Please find below the most recent letter sent to parents regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please continue to check your schoolcomms emails and app for any communication from school as it is vital that the most recent information is read, as with each new release of guidance from the government, changes may be made. Please contact school if you would like to discuss matters further.
31st August 2021
Dear Parents and Carers,
The staff at Berkswich are looking forward to welcoming the children back to school on Thursday 2nd September.
The safety of everyone in the school community continues to be our priority; although there has been an easing of coronavirus restrictions we will retain a number of our protocols in order to minimise the risk of infection. Our whole school COVID-19 Risk Assessment and Outbreak Management Plan will be shared with parents, these documents detail the preventative measures and actions we will take in the event of an outbreak.
We will continue to follow guidance from the DFE and PHE, including the Contingency Framework which provides the guiding principles in the event that five children / staff or 10% of children / staff, who are likely to have mixed closely, test positive for COVID-19 within a 10-day period.
The DFE’s overarching objective is to maximise the number of children and young people in face-to face education or childcare and to minimise any disruption. We will continue to provide remote learning in the event that a child / children are required by NHS Test and Trace to isolate.
What has changed - COVID-19 protocols
Bubbles: The Government no longer recommends that pupils be kept in consistent year group bubbles, so there will be some mixing between year groups (e.g. Cedars, lunch times and collective worship in the hall which will be in smaller groups etc). However, we are keen to minimise mixing as far as possible, to reduce the risk of infection.
Social Distancing: While there has never been a requirement for social distancing between primary school children, we will continue to make use of the space available to us to minimise contact where possible. Where we have put one-way systems in place, they will continue. This includes the one way system in and out of the school grounds (exit via the pathway).
Tracing Close Contacts and Isolation: Close contacts are now identified by NHS Test and Trace, education settings are no longer expected to undertake contact tracing. As with positive cases in any other setting, NHS Test and Trace will work with the positive case and/or their parent to identify close contacts.
Individuals are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and any of the following apply:
- they are fully vaccinated
- they are below the age of 18 years and 6 months
- they have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
- they are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
Instead, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. We encourage all individuals to take a PCR test if advised to do so. Staff and children who have been informed they do not need to isolate should continue to attend school as normal.
Face coverings: Face coverings are no longer advised for staff or visitors; however where spaces are confined and staff meet others who they do not normally mix with, face coverings can be worn.
Protocols that will remain in place
COVID-19 symptoms: If a pupil develops symptoms of COVID-19 during the day, they will be isolated immediately and parents / carers will be contacted to collect them. A PCR test should be booked and the child should isolate at home until the result of the PCR test is known.
Children SHOULD NOT attend school under the following circumstances:
1. They are unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms (headache, aches and pains), a continuous cough, difficulty breathing, a high temperature or a loss of/change in normal sense of taste or smell.
2. Pupils who are self-isolating because they have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
3. Pupils who are self-isolating because they are awaiting the results of a PCR test.
4. Pupils who have been required by NHS Test & Trace to isolate, due to specific circumstances.
Good hand and respiratory hygiene: Children will wash / sanitise their hands on entry to school and frequently throughout the day. Hand washing is an embedded part of the school routine. Children will continue to be taught about good respiratory hygiene including the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
Enhanced Cleaning: High touch points and communal areas will continue to be cleaned throughout the day, we are continuing to employ our lunchtime cleaner in addition to our regular cleaning service.
Maximum ventilation: Windows and doors will be open to promote good air flow and outdoor learning will be maximised. During the Autumn Term the government will provide schools with CO2 monitors to ensure ventilation is sufficient and to identify areas where improved ventilation is required.
Asymptomatic Testing: Staff will continue to carry out twice-weekly asymptomatic testing using LFD tests. If parents and carers wish to take part in asymptomatic testing at home, please follow the advice at this link: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
Advice for parents and carers
What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) This was last updated on the 17th August and sent to parents on the 21st August.
We look forward to seeing you on the 2nd September.