Dear Parents/ Carers,
With the first week of Spring Term under our belts we are glad to now be settling into a new routine, offering in-school provision for our vulnerable children and those from our key worker families whilst providing remote teaching to all our pupils at home. We have been able to reach this point thanks to the tireless efforts of staff in preparing and adapting our systems whilst also adapting to ever-changing circumstances.
What is clear from this week, however, is that the number of pupils eligible to attend school under the critical worker provision is much higher than during the first lockdown. This has been widely reported in the media and has been recognised by the government. We therefore need to ensure that we can accommodate those most in need whilst recognising that we must continue to do everything that we can to keep staff and pupils as safe as possible in school in light of worrying recent Coronavirus developments.
As I am sure you will understand, running a dual system of educating and supervising children in school whilst providing remote learning to those children at home places an additional logistical staffing burden on the school as teachers are deployed to remote learning whilst still being required in the classrooms for those being educated in school. The extremely rapid rate of transmission of the virus at the moment means that we must do everything we can to protect our school community: pupils, parents and staff alike.
The guidance from the Department for Education has been updated in the last 48 hours reiterating that whilst children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school if required, they should do all they can to keep their children at home if possible, i.e. they are working from home.
Sending children into school for education purposes is not supporting the national directive or the fight against covid.
For our part, we must stress that places in school for critical worker children are finite and we ask that you only take up a place if absolutely necessary. As a community we must ensure that there is space for our healthcare workers’ children and other vital roles that are actively helping to fight the pandemic. Many of our critical workers, particularly hospital and frontline medical staff, will be working additional hours and covering multiple shifts and we want to ensure that we prioritise those with the most urgent need.
Accordingly, we are now asking you to review your needs and only send your child to school if it is absolutely necessary to carry out your critical worker role. It is our desire is to accommodate parents’ needs as far as possible whilst keeping children and staff in school safe but, just like other schools, we are balancing difficult priorities. While we have carried out all the required risk assessments and put the relevant procedures in place to keep school safe, we recognise that primary children in particular find it very difficult, if not impossible, to maintain social distancing. For this reason, if we can find ways to reduce the number of children in school on any day, this would reduce even further the risk of spreading infection.
Please take some time this week to review your own situation and consider where you can reduce your need. Please send any updates to us as soon as possible via firstname.lastname@example.org to enable us to plan for the weeks ahead.
Thank you in advance for your help and support in this matter.