Letters to parents re Public Health Updates February 2022
Letters to Parents re COVID School Thresholds Being Met January 2022
At the Diocese of St Albans Multi Academy Trust and Thomas Whitehead CE Academy, we take the care of our community very seriously. As such, we are constantly monitoring information and guidance about all safeguarding issues, including Coronavirus.
The government is closely monitoring the spread of the Coronavirus and is taking action at home and abroad.
Advice for parents and carers Dear Parent / Carer
Following the latest government announcement please do not send your son or daughter to school if they have a cough or temperature.
All extra-curricular activities after school have been cancelled in order to reduce social contact and help us manage day to day teaching throughout periods of staff absence due to illness/vulnerabilities.
Thank you for your support at this challenging time.
Helping children to progress after the COVID-19 pandemic
Our staff have been working hard to identify how we can help all children make good progress, revisiting key areas and adapting our curriculum to ensure that learning stays on track. We always adapt our curriculum and teaching to ensure that our children flourish, so please be assured that this is something we will always do. We will make sure that your children have the right learning, at the right time, at school.
Whilst we will be working hard in school, we do understand that you may want to help your child at home too. We will continue to provide home learning, and we do not expect you to do more than this. However, we know that many parents are looking for additional resources for their child too, and as a school, we believe in powerful partnerships with parents. So whether you want to work with your child at home to supplement learning, or you want to have some key resources to support learning whilst your child is absent or ill, we hope these links will help you.
What we will do if we get a positive case of Covid-19
We are really clear of what needs to be done by when and who will do it.
The Senior Leadership team will follow ALL advice by Public Health England. PHE will give us all of the letters that we must send out to you and they will tell us who must self isolate. We will inform you by letter whether your child must self isolate or whether you can return to school.
We CANNOT tell you who has had the positive test, and we would really appreciate you not speculating on social media, as this can cause worry and anxiety to others. If you do have any worries about a positive test result at school, please call or email us so we can get back to you ASAP.
Dear Parents and Carers
I am writing with an update regarding how school life is continuing throughout the COVID 19 pandemic, and how we are working to provide the very best, safe education for your children.
Pupils and staff are maintaining a positive approach to school and learning and there has been a real sense of community spirit. We do appreciate that this is not an ideal situation for anyone but all of our community is pulling together to do the best we can. We are very proud of the whole Thomas Whitehead CE Academy family.
As I am sure you are aware, the number of cases of coronavirus are increasing across the country and we have been made aware of schools in our local area that have had to close parts of the school as a result of a confirmed case. We are fortunate that we have not yet been in this position, however, that does not mean that we will not be faced with a similar dilemma in the future.
I thought it would be helpful to outline how we are keeping your child safe and what we would do in the event of a case in our school, so you understand our decision making structures and the support we have available to us.
Firstly, all state schools have clear guidance given to them from the Department for Education (DfE) and Public Health. As you would expect, we follow this completely. You may know that our school is part of the Diocese of St Albans Multi Academy Trust (DSAMAT). All headteachers in our Trust talk together each week to ensure that we are absolutely up to date with guidance and discuss our processes to ensure that we are following the very best practice. We all have robust risk assessments in place to help prevent outbreaks and minimise disruption. These have been written by each school and approved by governors and the Trust.
Should there be a case in our community, the DfE and Public Health also provide a seven day advice line for any schools to guide them through next steps, identifying who needs to isolate and which parts of the school should continue to run. This provides personalised guidance to each school, using information about the number of people with a diagnosis, the layout of the school, the contact had with the positive case, the timings of attendance/diagnosis etc. Whilst we are experts in education, we are not experts in COVID 19 or virology. Therefore as a state school, we are expected to follow the helpline’s guidance about who must isolate. We will always follow the instructions given to us, in order to ensure that we do get the right balance between keeping our students and community safe, and ensuring that our students have an education that enables them to thrive in the longer term. As you would expect, this guidance is very personalised to each school and the number of cases, and is based on exposure to the virus.
If a case were confirmed in our community we would follow their guidance, and write to any affected / impacted families. We would never be able to name the person that received a positive diagnosis, owing to medical confidentiality, but we would make sure you were aware of any relevant contact with them and the specific guidance given to us by the DfE / Public Health advice line.
We have been developing our approach to online and remote learning, so that we will be ready to support you in the event of any disruption to education. We are committed to your child’s education and long term future, so we are well prepared to support them if ever a case affects direct delivery of learning.
These are difficult times, but I hope that explaining our processes and support does provide the reassurance that we are doing everything we can to keep your children safe and to ensure that their learning continues. If you have any general concerns about education and COVID, the DfE provides a support line for parents and carers to answer key questions about education and learning.
Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline
The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline is available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline by calling:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Clearly, if your child is ill and you are concerned about them, please do contact your medical practice or 111 for medical guidance.
Finally, we would like to thank you for your ongoing support to me and the wider staff team. These are difficult times for us all, and your ongoing positivity and support makes a huge difference to us – thank you.
Diocese of St Albans Multi-Academy Trust (DSAMAT)
Coughs and Temperatures
As per government guidelines, we will have to send children home if they are showing ‘symptoms’ of Covid 19.
or Primary age children, who can’t determine if they’ve lost their sense of taste and smell, the only indicators we can use are:
- Temperature (37.8 or greater)
- New and continuous cough
We understand that children pick-up different bugs and viruses this time of year which can also present with these symptoms and although it’s tempting to say ‘it's probably only…’ we simply cannot make these assumptions or take this risk. If we did, we could be keeping Coronavirus in the school and nobody wants that!
Therefore, as a reminder, if any child displays either of these symptoms, we are duty bound to contact you and request your child be collected for self-isolation and booked in for a test. I know it’s a major inconvenience because many of you have only just gone back to work, and I do sympathise, but it is unavoidable.
The children can return to school when a negative result is confirmed.
Please note that if a child is sent home to isolate then their siblings and the whole family have to isolate as well until the test result is confirmed as negative.
Please see below a link to a World Health Organisation video that may be of interest which details the correct usage and benefits of using a mask
Government Guidance and Publications
Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday
This includes our latest update to the guidance for parents and carers on what they need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term.