Returning to school - Spring Term
I hope all of you and your families have managed to have a good Christmas and are keeping safe and well during this time. May I wish all members of the school community who are unwell at this time, a speedy recovery and my heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to any families who have suffered bereavements.
I am sure we are all heartened by the uplifting news of new vaccinations being rolled out and the remarkable job scientists have done over the last year. The medium and the long term future certainly looks more optimistic, however, in the short term the severity of the pandemic continue to be deeply concerning. The very high infection rates and the alarm at the ability of the new variant strain of the virus to spread more quickly and easily, has led the government to direct that many primary school children (including in Essex) will have to revert to learning at home for the time being. This includes the children of our school. The current pressure on health and support services in Essex is severe so the measures have been directed by government as a regrettable, but necessary, step in order to keep families as safe as possible.
Review by Government: The government will review the situation every 2 weeks, the first point being 18th January.
Home Learning: Our well organised home / online learning will be in place from Monday 4th January and the work will be found in the usual place under each class page. In line with policy, the work will include some online content, eg White Rose Maths Lessons and some activities that can be completed offline in order to try and ease the pressure on technical resources or internet access problems in the home. This will also ensure inclusion and certainty for all to start the term and the online learning will evolve as we move forward.
Contact with Staff: Contact with school is, as usual, through the class teacher. From 4th January 2021 contact can be made with the teacher through the class email address that you used in the previous lockdown period eg Year4@beehivelane.essex.sch.uk. The address will be clarified on the class page where the school work is found. The phone call contacts will be resumed. Any requests for phone contact with the teacher can be made via the class email or to firstname.lastname@example.org
Access to Technology: During previous lockdown and class and individual isolations, we have loaned school laptops for home use to help families that are without technical facilities in the home. We have a limited supply but are of course delighted to help as much as we can. Please contact the school on email@example.com or the class email address or 01245 269464 (school hours) if we can help in anyway with this.
Attendance for Children of Critical Workers and Vulnerable children: As in the previous lockdown, the government has directed that vulnerable children and the children of critical workers can have access to provision in school. ‘Critical Workers’ are defined as: Parents whose work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors outlined by the government in the following link:
Please contact us with details of your particular critical employment and the days of the week your child will need to attend school on firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you are able. Thank you. The first possible day of attendance for children of critical workers will be Tuesday 5 th January as Monday 4th has been designated by the government as an online learning day for all children. Telephone contact with critical worker parents will be made on Monday 4th January. The school day for children of critical workers will be 8:45am until 3:15pm. If you are a critical worker able to make provision at home for home learning, you may of course prefer that option on the grounds of safety as attendance in school is not mandatory.
If there are particularly low numbers of children of critical workers, they may be in eg EYFS / KS1, Lower KS2 and Upper KS2 groups in school to ensure none of the children are on their own and to ensure that teachers are still available to provide learning in the home and contact for the majority of the children.
Free School Meal Vouchers: These will be organised by the school office for those entitled from next week.
Risk Assessments: The provisions of our school COVID risk assessment and procedures are constantly reviewed. One main change for Spring Term: All parents / carers on site to please wear either a face mask, covering or visor. Even though we are relatively blessed with a large amount of space for outside waiting and transit, in light of the high ‘transmissibility’ rate of new strain of virus, it would be wise to do so. Any parent / carer who on medical grounds is unable to wear a mask, will of course be exempt from this requirement. In line with Department of Education guidelines, primary age children are not required to wear masks in school and primary staff do not generally wear face coverings but may do so in certain circumstances such as when administering intimate care, first aid or close quarters working as appropriate.
We are all, of course, desperately disappointed not to be welcoming back all the children into school and hope it will not be too long before we see them all again. Our lovely art week that we usually have in the first week in January, will be postponed until we are able to all enjoy it together. Teachers will of course be in contact regularly and any can answer concerns, worries or any questions you may have. The situation is very fluid and subject to government, Essex Education and Public Health regulations and guidance which are ongoing as I write and we will keep you informed with any important information in due course.
Please take care and stay safe
Paul Sully (Headteacher)