Parent and Carer Update - 31st December 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I am writing to you because the government announced changes to the start of term yesterday. This is so that schools have time to set themselves up as Covid testing centres. Please see below what will happen. This letter replaces the arrangements I sent to you on 18th December.
First week of term:
- 4th January – training day – school is closed to all students.
- 5th January – school will be open from 11am on 5th January for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children only who should arrive at their normal gate, wearing full school uniform. They can bring or buy lunch and snacks as usual using their lanyard.
- The majority of students, including Year 11s, will be at home. As I said in my letter of 18th December we will phone the parents of children the government would identify as vulnerable on 4th January to make arrangements. Critical workers will have filled in the survey I sent in that letter and I wrote to all parents who filled this in by the deadline on 21st December with an offer of a place. If you missed this survey it is here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3WJK5VX. We will look at all replies received by 7am on 4th January and contact eligible parents on 4th January with offers.
- 6th January onwards – as above but school will be open from 9:00 until 3:00 daily for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children only
Second week of term:
- From 11th January, in addition to the children who were in during week one, we currently believe we will be teaching Year 11 students in school.
Third week of term:
- From 18th January the government has said that all children will be back in school.
What will happen about work being set?
Year 11: We aim to teach most Year 11 lessons on Microsoft Teams starting with session B at 11am on Tuesday 5th January. Students will join those lessons via email link or via Satchel One. Students just need to follow the link at the normal time for the lesson and teachers will then make sure they know what to do.
Year 10: We aim to teach most Year 10 lessons on Microsoft Teams starting with session A at 9am on Wednesday 6th January. Students will join those lessons via email link or via Satchel One. Students just need to follow the link at the normal time for the lesson and teachers will then make sure they know what to do. Work for 5th January will be set as it was during lockdown.
Year 10 and 11: Students will need to be on time for lessons which will start at 9:00, 11:00 and 1:00. Teachers will not be able to let them in if they are late. If students are struggling to get into the lesson they should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Registers will be taken. Lessons will last 90 minutes but teachers will not teach that whole time to allow time for students to complete their work and to email teachers with questions and for help before the end of the lesson.
Years 7-9: our surveys have told us that a lot of students in Y7-9 do not have access to a device for live lessons and so we will set work using Satchel One for Y7-9 so that they can access the work flexibly. We know that some students do not have access to Satchel One at all from home and so we are preparing some work packs for those Y7-9 students without devices. Work will start on session B (11am) on Tuesday 5th. Please collect from the TLC building on Tuesday 5th January between 11:00 and 12:00. All Y7-9 students with Satchel access from home will get their work on Satchel.
What will happen about testing?
The government wants us to test all students twice when they return to school – to act as a screening process and identify asymptomatic cases. This will involve students administering the test themselves and staff will be on hand to guide them.
For this to happen we have a great deal to put in place and so I will write to you again once I am in a position to share our plans. Currently we do not have any tests etc in school but we understand they will be delivered on 4th January. We will need to set this up, including staff it, and then we will plan whom we will test and when and let you know.
For testing to happen parents and children must consent. I would hope that all parents will consent because it will help us to stay safer. However it is a choice. Where consent is not given children will still be able to attend school.
Secondly the government want us to test all staff weekly.
Thirdly the government wants us to test all students identified as close contacts daily for 7 days, instead of sending them home like we had to last term. In this case if consent is given for testing contacts can remain in school while they test negative. If they test positive they go home and take a “normal” test – as they would now. If there is not consent for a test then students must self-isolate for 10 days and will not be able to attend school. We want all students to be in school if they can, and so I hope to have high levels of consent.
Just like last term anyone with symptoms must not come to school at all.
We will be writing to you at the start of next week with information and consent forms. There is one form for all tests – it lasts until this is over.
Let’s hope for a calmer and more hopeful new year.