5 November 2020
Following the announcement of a second period of National lockdown the Department for Education has updated their guidance for schools. This guidance was released on Wednesday 4 November and actions must be implemented by Monday 9 November or as soon as practically possible.
Schools continue to remain open for all children and young people as they have since the start of the autumn term for the duration of the national restrictions. Being at school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time spent out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current levels of education, and children’s future ability to learn. It continues to be our aim that all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full-time.
The DfE reports that the risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. For the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in the classroom far outweigh the low risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) and schools can take action to reduce risks still further. I would like to draw your attention to two main updates:
In schools where pupils in year 7 and above are educated, face coverings must be worn by adults and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained. Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings and we expect adults and pupils to be sensitive to those needs.
Face coverings should also be worn by pupils in year 7 and above when travelling on dedicated school transport to secondary school or college. Following announcements in Scotland some parents have asked about children wearing face masks in lessons, of course this is absolutely fine and you may want to encourage this if you have a child in years 9-11 due to the mixing of students between sessions.
Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Children
The DfE reports that more evidence has emerged to show there is a very low risk of children becoming very unwell from coronavirus (COVID-19), even for children with existing health conditions. Most children originally identified as clinically extremely vulnerable no longer need to follow original shielding advice. Parents should be advised to speak to their child’s GP or specialist clinician if they have not already done so, to understand whether their child should still be classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.
Those children whose doctors have confirmed they are still clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend education whilst the national restrictions are in place. Schools will need to make appropriate arrangements to enable them to continue their education at home. Please contact S.Watson@sthsch.com if your child is clinically extremely vulnerable and we will make arrangements for distance learning.
Children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend education. The DfE suggests that parents of clinically extremely vulnerable children will be receiving a letter shortly confirming this advice.
I am aware that these are challenging times for everyone, and once again thank you for your continued support. Take care during this period and we will update you with any change of messaging as and when necessary.