Friday 14th January 2022
Dear Parents and Carers, Happy New Year!
Welcome back! We are really excited to be back with you-hope you have all had a fabulous Christmas with your family and friends.
We have been waiting for the next piece of government guidance to come to us before contacting you all to wish you a happy new year and to try to keep you all up to speed with the latest covid-19 guidance. Yesterday the guidance changed again, so please forgive the delay in this letter coming to you.
At all stages please inform the school office the reason for your child’s absence including confirming the positive tests for covid-19. The guidance for schools was last updated on the 9th December 2022. Guidance for schools: coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) the news from yesterday was as following:
Covid isolation rules explained: How long you have to self-isolate after period cut to 5 days
You should self-isolate immediately if you have any symptoms of Covid-19, and order a PCR test through the Government website. The minimum self-isolation period for Covid-19 is being cut to five full days. It comes after the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) found “around two-thirds of positive cases are no longer infectious by the end of day five”.
When do I need to self-isolate?
You should self-isolate immediately if you have any symptoms of Covid-19, and order a PCR test through the Government website.
The NHS says the main symptoms of Covid are:
• A high temperature
• A new, continuous cough
• A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
However, people are reporting other symptoms from the Omicron variant.
• Runny nose
• Scratchy throat
• Body aches
• Night sweats
• Back pain
If you have symptoms you should take a lateral flow test (LFD) and order a confirmatory PCR. You should isolate immediately if you test positive, either on a lateral flow or PCR, even if you do not have symptoms.
However, if you do not have symptoms and test positive on a lateral flow, you should no longer order a PCR.
If you have been in contact with someone with Covid-19 you should isolate if you are not fully vaccinated. If you have received your second dose of the vaccine at least 14 days ago you do not need to isolate.
However, you should take a lateral flow test daily for seven days, or until 10 days since your last contact with the person who tested positive.
When you are self-isolating you should not leave your home unless there is an emergency. Emergency reasons are listed on the NHS website here.
How long do I need to isolate for?
If you are fully vaccinated:
The minimum self-isolation period for people who test positive for Covid-19 has been cut from seven full days to five for fully-vaccinated people, starting from Monday 17 January.
This change is currently only taking effect in England, leaving it up to the devolved administrations to decide whether they follow suit.
The day your symptoms start, or the day you test positive if you do not have symptoms, counts as day zero.
You may leave self-isolation on day six if you test negative on a lateral flow on day five and day six, at least 24 hours apart, as long as you do not have a high temperature.
If one of these tests returns positive, you must wait until receiving two consecutive days of negative tests to leave isolation, or wait the full 10 days.
Previously, those who did not have symptoms but tested positive on a lateral flow had to order a PCR. They then had to restart their isolation period from they day they took the PCR if the result returned positive.However, this requirement has been scrapped. Asymptomatic people should no longer order a PCR, and instead isolate for 5-10 days from the day of the positive lateral flow result.
If you are not fully vaccinated:
Those who have not had two doses of the vaccine will still have to isolate for 10 days if they test positive, or if they are a close contact with someone who has the virus.
If you test positive, your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day you had the test, if you did not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days.
If someone you live with tests positive, you should self-isolate for 10 days from the day of the test or the day they start experiencing symptoms, whichever is first.
NHS Test and Trace may contact you telling you to isolate as a close contact, in which case it will tell you how long you need to isolate for.
What if I’m still testing positive after 10 days?
You may leave self-isolation after your 10th full day of self-isolation even if you are still testing positive. The only exception to this is if you still have a high temperature, or are still feeling unwell. If you only have a cough or your sense of smell or taste remains affected, you can leave isolation.
The Government guidance states: “You do not need to take any more LFD (lateral flow device) tests after the 10th day of your self-isolation period and you may stop self-isolating after this day.
“This is because you are unlikely to be infectious after the 10th day of your self-isolation period.
“Even if you have a positive LFD test result on the 10th day of your self-isolation period you do not need to take any more LFD tests after this day and you do not need a follow-up PCR test.
“If you are concerned you may choose to limit close contact with other people, especially those who are at higher risk of severe illness until 14 days after the start of your self-isolation period.”
The Risk Assessment for the school has been updated in line with the current Covid-19 school’s guidance from the government. Although there are steps forward to returning to a more “normal” school approach, we have learnt a lot from working within the Covid-19 restrictions-some aspects are worth keeping and some are restrictions that will lesson over time. We feel that although there are positive steps forward with the increased numbers of those vaccinated, there is still a risk to be managed and the return to school must be done so with care for all. This stretched to keeping face coverings and masks when moving around the school and for the time being keeping our assemblies on line.
It is expected that all children will attend school all of the time. Those children who are clinically vulnerable will need special arrangements to not attend. Guidance must be sought from the medical professionals involved with the child and written evidence provided by the family to school as to what needs to be in place to keep the individual child safe.
If your child has a positive PCR test they will need to isolate for the full prescribed time away from school. The year groups and classes where the case was identified will not close, but continue as normal-unless directed to do so by Public Health England (in the case of a larger outbreak).
If your child is showing signs and symptoms of Covid-19, you will be asked to collect them from school immediately and ensure that a PCR test in arranged. If the PCR is negative (evidence provided to the school) the child will return to school. If the PCR is positive, the child will have to isolate until the isolation time period is complete.
Individuals are not required to self-isolate if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and any of the following apply:
• they are fully vaccinated
• they are below the age of 18 years and 6 months
• they have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
• they are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
All measures can be stepped up and down as directed by PHE
Staff, parents and visitors to the site
Staff, Parents and Adults using the school site do so-managing their own risk to themselves and others. This will mean that they manage their contact with others, their closeness and that from a school perspective, wearing a face covering is still advised, but not mandatory/enforceable under the new guidance. Staff may wear them when moving around the school.
Staff will continue to test twice a week.
In school we will ensure that there are four clear focuses in line with the government guidance:
• Ensure good hygiene for everyone.
• Maintain appropriate cleaning regimes.
• Keep occupied spaces well ventilated.
• Follow public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Handwashing will still be a feature of our children’s days. We will be teaching the “catch it, bin it, kill it” mantra!
The increased cleaning throughout the school will remain in place
The classrooms will be well ventilated with open doors and windows for fresh air.
For the time being, teachers will ensure that the tables in their classrooms are facing the front-although this will be reviewed as the year progresses.
We will ensure that we have an outbreak management plan that will be used if the need to “step up” arises. It will be developed and will be based upon the previous Roade Primary School Covid-19 arrangements.
We are very proud of our smart school uniform and we do try hard to ensure our children are adhering to our uniform guide. It is smart, convenient, not too expensive and for many parents it provides a clear set of rules for their children.
School uniform is practical, but we have noticed that there are some choices that are not in line with our guidance and some choices that are not practical for the children in school.
High standards of uniform and personal appearance are an important aspect of Roade Primary School. We expect our students to wear full school uniform at all times in school and on the way to and home from school. We welcome your co-operation on this matter and expect students to take pride in their appearance.
There are some bigger boots being worn by some children-these are impractical for the whole school day. Some of our children are coming to school with large lace up boots and yet they cannot tie their own shoe laces yet! Please parents be sure that your child’s footwear is smart, practical and appropriate for your child!
Our children will have an outdoor and indoor element on their PE day. They will need the standard blue indoor top and they will need outdoor tracksuit top and bottoms (or similar) and some sturdy trainer shoes for outside activities-especially as the weather is cooler. The sports coaches are planning to use outdoors as much as we can throughout the year.
We have had a number of fashion items worn that are not practical. These include strappy tops and non-breathable replica football shirts. Please ensure that your child has the appropriate PE kit for indoors and outdoors on their PE day, thank you!
If your child has their ears pierced please make sure that they can remove their stud earrings themselves or remove them for their PE days. We strongly advise that any parent considering getting their ears pierced wait until the start of the summer holiday to encourage the ears to heal enough. Children’s ears take six weeks to be fully ready for the earrings to be removed.
Staff will contact individual families if the uniform choices are not in line with our guidance. Our uniform guidance is on line on our website here: ROADE PRIMARY SCHOOL – Uniform and Appearance
All uniform can be ordered through Jules At Home in the village:
Smart school uniform can be purchased from all major supermarkets and need not cost a fortune. We ask that the blue sweatshirt/cardigan carries the school logo-but other items can be generic school uniform-including footwear.
Start and end of the school day
The one way system around the school is working well. This will be maintained, with the staggered starts as we had last year. We are trying to keep the lines of people arriving moving and these busy parts of the day-as slick as possible.
The start and end time of school will vary for each Key stages:
Key stage 2 (years 3-6): 8:50am-3.10pm
EYFS/Reception and KS1 (years R-2): 9.00am-3.20pm
There are lots of staff around to direct, meet and greet. Please try to be neither too early nor too late as this can cause a longer line of children and we will try to be a slick as we can!
This year, the children will go straight into school, wash their hands and start their day-unlike previous years we will not be lining up on the playground.
At the end of the day-when collecting the children, we will invite the collecting parents into the playground to wait-socially distanced on the playground and their children will be directed from a member of staff to meet them. We respectfully ask all adults to manage this time for their own safety. Once you have received your child please follow the one way system to leave the site and that way we all have one way in and one way out!
If your child wishes to ride a bike or scooter to school please remind them about dismounting and walking it across the playground when they arrive at the school gates
We have a very busy staff. I try to be out on the playground every morning, however in a small school we are all constantly busy. If you want to speak to a member of staff we will operate an appointment system for you. Please visit the school office and request an appointment with the member of staff and we will arrange a telephone appointment with you at a convenient time.
Please ensure that you are parking your car safely and responsibly-perhaps with a short distance to walk to school. Please park with consideration and do not park across resident’s drives. Please park to allow your child to get out on the path side of the car. We are on good terms with our residents and we would like to maintain our positive relationship-please always be kind! Please do not park in our busy staff car park
The school is very proud of our attendance-especially in light of the two years! The attendance is around 97%. This shows that parents and carers have worked very closely with us to ensure that their child attends school regularly. We know as a school that high attendance has a direct impact on the performance of students and their ability to be successful in all aspects of their school life. Please continue to support the school and ensure that your child attends school every day and arrives on time.
Can I take this opportunity to remind you of the school attendance and punctuality policy (full policy is available on the school website) which parents should be aware of. Fixed Penalty Notices can be issued by the local authority for:
•Unauthorised parentally condoned absence
•Unauthorised leave of absence during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances
•Unwarranted delayed return from leave of absence (without school agreement)
•Persistent late arrival after the register has closed
•Truancy, including attendance and exclusion sweeps (formerly truancy sweeps)
Please remember that the government will not allow schools to authorise any holidays and therefore all holiday requests will not be authorised. Parents can apply for leave of absence for exceptional circumstances but a range of documentary evidence will be required to support any application and the decision will always be at the discretion of the Headteacher.
Please don’t forget to order your children’s school dinners through Dolce. I know that the office team have been in touch with reminders where needed.
Curriculum newsletters are ready for you to read on the website. This will help you support your children at home and be involved with their learning. Please listen to your children read, ensure that they do their homework and learn their times tables (the times tables rock stars is a live competition here in school!) The more involved you as parents are at home, the more they will grow and develop-every adult around your child is a role model.
So, Happy New Year! The staff are busy planning some brilliant and exciting learning and we know that your children are in for a great (and challenging) time! Thank you for your ongoing support of the school and your children!
See you at the gate