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20th March Coronavirus - schools closing information

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

The school will officially close today for the vast majority of pupils.

 

However, the government has requested schools continue to provide a skeleton service to care for the children whose parents work is critical to the COVID-19 response or are ‘vulnerable’.

Fulfilling the government’s request is particularly challenging. Staffing numbers in school are falling due to the self-isolation of those with the virus and those who must self-isolate due to family illness or because they fall into the ‘vulnerable group’ (those at higher risk from the virus). At Disley, this includes staff from across the school including teaching and support staff of all types. As Headteachers, we have a duty of care to the staff who are putting themselves at risk whilst working in a school with numbers of children each day.

 

The advice we are giving today is in line with our cluster schools in Poynton.

 

Government guidance issued yesterday clearly states:

  • As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. (Social distancing is at the heart of this response.)
  • The government has given clear guidance on self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing.
  • The most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.
  • The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and
  • Schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
  • The fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
  • Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

 

Disley Primary School will be setting up a reduced provision. Parents may be eligible if they work in one of the critical sectors and your child cannot be kept safe at home.eg if one parent works in the frontline NHS  but the other does not work in a ‘critical sector’ then your child should stay at home. This minimises the risk to the adult at home who is not a key worker, who may then become infected through children cross-infecting one another which then enforces  family self-isolation, which would include the key worker.

 

If you contacted school yesterday or overnight: to say that you believed you were a key worker,  or now the government has published a list of who it believes is critical to the response to covid 19, you believe you qualify as a key worker,  please consider very carefully the  bullet points above. For your family’s safety and that of the wider community, you should only request your child attend school if there is no other safe option. This is likely to be the case if both parents are in the critical group (e.g. 2 police officers)

 

Government guidance says ‘If workers think they fall within the critical categories they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.’

 

The link below contains information for parents

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

 

Further guidance including information about critical workers

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

 

The government’s list of critical sectors is extensive. In managing, how many children we can safely care for, we may have to prioritise which children we can safely support. We will be looking at how many children that is currently and will be in contact with those parents who have told us that they are in the critical group later today.  The provision we will provide in school will be no different than the provision we are  offering on line and we would request that you give serious consideration over whether or not your child needs to therefore be in school next week.

 

If you no longer believe that you need to be on the school’s list please email jryder@disley.cheshire.sch.uk to let us know, preferably by 1.30pm today.

 

There is no statutory duty for schools to remain open, but we are going to do what we can, whilst we can. 

 

We do appreciate your support and understanding at this very difficult and unprecedented time.  

We look forward to seeing you all “on the other side”!

 

Kindest Regards

 

Mrs H. Taylor and Mrs L. Carberry

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