Update from Mr McDonnell:
Dear Parents and Carers,
I have truly appreciated the support of parents and carers in keeping the whole school community as safe as possible at every step during this very challenging period. This letter only applies to the final week of term. I will write again shortly about arrangements for the start of next term in September.
I know that there is a mixture of concern and some excitement about moving into ‘Step 4’ of responding to the pandemic with a further easing of restrictions. We will continue to do our best to keep the students, families, staff, and staff families as safe as we can as we move towards the end of term.
Keeping school safe in the final week
In the final week of term, all three Hackney special schools will keep their ‘bubble’ systems in place to keep everybody as safe as possible and minimise the risk of virus spread among families. This means that if there is a positive case of coronavirus reported in the final week of term, we will ask close contacts to remain at home for the remainder of the week. This may affect whole classes as well as individuals, depending on the circumstances.
Moving to remote learning for contacts with a positive case
If somebody who has been in school later tests positive for coronavirus in your child’s class, we will contact you immediately to inform you. The affected classes and individuals will switch immediately to remote learning (work is already set via Teams) and cannot be in school. Teachers and support staff affected will switch to remote working.
I appreciate that his becomes especially difficult if we find this out during the day and students need to be collected, so ask that parents and carers continue to test their children twice weekly to reduce that risk.
Experience tells us that it is likely that the impact on staffing levels of a positive test result, and/or the uncertainty over staffing availability, would prevent us maintaining on-site learning for the affected bubble.
Please keep testing
In this final week, please test on Sunday and Wednesday to keep school safer for everybody, and let school know immediately of any positive result on email@example.com , even at the weekend or in the evening.
NHS Test and Trace
From Monday 19 July, NHS Test and Trace takes on the responsibility to decide who should self-isolate as result of possible contact with a positive case in schools. Schools in large parts of the country have already closed for the summer, but this presents a challenge for those schools still open.
Test and Trace making decisions about children having contact in school (but without talking to the school) is, as yet, untried and untested. It is unclear to me from the guidance whether they will talk to parents and carers about possible contacts their child has had, or ty to talk to the child themselves, with parental supervision.
Self-isolation vs. remote learning
When someone has to move to remote learning in the final week of term, this is NOT the same as being told to self-isolate. Remote learning would end on Friday 23 July. The legal responsibility for tracing school contacts and making decisions about self-isolation moves to NHS Test & Trace from Monday 19 July.
If my child has to move to remote learning in the last week of term, do they need to self-isolate?
- If your child tests positive or has coronavirus symptoms you will need to continue to follow NHS advice about 10-day self-isolation.
- If your child has had to move to remote learning in the final week of term, they will NOT need to self-isolate unless
- They develop coronavirus symptoms
- They test positive
- Anyone in your household, childcare or support bubble, either tests positive or has coronavirus symptoms
- You are contacted by NHS Test and Trace
What to do if your child is unwell
If your child is unwell, please keep them at home. If they have any of the coronavirus symptoms, they must self-isolate for 10 days along with the rest of the household.
Children can get coronavirus (COVID-19), but they seem to get it less often than adults and it's usually less serious.
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
- a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – this means they cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
What to do if your child has symptoms
If your child has any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, even if they're mild:
- Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if they have COVID-19 as soon as possible
- You, your child and anyone else you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get the test result – only leave your home to have the test.
Anyone in your childcare or support bubble should also stay at home if your child has been in close contact with them since their symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
Mr Kevin McDonnell
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