school office so that we can make the necessary arrangements for remote learning.
If at any point your child is unable to attend school due to COVID-19, we will set remote learning. We expect this to be completed unless of course, your child is unwell with the virus.
Our remote learning will follow a similar format to that used in lockdown and will be sent to you directly by the class teacher. As far as is practical your child will follow the same learning as their classmates in school. For this reason, it may be that some lessons are provided through a live link which will be sent to you by the class teacher.
We are returning to normal lunch time arrangements. Please order cooked meals as normal through ParentPay and always by the preceding Thursday for the following week. If your child is eligible for benefit-related Free School Meals these will continue as normal. If you have experienced a change in personal circumstances and believe your child may now be eligible for Free School Meals please contact the school office and we will assist you to apply for these. As well as a free meal daily, the school receives an additional £1345 per FSM child into the school budget to support their education so we urge any family who is eligible to please apply.
All Educational Visits within the UK are permitted to go ahead subject to normal Risk Assessments plus a COVID-19 Risk Assessments. We have a number of visits planned for the autumn term about which your child’s teacher will inform you over the coming weeks. We will carry out a separate risk assessment for each trip or visit to determine whether it can be undertaken safely.
Wrap-Around Care and Extracurricular Activities
Our Breakfast Club and After-School Club will continue to operate as normal. These represent excellent value for money so please try them if you haven’t already! When your child attends, please ensure we have your most up-to-date contact details in case of an emergency.
We will resume our extra curricular activities such as sports clubs and music tuition. Please look out for details in the newsletters. We will ensure that any external providers have considered all relevant guidance and put the appropriate health and safety measures in place.
Indoor and Outdoor performances
Both indoor and outdoor performances can now go ahead. We will consult this government guidance when planning such events.
PE lessons and sport
Indoor sports lessons can go ahead, however we will prioritise outdoor sport when possible. When PE is taken inside, we will ensure we use a large and well-ventilated space. When planning any team sports we will consult this government guidance.
Catching up and moving on
The government is leading a number of initiatives designed to help schools to support children to catch up in their learning. We were very proud of how well our children engaged in remote learning last year and feel confident that every child returned to school in the summer having tried their best to keep up. We have identified some gaps in learning, particularly in writing, that we will address over the coming year.
You can support your child by encouraging them to do their best, reading with them daily and supporting them to talk about their learning. We want children to be able to recall and remember their learning as this will help them with new learning. Talking with you at home will play an important role in helping our children to stick learning to their long term memory.
We will continue to place a strong emphasis on our children’s mental health and wellbeing as we know that when children feel happy, safe and secure they are far better able to learn. Please talk to your child’s class teacher if you have any concerns about how your child is feeling in school as we can and will do all we can to support them.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.