Updated Guidance for Returning to School - 4 January 2022
Dear Parents, Carers, Children and Staff,
I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year. Let’s hope that 2022 is filled with more love, happiness, enchantment, and contentment.
I know that it can sometimes feel a little difficult to be optimistic when we continue to be presented with so much pessimism in the news. I am also aware that many of you will have personal challenges of your own to cope with, and this can seem quite daunting and create huge anxiety. As a school we are here to listen and to help. Taking time to listen and be with others, to focus on the good things in life are so important!
As you all make plans for the return to school from Tuesday, I would like to share updated guidance with you on our response and management of COVID-19:
Testing for Staff
All Staff are strongly urged to take an LFD test either the evening before or morning of their return to school. These results should be logged with school. This also applies to staff members who have tested positive within the last 90 days.
Since 22 Dec the self-isolation period has been reduced from 10 days to 7 days, in most circumstances, unless LFD (Lateral Flow Device) testing cannot be completed for any reason.
LFD tests can be taken on day 6 and 24 hours later on day 7. If both results are negative then the child/adult may return to school on day 8, provided they do not still have a high temperature. If you do not receive negative results you must continue to isolate for the full 10-day period.
Daily Testing and Close Contacts
People who are fully vaccinated or children and young people between the age of 5 years and 18 years and 6 months identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 should take an LFD test for every day of the close contacts 7 day self-isolation period and continue to attend school as normal unless they have a positive test result or develop symptoms (as these symptoms keep changing we anticipate that if you have any coughs, colds, headaches, general aches and pains you veer on caution and book a PCR test).
Children under 5 years are not advised to take part in the daily testing of close contacts. If a contact of a confirmed case, they are not required to self-isolate and should not start daily testing.
Anyone who lives in a house with someone with COVID-19 should limit contact with anyone who is at a higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19 and arrange a PCR as soon as possible (this includes children under the age of 5 years). They can continue to attend school whilst awaiting the result.
The government recommends all staff take up the offer of a vaccine. Where applicable, more information is available in Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccines. If a staff member chooses not to get vaccinated, they will need to self-isolate if identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
We request that parents/carers wear a face covering at drop off and pick up and when entering the building. Staff will also be required to wear a face covering at these times.
Our staff will continue to operate safe working practices as best they can and maintain 1 metre distancing from their colleagues, as is practicable, when working together. Government guidance states that staff should wear a face covering in communal areas. As most of our staff work across rooms, and are not required to wear a face covering in the room, this will be at the discretion of the individual staff member.
Contingency Planning to Keep Nursery Open
In line with government guidance, we will continue to do our very best to keep the schools open and operational. In light of high rates of COVID-19 across the country we are aware that this may affect staffing availability and we may have to be more flexible in our approach. We will take the following steps in the event of staff absence:
Step 1 - We will continue to use existing staff to manage staff absence as best as we can, maintaining appropriate support for SEND pupils.
Step 2 – We will continue to manage staff absence using supply staff if available
Step 3 – We will combine rooms to ensure appropriate ratios are observed
Step 4 – Priority will be given to vulnerable and key worker children
Step 5 – Room closed until staffing ratios can be maintained once again
Step 6 – School closed (last resort)
Steps 4 to 6 will not be taken lightly and will be taken following conversations with the full agreement of the governing body, public health and the local authority.
There is no requirement for nursery to provide remote education to children aged 2-4 years as we do not anticipate that children will be directed to sit at a computer. There can be no replacement for children actively learning through play. Please contact school if you require support, alternatively do visit our website and the DfE have provided the following link for parents: Government guidance on learning at home
Finally, I look forward to seeing you, however, do request that you take a cautionary approach when returning to school and should you exhibit any cold/flu like symptoms you book a PCR and remain at home until well enough to return.