Corvid-19 (Coronavirus) – Emergency Planning
We have taken the decision to write to you today to explain our current position in relation to the coronavirus outbreak. As a trust of 15 schools, we have been through our emergency plans and developed contingencies should we have to close our school in response to government guidance or staff absence. The trust and school have been monitoring advice and guidance daily from the Department of Education and the Local Authority. We want to take a sensible approach and not cause panic.
Update – Thursday 19th March 2020 (sent home as a letter – a copy can be downloaded from here – Coronavirus Update Letter re School Closure 19.03.20)
As you will now be aware, the government have announced the closure of all schools in England at the end of the school day on Friday 20th March. We do not yet know how long this closure will continue for and so, as a school we are doing all we can, within our resources to ensure that your children have a continuity of education as they continue to learn from home.
Home learning provision of work.
Every pupil should have received their own work pack, which they should have brought home with them at the close of the day today. This is a starter pack, to enable your child to continue with their learning at home. In addition, their teacher will be putting further work onto their class page, accessible via the website, with learning that your child can complete at home. This may also include links to other websites with educational content for them complete.
If your child has Special Educational Needs you can also access learning ideas from the SEN page on our school website, so that you can choose to use either the class learning on their class page of the SEN learning on the SEN page.
Free School Meals provision for eligible pupils
For pupils in our school who are entitled to a daily Free School Meal (linked to benefits – NOT those who are accessing Universal Free School Meals up to the end of Y2), our school catering team are able to provide a packed lunch for these children. These should be collected every day from the school office entrance area at 12 noon. To ensure that the contents are at their best, they should be eaten within 4 hours of collection. If your child is entitled to free school meals and you wish your child to receive this service each day, please contact the school office by no later than 12 noon on Friday 20th March to inform us of this. We will be unable to provide a daily packed lunch for your child if you have not contacted school to request that this is put in place.
Even though school is no longer open to pupils, we still want to ensure as much as possible that all of our children remain safe and happy. We have set up a safeguarding e mail address, accessible by Mrs Navas who is the designated Safeguarding Lead. If at any point any parent is concerned about their child or family and feels that you need to access support or have a concern, you can e mail school direct, marked CONFIDENTIAL to :
Mrs Navas will pick up e mails daily and either Mrs Navas or one of our Designated Safeguarding Lead team (Mrs Shelton and Mrs Barratt) will then contact you as soon as possible.
Of course, if your concern is about a child in immediate danger you should make a referral to Doncaster Safeguarding Childrens Trust on 01302 737777 or contact the police.
Thank you for your support – stay safe and look after each other everyone.
Update – Wednesday 18th March 2020 (sent home as a letter – a copy can be downloaded from here – Coronavirus Update letter 18.3.20)
Government updates are changing daily. At the time of writing, government advice is to:
- Stay at home for 14 days along with anyone in your household if anyone in your family develops a new cough or fever. Please do not send your child to school if anyone in your household has these symptoms.
- Avoid social gatherings and crowded places. We wrote to you last Friday to explain how we are already limiting opportunities within school for large events within the school day, such as assemblies or whole school activities.
- Those at risk will be asked to distance themselves socially (the government has a list of those who fall in this category, but they include people over 70, those who are pregnant, other adults who would normally be advised to have the flu vaccine).
This recent guidance is likely to have an impact on staffing levels, as some of our staff fall into these categories. It is possible that there may come a time when we have insufficient teachers for all classes due to self-isolation of staff, and we have been working hard to make contingency plans for this possible scenario should it happen, which we will outline below.
The government’s current advice is to keep schools open and, unless staffing levels drop to a level that necessitates us to rethink our position, this is what we will do. We intend to stay open for as long as it is safe and possible to do so or unless directed by the government to close.
We are monitoring staffing levels daily as a trust. Staffing levels have already been affected in our school since the new guidance from the government this week. Please be patient with us if some of the usual activities and routines in school are not carried out as often or as well as usual, such as homework, for example, as we have less staff in school managing their job in difficult circumstances.
If staffing levels continue to fall significantly, then we will need to consider some of the following to enable us to stay open:
- Mixing classes
- Teaching assistants helping to cover classes where possible.
- Simplifying lessons, focusing (if needs be) on caring for pupils and engaging them in activities rather than continuing with the curriculum as it stands now. This will mean we can keep the school open for a longer period if we have staff shortages.
- Considering carefully partial closures if staffing levels become very low, which may include, as one example, closing to all students other than those whose parents/ carers work for the emergency services.
Some of our families are already in the situation where they need to self-isolate. We would ask that for this week these children continue with their homework topic grids and reading and also access the maths with parent’s site. We have also prepared a ‘to go’ pack for every child, should the school be forced to close at any point in the future, which will be sent out with the children at the point of any forced closure. For families already self-isolating at the point of enforced closure, the packs can be collected from school by contacts of the family. We will be updating the website with daily learning activities when we enter the forced closure stage and not before, as our staff are still currently still teaching a full timetable and curriculum and therefore don’t have capacity to do this just yet.
Thank you again for your continued support and please be in touch if you have any further questions or concerns.
Precautionary measures with effect from Monday 16th March until further notice:
- We will continue to ensure that children wash their hands regularly.
- Parents evenings are postponed to later in the summer term.
- Assemblies and large group gatherings are cancelled until further notice. We will be holding class assemblies instead of whole school assemblies.
- Visits that have been planned will be assessed on a case by case basis, depending, for example, on whether they are indoor or outdoor visits.
- Large events such as sports, discos and fayres will be cancelled until further notice.
- Until further notice, we are asking adults to not stay at drop off and to leave school premises as quickly as possible.
In the event of enforced school enclosure by the government:
At the time of writing this letter, there is no indication from the government relating to an enforced school closure. However, if this guidance was to change, the following would apply:
- A text message would be sent to parents at the earliest opportunity and the website would be updated to inform you of the closure.
- We are currently negotiating with Taylor Shaw to organise for pack ups to be prepared for children eligible for free school meals to collect daily (this applies to pupils who are eligible for free school meals rather than Universal Infant Free School Meals). Further information will be provided at a later date.
- Each class teacher is preparing a ‘to go pack’ of activities for children to take home with them. We will also be posting each class page on the school website activities regularly for children to access should we have to close.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and should we get any further advice from Public Health England, the Department for Education or the Local Authority, we will inform you immediately.
The Department for Education has also launched a new helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Contact the helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687