Letter to Parents/Carers: 7th October 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,

Thank you for your continued support and patience during these difficult times.

I realise that you will be naturally concerned regarding the self-isolation of some pupils within school. I do hope to limit the number of times any year group or group of children have to self-isolate but I am sure that you understand that this may be out of my control. Each time we are informed of a positive case, we work with the DfE Covid-19 Response Team and the Local Education Response Team to identify any children or staff that could be close contacts. Our aim is always to keep as many children in school as possible whilst ensuring that all members of the school community remain safe. These decisions are not made lightly.

I ask that you keep a close eye on your children and do not send them into school if they are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19. This is to ensure the safety of the whole QEGS community. If you do decide for your child to have a Covid-19 test then please do not send them into school until the result of the test is known, even if they seem well.

If your child is self-isolating then please do email me via head@qegsblackburn.com as we are endeavouring to keep detailed records of who is isolating, and for what reason. The details that I need are:

  • Reason for isolating (whether they are isolating due to a member of the household or due to a close contact outside of the household/school)
  • What date the isolation period ends
  • Indication of whether or not the child is showing symptoms
  • If the child has had a COVID-19 test and if so, when.
  • Result of the child’s test as soon as they are received

Work is available through Google Classroom and Class Charts if your child is isolating. We endeavour to ensure that this work is available as soon as possible and that it matches the timetable as closely as possible. However, there may be a delay of up to 24 hours due to the turnaround time in teachers uploading work alongside teaching in school. Please ensure that your child looks at all their subjects each day for work even if they do not have a certain subject on that day. We are providing some live lessons but the quantity of these of these does depend on the workload of individual staff and how confident they feel in delivering these alongside their normal busy working days. You will find that there will be at least some recorded elements for all children in all subjects, over the 2-week timetable.

We are all looking forward to the half term break and ahead of this, I do need to bring to your attention the requirement to self-isolate if you are travelling abroad to certain countries. Please do think carefully about travelling as not only will your child’s absence due to travel be recorded as unauthorised, it may also be subject to a fine as the absence could have been avoided. Travelling may mean that your child misses valuable school time due to the self-isolation period and this will have a significant impact on your child’s education. If you do decide to travel then please email me at head@qegsblackburn.com stating which country you plan to visit and your dates of travel, including when you arrive back into the UK.

It was made clear over the summer that all children must be attending school from September and we have been informed to resume the process of issuing fines for those who have periods of unauthorised absence. If your child still requires to shield, then please contact Mr NH Vyse via email, nvyse@qegsblackburn.com , to explain the reasons why your child can not attend school. Mr Vyse will then contact parents/carers directly to discuss the situation including appropriate measures.

Below I have placed a series of information which has not changed since my earlier letters but is a useful reminder of what school is expecting in this first half term.

Kind regards,

Mrs CY Gammon

Absence
Should your child be ill then you must report their absence either via email on reportchildabsence@qegsblackburn.com (this is the preferred method) or via phone 01254 686300 choosing option 1. In both cases you need to state the name of your child, their form and year group, the reason for the absence and when you expect them to be well enough to return to school.

This must be completed on every day your child is absent.

Symptoms of Covid-19
The symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19) are a new continuous cough or a high temperature (over 37.8ºC) or Anosmia (the loss of or a change in your normal sense of smell. It can also affect sense of taste as the two are closely linked). If your child or any member of their household has any of these symptoms, then your child must not come to school.

If your child is ill due to having symptoms of Covid-19, please notify school immediately, marking your email as urgent, follow the PHE stay at home guidance, which sets out that they must self-isolate for at least 10 days and arrange for your child to have a Covid-19 test immediately to ensure full engagement with the test and trace system. Please inform school immediately of the results of the test. A member of school staff will contact you during the first day of absence to confirm dates of the isolation period. This also applies if your child is isolating due to being in direct contact with someone who has symptoms of Covid-19.

If your child becomes ill with symptoms of Covid-19 during the school day they will be immediately placed in isolation (in accordance with government guidance) and you will be contacted and asked to collect them. If you cannot be reached, the other contacts given will be called as it is essential for your child to go home as soon as possible.

If your child has a positive result from a Covid-19 test, then they must inform the school immediately and follow the stay at home guidance for households with possible or confirmed Covid-19. They must continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of their symptoms and then return to school only if they do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste. The rest of the household must self-isolate for at least 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms, following ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’.

If your child has a negative result from a Covid-19 test then they must remain in isolation for the remainder of the 14-day isolation period.

Travel
We ask that all parents and carers think carefully about how their child travels to school. Please read and follow the safer travel guidance for passengers when planning your travel. If your child is traveling by public transport then they will be expected to wear a face covering. The preferred method is to walk when possible following social distancing measures. Please note that the new restrictions in some areas of Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle are asking people not to use public transport unless there are no alternatives.

Face Masks

Primary Phase
During the school day, children in Year 6 and below will not be wearing face masks. If a child arrives at school with a disposable face mask then they will be asked to dispose of it in an appropriate manner. If a child arrives at school with a reusable face mask then they will be asked to remove it and to place it in a clear plastic bag, which must be provided by parents/carers, ready to take home at the end of the day.

Secondary Phase
Children in Year 7 and above must arrive at school with a face mask that they can use during the day when they are moving between lessons and in communal areas where social distancing will be difficult. Please show your child how to put on and take off a face mask safely and please provide a clear bag for storage of your child’s face mask when not in use. We ask that you emphasise to your child the importance of using face masks appropriately, of washing/sanitising hands after touching face masks and the storing of their face mask safely.

Computer Access
We have fully linked all our schemes of work to remote learning so that any child who is isolating can continue to access the curriculum. We are aware that some children did experience problems with accessing remote learning during lockdown and situations may also have now changed due to individual circumstances. If you feel that your child would struggle to access remote learning in the future due to the equipment available to them at home, then please email homeit@qegsblackburn.com stating your child’s name and year group and the issues that your child would have so that we can see as a school if there is anything that we can do to provide support. Alternatively, please write a letter addressed to Mr Vyse, marked as Home IT, which your child can hand in at Main Reception.

Behaviour
It is essential that all pupils and students display exemplary behaviour at all times including being kind and patient with all members of the school community. Please can you reiterate to your child the importance of following social distancing measures, good respiratory hygiene and washing/sanitising hands frequently. These are the most effective ways of keeping us all safe and therefore we will treat any breaches of our safety measures extremely seriously, sanctions will be imposed and parents/carers contacted.