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Covid-19 update (17/03/2020)

Dear Parents and Carers,

We hope that this message finds you all well. These are difficult times for everyone and the situation is changing on an almost hourly basis: we anticipate that this state of flux will continue for some time yet. We hope that this information goes some way to explaining the situation for the school at this time. 

In line with current recommendations around coronavirus, we will be aiming to try to maintain as near to normal daily school function as we possibly can. However, there are likely to be some disruptions to normal routines. 

With all of this in mind, here are some of the challenges we are facing and actions that will be taken by the school until Easter.

 

 1.       Staff - Currently we have many staff self-isolating including some of our cleaning team. We are doing our best and working very hard behind the scenes to address each new challenge as it comes. If staff members have to self-isolate or take time at home with their own children, you might notice some changes to who is teaching within your child’s class. As with the whole population, this self-isolation will be for any incidence of high temperature or a cough. Please bear with us at this time, we will be doing our best to maintain education for your child in what are exceptional circumstances and unchartered times, whilst taking what sensible precautions we can.

 

2.       Good hygiene for all visitors to school – if you come into school to help, then you will be asked to wash your hands on entry to the building and maintain good hand hygiene throughout your visit. If you feel unwell, we ask that you don’t come into the building at this time. 

 

3.       Continued focus on handwashing - We will continue to insist on good hygiene practices within the school and appreciate that you are all ensuring this at home too.

 

4.       Minimising large gatherings – we will not be having whole school assemblies at this current time. However, the government has removed class size limits to enable schools to remain open for this crisis and this means classes have been and will continue to be put together when staffing is low. Our cleaning team is also reduced, so we have had to section parts of the school building off today so that we have fewer areas and these areas are cleaned well.

 

5.       New guidance for households with symptoms

Yesterday (16/03/2020) the Government introduced new guidance on whole household isolation in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

  • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started
  • if you live with others and you or another member of the household have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
  • for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.

The symptoms are:

  • A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
  • A new, continuous cough

The full stay at home guidance for households with these symptoms can be found here:

 

6.    Authorised/Unauthorised Absences - During this time, absences that are relating to ‘self-isolation’ will be authorised as being an exceptional circumstance in line with our guidance from the Local Authority’s Educational Welfare team. However, if your child is ‘self-isolating’ as they have symptoms consistent with Coronavirus, then you must ensure that they remain in your home for 14 days and we would not expect the children to be seen out and about during this time. All other absences will be dealt with in the usual way and you should contact the school giving the reason for their absence. Whilst the school is operational (unless your child is self-isolating due to suspected Coronavirus or they are ill in another way) all children should attend school.

 

7. Continued Education – Teachers have prepared for possible school closure and continued education but we were unprepared for the staggered situation that we currently have. In Nursery and Reception we will be using the ILD as before. In Year 1+ we will be using an APP called ClassDOJO to communicate with you and your child should have brought home details about this today.   Please sign up ASAP. For those in self isolation that require log in details you can collect the children's log in details from the school office, should you be unable to do this you can nominate someone to collect the information on your behalf, please email the school on admin@eastwichel.swindon.sch.uk giving details of your child/ren and who will be collecting the information. We will post anything that you are unable to collect ASAP.  Next week, as long as staff are well, we aim to update this daily and use it as a primary means of communication. We will continue to use the website as well but ClassDojo is a more flexible tool that enables us to do more. We are happy to provide paper based packs for pupils with limited access where we can again please contact the office should you need this.  

 

8. Mental well-being – Many of the children are talking on the playground and some are anxious. We reassure them whenever we can and address any misconceptions. Please follow this link. It has some helpful guidance on how to talk with children about this situation.  https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/ 

We are having increasing numbers of questions about this topic and the volume has been huge,  so it might not be possible currently to return all your calls. You can keep well-informed by regularly looking at  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public. This advice is updated on a daily basis and sometimes more than once a day. 

 

Despite the obvious anxieties that we are all feeling, the school remains focused on caring for; reassuring and educating your children at this challenging time. 

 

We wish you and your families all the best.

 

Kind regards,

Mrs Paula Phillips

Headteacher

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