03rd January 2022
Dear Parents / Carers,
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year period, and I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year.
The children return to school on Tuesday 4th January and we look forward to welcoming everyone back. However, on Sunday, schools were made aware of the latest government guidance around health and safety measures and contingencies to protect our staff and children whilst in school. Their main aim is to keep face to face learning operational and keep schools open for the wellbeing of all children. In order to make this happen we must work together to protect St Mary’s school community, its staff and yourself by considering the following actions:
- Where possible, children should complete an LFT test before returning on Tuesday. We know this won’t be possible for everyone, but if you do have test kits we urge these to be undertaken with your child regularly. Secondary schools are expected to operate a phased test and return timetable.
- Please stay away from the school if you or your child has symptoms.
Please follow our school procedures to minimise contamination.
- Only one parent should accompany their child(ren) to school.
- Parents must not enter the school grounds during the morning drop off. Parents must leave the site and school area immediately to reduce crowding.
- All adults should wear a mask when in and around the school site as this could be a serious hotspot for infection and a high contamination risk area.
- Please socially distance from one another at all times and do not attempt to enter the school building unless invited to do so.
- Please hand sanitise where and when possible and do not attempt to touch school equipment or objects.
- During main school collection, please enter through the main gate and exit through the two gates near the nursery school area. Reception year and nursery will operate their own system using their own entrance areas.
- Use the school intercom, school telephone number or the school email address if you need to speak with the office.
- Use the class email address if you need to get a message to the class teacher.
There have also been some government guidance changes to the approach to COVID infections and where there is a positive case in the household and where a child tests positive.
Positive Case in the Household
Where there is a positive case in the household a child does not need to isolate if they are doing daily LFTs. This means if there is a positive case in the household an LFT has to be done on the morning before the child attends school, if it is negative then they can come into school. If it is positive a PCR test needs to be booked immediately and the child needs to remain off school. If an LFT test is not carried out the child cannot attend school. This needs to be carried out each day during the 10-day period following a positive case in the household. Obviously if a child has any COVID symptoms they do need to get a PCR test carried out even if the LFT is negative.
No child should be brought to school by a parent or adult who is COVID positive as they need to be isolating at home and reduce the spread to staff and the community.
Child Tests Positive
When a child tests positive on a PCR test they need to isolate for 10 days. However, the isolation period can end early on the 7th day if an LFT test has been completed on Day 6 and 7 of the isolation, and both tests are negative - there does need to be 24 hours between the two tests. If they test negative on both tests, then please contact school who can advise when they can attend from.
If a positive test is returned or no LFT test is carried out the child must stay in isolation for the 10 days.
Booking a PCR Test
As always if a child has any of the key symptoms of COVID - high temperature, new and continuous cough, loss of taste and / or smell then a PCR test does need to be booked and the child should not be brought into school. If a member of the household has COVID symptoms then any child in that household must return a negative test that morning before being brought into school.
We would also recommend getting a PCR Test booked for other sinus / sore throat type symptoms, or at least carrying out an LFT. Some people are also suggesting this where diarrhoea is a symptom, we would at least encourage you to do an LFT in this situation.
Under the Guidance, school should continue to ventilate rooms. Winter means colder temperatures, therefore we would encourage you to send the children in with extra layers on and a hat.
We have reviewed our risk assessment in line with updated guidance. This will be available on the school website from Tuesday 4th January. As part of this we have ensured we maintain, and considered additional controls.
As always we take our responsibility for Health and Safety, and Safeguarding, very seriously and this does present us with many problems during an ongoing and ever evolving global pandemic. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those for their ongoing support, and the many positive messages we receive.
Should anyone require further clarification, or wish to discuss anything related to COVID, please do not hesitate to contact the school and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
We look forward to welcoming you all back tomorrow.
Mrs P. O’Brien