Dear Parents, Carers and Friends.
Fortitude, from the Latin word fortitudo, refers to strength in the face of adversity or difficulty. A very apt word for these uncertain times.
Yesterday, an announcement was made by the Prime Minister about how we will move forward in the next phase of the fight against Covoid-19. Whilst it has provided clarity for some, it has left many questions for many. The message is clear that, for now, schools should remain open. Elmhurst will follow this advice and will remain open until we are told to close or until we reach a point where we do not have the capacity to stay open.
The advice given is as follows:
Social distancing is not easy in schools. We have made the decision to cancel/ postpone all planned visits and visitors until the end of the term in the first instance. We will not be holding any whole school assemblies during this time either.
We will also be cancelling all lets to limit the number of people moving in and out of the school building.
Parents will still need to collect children at the end of the day, though. Playtimes and lunch breaks will still go ahead and children will be encouraged to wash hands regularly. The very nature of childhood means that many children will not wash their hands unless supervised by an adult. This is incredibly hard to manage with 325 children!
Parents and staff must make the decision that is right for them and their families. We will accept all decisions on an individual basis.
We have been advised of the following by the local authority regarding absences during this period:
If the children are withdrawn by parents the absence will need to be ‘O’ coded as neither parent or child are showing symptoms.
For children who have a parent(s) carer who have been told to self- isolate by NHS 111 health care professionals and so the children are unable to attend school through no fault of their own can be ‘C’ coded.
Where a pupil is in self-isolation, in accordance with latest information and advice from Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, the pupil should be recorded as unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances in the attendance register. Code Y (Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances) should be used in this instance.
Children who have contracted the virus need to be ‘I’ coded.
If the decision is taken to close the school the absence will need to be ‘Y’ coded.
We have also been told that schools (and parents) will not be penalised for their attendance figures during this time so please be honest with us regarding your reasons to keep your child at home, if you choose to do so. The statistics will be very useful for reporting back to the powers that be.
If you choose to self isolate, please be advised that the school will not be providing work for the children until we reach the point where the school is closed. We are sure you will appreciate the impact on workload of staff that doubling up on materials would have.
In the meantime, if you choose to self isolate, there are plenty of things that could be done if you have access to the internet: spelling shed, my maths, TT rockstars to name a few. Children can read books and write stories. They can produce projects to recap on areas already covered this year. We have also attached a sheet of non-screen activities for those who do not have access to the internet.
Please stay safe and look after each other.
T. Edwards and M. Lawrence