Although the school is closing at the end of today to ensure social distancing preventing the spread of Coronavirus, you will be aware that the government stated that schools would be open to provide childcare for the children of key workers. In the early hours of this morning, we received guidance of exactly who ‘key workers’ are. I have included details taken from the guidance – the list is quite extensive. I must stress that guidance states very clearly that the safest place for your children to be is at home and if they can be cared for at home then they should be. Please take a common sense approach to this, as bringing your children back together in this way should be a last resort.
If a parent is at home or working from home, then the children should be at home.
Please follow these key principles:
• If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
• If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then childcare provision will be available for them.
• Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category (such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions or over 70 years of age).
• Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
It is important that you contact the school if you feel you have no alternative but to send your child to school – please phone or email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible expressing your interest. You will then need to follow the flow chart provided and return your slip via email by 5.00pm . You will need to indicate clearly your job title and confirm that you have spoken with your employer about the possibilities of flexible working, based on your business continuity arrangements. You will also be asked to give a clear indication of the sessions you will need for your children – childcare will be provided by school staff between usual school opening and closing times. The Early Years Learning Alliance are also making decisions about the provision they can offer so await correspondence from them regarding this.
We have received information from the Local Authority indicating that schools may be asked to join forces to provide childcare hubs. Please bear in mind that following their instruction, once numbers of children are known, your child may be directed to attend a childcare setting that is at another school. Further information will be given as and when we know.
Parents should only request a place at school if their child cannot be cared for safely elsewhere. We are going to be able to provide more support, for a longer period of time, the fewer children we have in school over the longer term because staffing levels within school will inevitably fluctuate due to illness and the need to self-isolate. Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education, suggested that no more than 10% of our school’s usual number of children should be at school in order to help with social distancing and to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus which means that it may become necessary for us to prioritise cases in order to keep everybody as safe as possible.
We will need your request for childcare as soon as possible so that we can make arrangements and organise staffing. Mrs Selby has generously offered to provide school meals for children who are here and request it – please indicate this in your email. Due to the very tight timescale involved and the guidance only being received in the early hours of the morning it may mean that the childcare we provide on Monday morning may not be the solution we offer in the following weeks. The Local Authority and other local schools may need more time to organise this provision.
I know this is an awful lot of information to read and take in and as ever, if you have any questions, please call and we will see if we can answer them!
The forms for completion have been sent via email.