Headteacher Update 18th September 2020

18/09/20

Dear Parent,

I hope you are well.

COVID-19 TESTING AND THE POSSIBLE IMPACT ON SCHOOLS

The news this week has been of the issues surrounding the availability of tests and the potential impact on keeping schools fully open. Whenever we have absent teachers in school we have some capacity to ensure that lessons are taken by cover supervisors or other teachers. There is always the possibility that at times a school will not have enough cover options available; thankfully we have never reached this point at Hartford. Currently staff attendance remains excellent but we are not now simply dealing with the potential absence of ill colleagues. We are having to consider illness absence and absence caused by the need for staff to self-isolate as others may be ill. Some schools nationally have already reached the point where the number of absent staff has meant they have had to close for a year group at a time as they do not have sufficient staff in school.

No school can discount this as a possibility and if we find ourselves in that position we will ensure that all students receive work via Google Classrooms and an increasing number of live lessons via Zoom whenever that is possible. This is how we are currently supporting self-isolating students.

REMINDER OF SYMPTOMS AND THE PROCESS

Please remember that we can pick up other ailments as well as Covid-19 although there should be fewer this year with all of the extra hygiene safeguards in place. A sore throat, sniffles and sneezing are much more likely to be symptoms of seasonal colds. This doesn’t mean that we are not ill but they are not symptoms of Covid-19.

At this time of such high demand it is crucial that only people who have COVID-19 symptoms book a testThese are:

·        a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

·        a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

·        a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

There is no need for members of a student’s household to have a test, unless they are also symptomatic. If your child tests positive they should self-isolate and stay off school for 10 days. If the test comes back negative they can return to school if they no longer have symptoms and have been fever free for 48hrs. Please do not attend A and E, other hospital facilities or GP Practices requesting a COVID test as they are not able to provide these.

You can arrange a test by visiting www.nhs.uk

While everyone is being told to stay at home, it can be hard to know what to do if you're unwell. For help from a GP – use your GP surgery's website, use an online service or app, or call the surgery.
www.nhs.uk

or calling 119. Please remember that if you have symptoms everyone in your household needs to self-isolate and this should continue until a negative test result is confirmed. Please remember that if you do not have symptoms you should not try to book a test – that will put more pressure on the testing system and make the scenario described above more likely.

 

THE SCHOOL DAY FROM MONDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER

From Monday the school day will end at 2.55PM. In a previous email I have explained the rationale for this. As you are aware we are keeping our systems under constant review and to improve congestion at the bus bay gates at the end of the day we will release Years 7 and 8 just before this time and Years 9 and 10 (and Year 11 on Friday) just after this time. We are very happy with arrival to school in the mornings as we open the school gates for students at 8AM and it is a more gradual process.

STUDENTS VISITING SHOPS ON THE WAY TO SCHOOL

Thank you so much to the overwhelming majority of parents who are supporting us in not allowing students to visit the shops on the way to school; it is greatly appreciated.

DROPPING ITEMS OFF FOR STUDENTS

Finally, a reminder about the times when we need to visit school because our children have forgotten something. I am an expert at this as my son forgot quite a lot in his first few months in Year 7 nine years ago. Firstly, please help to ensure that your child does not forget anything – we are trying to cut down the number of non-essential visitors to school; if you do need to drop something off let us know you are coming and please put the item in a plastic bag/container so that it can be sprayed before we pass it on. Similarly, all requests for meetings with staff need to be made by phone or email in the first instance.

I hope you are able to enjoy the weekend.

In Caritas et Veritas,

Mike Holland