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December 2020 - Covid 19 Update

RE: Coronavirus: End of term planning for schools

On Tuesday afternoon (8th December), the DfE updated its Coronavirus guidance to schools. The updated guidance is about end of term planning and arrangements schools need to make in order to support NHS contact tracing services during the holiday.

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Public Health England has confirmed a 6 day window after the  final day of teaching in which schools can be contacted to assist with  contact tracing where necessary. This is intended to allow any positive  coronavirus cases to be identified and for any contacts within the  school community to be traced. After the 6 day window, schools will not  play a part in this process and there is further advice about what to do  if a family member tests positive after the end of term later in this  letter.

The DfE has advised schools to consider adjusting the end  of term dates so that pupils and most staff are not in school on Friday  18th December. This is because if the last teaching day is on Thursday 17th December, there should be no pupil contact tracing requests to schools beyond Wednesday 23rd December. We are also very aware that between the 23rd and 27th December, many families will be coming together in accordance with  government guidance and we all wish to minimise any possible disruptions  to families during this important time.

Therefore, we have decided to bring forward the end of term for pupils by 1 day to Thursday 17th December. Friday 18th December will become an INSET day and although a small number of staff  will be in school, the majority of staff will complete online INSET  activities on that day. Term 3 will begin as scheduled on the 4th January.

This  means that one of our remaining INSET days this academic year, will be  designated a normal teaching day, so that no additional learning time is  lost during the year. We will confirm to parents and carers which of  the scheduled INSET days will be cancelled in the New Year.

We  understand that for many families, bringing forward the end of term by 1  day will be welcomed. We also realise that for some, this may be  difficult and we would like to apologise for the short notice we have  been able to provide. Unfortunately we have had to make a number of  arrangements prior to writing to you, but we have tried to share this  information as quickly as possible.  By giving regard to the advice from  the DfE, we believe that overall we are acting in the best interest of  the majority of our children and their families.

We will be making alternative arrangements in school to provide Christmas dinner on Thursday 17th  which will be the last day of term. Pupils will leave school at the usual time on this day.

The  DfE have also asked schools to ensure parents, carers and staff are  aware of the following information and arrangements regarding positive  test results over the holiday:

  • Where a pupil or staff member tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), having developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being in school,  the school should not be contacted. Parents and carers should follow  contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace. For pupils  and most staff this means if symptoms develop on or after Sunday 19th December.
  • For the first 6 days after teaching ends, if a pupil or staff member tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), having developed symptoms within 48 hours of being in school,  the school is asked to assist in identifying close contacts and  advising self-isolation, as the individual may have been infectious  whilst in school.
  • School staff are not asked to remain on-call  or conduct any contact tracing more than 6 days after the final day of  teaching. Where a schools last teaching day is on Thursday 17th  December, there should be no pupil contact tracing requests beyond Wednesday 23rd  December.
  • Where  a pupil is required to self-isolate due to contact with a positive case  after the first 6 days following the end of term, schools do not need  to be informed about their absence until the first day of the new term  (Monday 4th January).

Thank you very much for  your continued support and understanding. We have written to you many  times this year about the actions we have had to take in response to DfE  guidance in order to keep everyone as safe as possible. It has been a  challenging year for many people and we hope that everyone has an  opportunity to spend time with family and to rest during the coming  holiday. We will of course write to you again if additional advice or  information is made available.

With kind regards

Amanda Jagot

(Head of School)