19th March 2021

Dear Parents/ Carers

As we come to the end of the first week with the whole school on-site, thanks again to all parents and carers for their support. The children have yet again adapted to the increased numbers of pupils in school and have been a real credit to themselves.

Issues with Test and Trace and reporting a positive case.

As you are aware I had no alternative but to close the school today as 13 staff had been contacted yesterday evening via the test and trace app and informed to isolate. Given that there are no positive cases in school, we have been in touch with the Test and Trace service today to clarify why this may have happened. They have confirmed that because no staff have received a text from track and trace and only received an alert from the app, it is highly likely that because of the sensitivity of the app, staff could have been alerted through Bluetooth just by being in the proximity of a potential positive case. This could potentially be from somewhere in the surrounding area and not in school and because there are no positive cases in school, staff are able to return to school on Monday.

However, I would like to highlight the importance of parents/carers contacting the school should your child either receive a positive lateral flow test or have had any close contact with anyone who tests positive for COVID.  The school must be informed and your child must isolate for 10 days. I have attached a letter from the Director of Education regarding this. Please contact the office at schooloffice@st-ants.org as soon as possible to confirm any positive tests.

Similarly, if your child displays any of the following symptoms, then they must isolate, have a PCR test and if positive the school must be informed and your child and their household must isolate. The school continues to reserve the right to send any child home who is displaying symptoms. 

The three main published symptoms of Covid-19 are:-

1. A high temperature – 38 degrees / you feel hot to touch on your chest or back.

2. A new, continuous cough – coughing a lot, for more than an hour; or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours; or if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual.

3. A loss or change to sense of smell or taste – you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

We are aware that other symptoms may present, so please contact the medical team in school to discuss any concerns.

Current Staffing and changes to the timetable

As you are aware the guidelines for shielding are still active and that our staff who fall within the Critical Extremely Vulnerable should not be in school. This is in place until the end of this term.  A number of staff fall within the category and therefore this has a significant impact on the day to day running of the school and provision that we can offer to maintain the most consistent educational package we are able to implement with minimal disruption to pupils. Without these staff, the school was only just safely staffed to enable the full return of all pupils. However staff has now been further impacted with additional staff sickness and some staff requiring to isolate for 10 days because their child has received a positive COVID test.  This now has an impact on the school being able to ensure a safe number of staffing in some areas. I therefore have no choice and very reluctantly will have to amend the timetable until the end of term. This will ensure that when pupils are in school, we have the appropriate ratios of staff to fully and safely support your child.

I recognise and fully accept that parents will be frustrated and disappointed. We of course would want to be able to provide 5 days for all pupils, but in the current climate and staffing this will not be possible. To try to support attendance for as many pupils as we can safely, the following groups will NOT BE IN school on the following days.

This timetable will be in place until the end of term, with a view that all pupils will return full time after Easter.

Home learning activities for all pupils are available on the school website under the Learning Zone. Staff are working hard to regularly add to these so that children can continue to learn and access educational resources and activities.

I would like to remind parents/carers and pupils of the expectations around electronics and mobile phones. Mobile phones and electronics should not, if at all possible, be brought into school. Should pupils bring these in, then they would be responsible for them, including if they get lost or damaged. The office will no longer be collecting in any equipment from home to keep safe. Should pupils bring in phones/electronics, they MUST stay in their bag.  Should pupils not follow this, they will have the phone confiscated. They will be asked to place their phone in an envelope and seal it to collect at the end of the day. Could I ask that parents/carers reinforce this expectation with their child.

As we approach the Summer term, here are some whole school key dates for your diaries.

Parents Evenings

We will be holding 3 Parents Evenings over the summer term. These will be done remotely through School Cloud Parents Evening. The dates are as follows.

Key Stage 4 – Wednesday 28th April

Key Stage 3 – Wednesday 26th May

Primary – Wednesday 23rd June.

This is a great opportunity for parents to discuss their child’s progress with individual teachers. Further details of how to sign up will be sent out in due course.

Inset Days

Due to the recent lockdown, the school was unable to run the Inset days in February. These have now been moved to 27th and 28th May. School will be closed to children on these two day to allow for staff training.

Many thanks again for your continued support. If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact the school.

With very best wishes

Helen Ball


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