Dear parents / carers,
I thought it might be useful to give you an insight into what will happen under the current guidance, if a child or a member of staff tests positive. As you will know, we recently had a positive case in Year 6. Fortunately there have been no more positive tests since. But it is inevitable that it will happen in all schools. Having now experienced the process, I thought explaining the steps to you all would be useful.
What happens if a child, a member of staff or someone in a household has symptoms?
If someone has symptoms, we ask that we are informed straight away, even if it is a family member and not a child who goes to our school. That person’s household must self isolate and anyone with symptoms must get a test. At that point no-one else in school is sent home, as per the advice of Public Health England (PHE). This is because the symptoms can be due to many things other than Covid 19. Lots of children will get a cough or a temperature at this time of year and it will not be Covid 19. But it is essential to get a test to rule it out. We have had many, many children and some staff who have had to isolate for a period of time while waiting for test results.
What happens if a member of a household tests positive?
Other members of that household need to isolate for 14 days from the onset of symptoms. But there is no impact on other children or staff in school.
What happens if a member of staff or a child tests positive?
As a school we have to contact PHE before we are allowed to do anything else.
Who makes the decision about who might need to be sent home?
No decision is made by school. No school ever wants to have to send children home. Any decisions are made together with PHE, following their detailed advice and consideration of many circumstances. The decision to send any children and staff home or to send no-one home, is made after these lengthy discussions.
In most cases, it is currently a whole year group bubble that is being sent home in primary schools, rather than just a small number of individuals. This is because there are times throughout the school day in every single school, when children will not just be next to one or two children, but alongside others in their year group, for example when playing.
There may also be times that no-one is sent home. This could happen if someone tests positive but has been off school for a period of days before receiving a positive test.
But all decisions are made with PHE.
What will happen if my child’s bubble has to isolate?
You will receive a text telling you that there has been a positive test and informing you that you need to come and collect your child as soon as possible, not at the end of the school day. You will receive an electronic letter from PHE with some detailed information on. This will tell you how long your child has to isolate for. Your child MUST NOT leave the house while they have to isolate. But the rest of the household does not need to isolate. Your child does not need to get a test unless they develop symptoms. If this does occur, please let school know as soon as possible.
How long will my child have to isolate for?
This will depend on when the person who tested positive was last in school. Your child will have to isolate for up to 14 days. It could be for slightly less than 14 days if the person who has tested positive has been absent immediately prior to the test result, or if the result has come through over a weekend. But it is the decision of PHE how long any isolation is for.
Will my child receive work?
All children will have work set for them if their bubble closes. In most cases this will be via Google classroom, Seesaw or Tapestry (EYFS). Children are expected to complete work each day and it will be marked online each day.
Will the work be the same as during lockdown?
We are currently reviewing our remote learning approach, this was something we had planned to do before the end of September. We will update you if there are any significant changes.
Does my child have to complete the work?
Covid 19 appears to be here to stay. We all need to find a long term approach to managing the challenges it is going to bring us all, including our own staff and their own families. If your child does not complete the remote learning that they are set, then they will fall behind. Whilst juggling work and home learning is difficult for us all, our staff included completing the work set is vital for your child’s ongoing education.
How will we keep in touch with you?
Your child’s teacher will keep in touch with you and your child via Google classroom. Seesaw and via email. Your child can email them any time for advice.
Will we get any calls home?
During any bubble isolations your child’s teacher will ring you at the end of the first week to see how things are going. Pending on the length of the isolation, your child’s teacher may also ring again the following week. If you would like a call more regularly, then you can request that either during the first call or via email.
What if you or your child need any help or advice?
We will be here and available to try and help. You will be able to contact staff on the year group emails. They will also be able to give you and your child a call if needed. Myself and Mrs Miller are also available.
Staff absence and isolation
It is clear that the months ahead are going to be challenging for us all. There may be times that one of your children is isolating at home and the others may be in school. But there will also be times when your child’s teacher has to isolate at home without warning, due to someone in their household having symptoms. We had 10 members of staff off over the first two weeks. But we did our very best and managed. But that is the extent of the huge challenge we are facing in schools as we approach the winter months, with other winter bugs and absences to manage across school.
Please be patient with us. We are doing our best with the many difficult decisions we have to make. With no additional funding to manage Covid isolation absences and the immense challenges facing schools and families over the coming months, we will always try our best. But the reality is that this year will be different for us all.
It has been fantastic to have your children all back with us and overall, they are settling back in even better than we could have hoped.