COVID-19: school attendance if you absolutely need to attend
The Coronavirus outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation. It calls for decisive action of the kind not normally seen in peacetime. This is why Central and Local Government together with schools are doing everything we can to tackle the pandemic and mitigate its impact. Communities across the country will need to come together to help. The overriding objective is to save lives, protect the vulnerable and support the NHS so it can help those who need it the most.
The Government is asking parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, but they are also asking schools to remain open for those children who absolutely need to attend.
It is important to underline that schools remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society. We are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
The national rules on self-isolation for those with symptoms or those who fall into a vulnerable health category apply to education staff as well as to pupils so we are aware that schools will not have their usual compliment of staff available. We are endeavouring to meet these challenges in the best possible way and they are having to incorporate the changing information, advice and guidance that is coming from central government as quickly as possible.
If your child[ren] can be kept at home to protect them from the virus please do so.
Please, therefore, 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 educational 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;
- Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. This includes using multiple settings for child care.
Parents should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response and one of the critical sectors listed above, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for school-setting provision. Please remember, the school setting is the final option for care, not the first.
These actions are to protect and safeguard everyone, socially distancing ourselves from the harmful virus and a means to reduce its spread. It’s vital we comply with these instructions given to us by the Prime Minster for the safety and protection of everyone.
These are difficult times for all of us and working together to keep people and children safe is our priority. The situation is changing by the hour and whilst the staff at our school will do all they possibly can to make available provision for targeted groups, it may not be safe to accommodate every key worker’s child or children in coming days as between now and then it is likely that more school staff will need to self-isolate and/or may become ill. Please be prepared to support your school community by ensuring the most critical key workers on the coming days are able to work and these groups are likely to be those in the medical or social care professions and those delivering food.