I hope you are well and did manage to have a break over half-term.
We are now in a second national lockdown and I am sure this is not easy for you and your families. We live in the most complex, difficult period of time and it creates considerable anxiety across our community and the UK as a whole.
Our schools are all fully open and staffed following half-term and we remain fully operational with all our systems in place to ensure we keep children, students and staff safe and well. All parents are expected to send their children to school even under this lockdown.
One of our frustrations at the moment is having to close bubbles, particularly in our secondary schools because we are having students come into school with symptoms who then test positive, or where students are being sent to school when family members are awaiting tests which are then positive. We have had a few cases where both parents tested positive and then sent their children into school. In all these cases the Health Protection Hub direct us to close bubbles to prevent the spread of the virus, which is absolutely the right thing to do but we want to avoid this if at all possible.
I must insist that parents do not send their child to school if:
- Anyone in the family home is unwell or showing symptoms of Covid-19, we are seeing students with what seem like normal winter coughs and colds test positive.
- An individual in the family home is awaiting a test result
- Any individual in the family home has tested positive
If you have any concerns or you are unsure as to what you should do, please contact your child’s school for advice, we have real expertise in this area now and can help you to make the right decision. You can also contact NHS 111 helpline and this is available in the evenings and weekends when school is closed.
Test results are now coming back in 24-48 hours, if all is well your child can return to school. If all parents follow this procedure, then we have a far better chance of keeping the majority of young people in school. I know parents are getting increasingly concerned by repeated closure of certain year groups, but the information we are receiving is that the virus is being brought into school from the community. We need to make every effort to prevent this from happening and keep as many children as possible in education.
We already implemented the use of face masks by all secondary students, in corridors and community areas, before half-term and all staff have been wearing masks and visors for weeks in school. In our primary schools we ask all parents to wear masks when dropping off and collecting as well as following the one way and drop off systems. This is now working really well and thank you to all parents for supporting this.
We need to maintain normal school life for all our children and young people at a time of significant disruption in their lives, that is what we are desperate to do. The only way we can do this is if all parents follow my advice and support our schools. If we all do what is expected of us then we will get through this far more quickly, reduce the spread of the virus, and drive the infection rate down in our community.
Thank you for your support.
Dr. Gill Eatough