I do hope you and your families are well. Even though children have returned to schools we are still in lockdown and life is still challenging for all of us when we are unable to visit family and see friends. The statistics each week demonstrate an improving situation with infection rates and hospitalisations, but I know it still seems sometime before we will be able do the normal things we really want to do! The progress with vaccinations is fantastic and a real good news story.
I just wanted to give you an update on the progress we have made with our schools fully reopening this week. Attendance has been incredible at all schools with a very high percentage of children in school. The children and students are all delighted to be back and as I have been in schools this week there is a real “buzz” as you see them chatting, playing, and just enjoying being in school. The staff are also so pleased to be in the classroom with their groups and they just want to get on with finding out where they are and catching them up. Our pastoral teams have done a fantastic job supporting those that are anxious and struggling with the return.
For our Secondary schools, the focus has also been on testing which has been really well organised; we have completed the first and second LF test with the third to be completed by the middle of next week. We have identified a few asymptomatic cases and those children are self-isolating, this means we have not had to close bubbles because we avoided any close contacts. This demonstrates the testing is working even though it is massive task.
In Primary, children are not tested but parents can get Home Test kits if they have a concern and this if it shows a positive result this has to be followed by a PCR test. You will receive all the advice relating to this from Telford and Wrekin Test and Trace.
In Special schools, we are testing children and young people in school each week.
All our staff have Home Test kits and they are tested twice a week so we can really ensure staff can safely come to work.
It is so important that parents and carers keep children at home if they are unwell and have them tested. Test results are coming back quickly and if negative then your child can return the next day. We have had two cases where parents have sent children to school whilst awaiting test results which have been positive. We then have no choice but to close the bubble for 10 days and this not only impacts on the learning of all those children, but also means our staff have to self-isolate and this massively affects our staffing levels in school. It also puts our staff at risk having had contact with a positive case which we really want to avoid.
There is a lot to do but the first step has been achieved and the children are back in school. Thank you for sending them in! This demonstrates the confidence you have in us to do the
very best for them and keep them safe. School is still not “normal” with restrictions in place, but hopefully we will be able to relax some of our measures as the national and local picture steadily improves after the Easter holidays.
My best wishes to you and your family,
Dr Gill Eatough