I will write my end of term bulletin next week, but I wanted to write to you today to go over some points for the final week. We have decided as a school to remain open on Friday 18th December. The Department for Education allowed schools to move INSET days to mean the school could close on Friday, however, we thought it was unfair to change arrangements at such short notice. Please be aware that we have our last INSET training day of this academic year on Friday 8th January and school will be closed on that day.
End of Term Procedures
As usual on the last day of term, students will have an early lunch and be dismissed at 1pm; buses have been amended accordingly and will depart school at 1.05pm. Remember, this last Friday is our Christmas Jumper Day and we look forward to seeing our students decked out in their festive jumpers!
As you will be aware, although we were extremely fortunate in the first half term having no cases whatsoever, we have had a number of cases in the last fortnight. In particular, we have had a number of cases in Year 10 which has meant that a large number of Year 10 students have had to isolate. However, Public Health England are happy with our procedures and the Year 10 bubble is still open.
The impact of isolation is particularly problematic with Christmas approaching. I would like to continue to ask parents to keep your children at home if they display any symptoms whatsoever. As you are all aware by now, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- a recent onset of a new continuous cough and/or
- a high temperature and/or
- a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia).
If your child, or anyone in your household, develops these symptoms, your whole household must remain at home and not go to work, school or public areas. You should arrange testing for the person who has developed symptoms. Can I remind parents that if anyone in your household is having a test then they must isolate until the test result comes back. When the result is known further advice will be available. Please note that Public Health England advice is that only people showing symptoms should be tested and that a negative test result will not reduce the period of self-isolation.
Covid reporting over Christmas
As outlined in the government guidance, senior staff will now be on call to deal with track and trace up to noon on Thursday 24 December. If your child tests positive for COVID-19 the same processes apply with regards to the information we need and how to get in touch with us up until this time – please email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You should only get in touch with us if:
a) your child developed symptoms within 48 hours of being in school and
b) they receive a positive test result up to noon on Thursday 24 December
In all other situations over the holidays, parents should get in touch directly with NHS Test and Trace.
If your son or daughter does receive a positive COVID-19 test in the first six days of the school holidays please contact the school immediately on email@example.com and provide the following information:
- Name of child
- Class/year group
- Date of the COVID-19 test
- Does the child have symptoms? Yes or No
- What date did the symptoms start?
- What date did the child last attend school?
- A contact phone number
It is very important that you provide this information so we can identify any close contacts that your son or daughter may have had in school during their infectious period. The school will then follow up close contacts and request that they isolate for 10 days to prevent further transmission of COVID-19. Please note that you should also report any close contacts that your child has had outside the school setting through NHS Test and Trace.
New guidance for Isolating Students
You may have seen the announcement today of the change of self-isolation guidance from Monday 14th December. The Chief Medical Officer has released this statement today
What this means for your child is the following:
- Any close contacts identified from Monday 14th December onwards will only have to complete 10 days of self-isolation
- Any close contacts who are currently self-isolating and will have completed 10 days of isolation by Monday 14th will be able to stop isolating and return to school immediately. For example, those students who are due to return on the 16th,17th and 18th December can now return on Monday 14th December.
- Anyone identified as a close contact up to and including Sunday 13th December who has not yet completed 10 days of isolation will be able to stop isolating after 10 days of isolation and return to school. For example, those students who were told to isolate until Friday 18tth December, can now return on Tuesday 15th December.
Free School Meal provision
North Tyneside Council is administering a Winter Hardship Fund for families who are eligible for Free School Meals. This is not administered by the school. It equates to a £60 grant which covers the period from January to March. If your child is entitled to FSM’s then you will receive a text from the school asking you to ensure we have the correct email address for you. Next week you will be emailed a letter from North Tyneside Council explaining the process. NTC have an allocated administrator to deal with all Winter Hardship Fund queries and their details will be in the letter you receive. As the school will be closed after Friday all queries should be sent to NTC. All vouchers will be emailed out before the end of next week.