School Reopening: September 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
We are looking forward to welcoming all our children / young people this week, whether they are new to the school or are returning after a long break due to COVID-19.
We understand that you may have concerns about the return to school, and this letter therefore aims to provide both information and reassurance.
It is important to recognise that the circumstances we are in now are very different to when schools were closed in the first place. The prevalence of Covid-19 in the community has decreased, and the national Test and Trace system has been put in place. There is now greater understanding of the virus and how it behaves, as well as the measures that need to be in place to keep everyone as safe as possible.
In the UK, the Government uses a Covid-19 alert system to inform decisions and to explain the level of disease risk to the public. Using the data collated and analysed by the UK’s Joint Biosecurity Centre, the UK Chief Medical Officers sets the alert level for the whole of the UK. This alert level is currently at Level 3, ‘a Covid-19 epidemic is in general circulation’, which enables a gradual relaxation of restrictions under the plan for recovery published by the UK Government in May.
As you will be aware, Greater Manchester is currently subject to additional local restrictions, although in Stockport we have seen a recent decrease in new infections, and we are cautiously optimistic about this and continue to monitor the situation very carefully.
Are Schools Safe to Re-Open?
The Chief and Deputy Medical Officers of the UK, on the 23rd August, released a statement outlining their view that ‘very few, if any, children or teenagers will come to long-term harm from Covid-19 due solely to attending school’. The statement outlines a range of evidence they have taken into account in forming this judgement. This also includes evidence on the transmission risk for teachers, other staff working in schools, and parents, as well as the potential impact of opening schools on wider transmission. The statement can be found here.
Both the Chief and Deputy Medical Officers and the Government have stressed that there is no completely risk-free option available to us, and that the risks from opening schools up again have to be balanced against the impacts on children from not attending school.
What do I need to do?
To ensure that the return to school is as safe as possible, we have made a range of changes that we have previously communicated to you, and we will continue to review the arrangements we have put in place to maintain school as a safe environment.
To help us do this, we’d appreciate it if you could continue to support us in the following ways:
- If your child, or anyone else at home has symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a fever, or loss or change of taste or smell) the entire household needs to stay at home, and children cannot attend school. The person with symptoms will need to stay at home for 10 days, and all other household members needs to stay at home for 14 days. Anyone with symptoms should get a test for coronavirus via https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119. Please arrange a test as soon as possible, as early test results help us to protect our school community.
- Please inform us promptly if anyone in your household develops symptoms, and of any test results (positive or negative). If you need to contact the school to report an absence, we will ask about covid-19 symptoms and test results.
- If your child develops symptoms during the school day, we will need to isolate them away from the classroom, and ask you to collect them as soon as possible. Please make sure that you are contactable throughout the school day, and that the contact details we hold are up to date.
- Please ensure that you follow the social distancing arrangements that have been put in place, particularly at the start and end of the school day
We’d like to thank you in advance for your support in helping our school to remain safe and welcoming for all our children during the Autumn term.
Mrs A M Core
Please see Attendance letter for quarantine for updated guidance regarding school attendance where quarantine after travel abroad is required.
Public Health England (PHE) is the body through whom all of the latest guidance and information is being produced and distributed.
There are links to the latest resources guidance and advice contained at https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
Specific Government advice for schools can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19
If you are concerned that any members of your family have symptoms linked to the Coronavirus, please follow Public Health England guidance (see links above) and keep school informed if there is anything you think we should know about.