As we come to the start of our SIXTH week of term, we have basked in some wonderful weather - but you can feel we are moving into autumn, so much so - I have had to dig my jumpers out of the loft.
Attendance and attitudes
Firstly, thank you to our amazing children at SDPS. We have had overwhelming excellent attendance since we returned in September with fantastic attitudes to work and school life. The children appear happy, content and mindful of the new procedures around hygiene in school. I am seeing a lot of laughter and hard work - well done to all. Our attendance figures are over 97% - which is excellent, considering a small minority of children are having to isolate due to symptoms or positive tests in their families.
I appreciate there are times it’s confusing as to when you can send your child in, particularly as we are in a local lockdown. The Department of Education issued some advice which I think it is helpful. One important part of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of pupils, parents and our community is testing for coronavirus. We all have a duty to make sure that the right people have access to get tested at the right time. Every time a test is used inappropriately, a person with Covid-19 symptoms may miss out on getting tested.
You should only book a test if your child has any of these three coronavirus symptoms:
1. a high temperature: any new high temperature where your child feels hot to touch on their chest or back (you do not need to measure the temperature)
2. a new continuous cough: coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
3. a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste: a noticeable loss of smell or taste or things smell and taste different to normal.
Your child does not need a test if they have a runny nose, are sneezing or feeling unwell but do not have a temperature, cough or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste.
If you are unsure about whether to get a test, please check the official list of symptoms on the NHS website, which is reviewed regularly: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/
Only the person with symptoms should get a test. You do not need to get a test for anyone else in the household unless they also have any of the three symptoms listed above. All members of the household need to self-isolate whilst waiting for the test result. At times it is confusing, but please talk to us.
Thankfully, it appears that testing is now more available are results are speeding up - often back within 24 hours.
The pandemic has created staffing pressures throughout which we are managing calmly within school. As a result of government guidance this has meant that some staff have been absent from school and have had to work at home. In the future we may have to move staff from one bubble to another. This is allowed under government guidance and where this happens we do it mindful of ensuring we keep the bubble as safe as possible for both children and staff.
For the next two weeks, Mr Woods - who was with us in Yr 6 in the Autumn term before lockdown - will cover the Yr 5 class for Mr Smith, who is self-isolating.
As you are aware, since the start of term, we have had one single positive COVID test within school. As a result of this we had to ask our Year 1 class and two of our staff members to remain at home. There are a number of schools who have had to do something similar around us and continue to do so. Thank you to the overwhelming majority of children in this class who have regularly engaged with their online learning and completed the work sent to them via Class Dojo. We will continue to develop our remote learning plans, so children can access school work easily, should they have to self-isolate.
All our staff have worked tirelessly to ensure that the safe return to school for all our pupils has been the paramount concern. I am delighted that all pupils are working collaboratively with us to establish and maintain high standards in hygiene. Thank you too for the way you are supporting us. Your continued support and vigilance is deeply appreciated: particularly with regards to dropping your children off at school and picking them up.
It is worth a polite reminder to everyone in our school community. Once you have collected/dropped off your child - please move away from the school gates/perimeter fence.
Parents have mentioned that their children are being put at risk by having to walk in the road to move past a minority of parents who are congregating around the main school exit/entry points. By doing so, this is not following social distancing guidelines. We need your help - as our school family - to get this right.
Please accept our thanks for supporting our school community in the shared drive to minimise the negative impact of COVID-19 in our schools for all our children.
Although it doesn’t feel like it now, this pandemic will pass. It won’t last forever. And one day, hopefully soon, we will be looking back on it and reflecting, not trying to live through it. So though, there are times, we are all struggling through it, and believe me, there are times I’m struggling - let’s pull together, let’s keep going, try to keep smiling and keep looking after each other. Be strong, be kind and let’s continue to act out of love and togetherness. Thank you for working with us, your positive words of praise mean a lot, your suggestions for improvement we will listen to. I do know we will get through this, even though there are times we are all finding it hard.