4th January 2022
Dear Parents and Carers,
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy new year. I hope that you managed to stay safe and well, although I am sure that given the increase in people currently contracting COVID, some of you will have experienced illness over the festive period.
It is with COVID in mind that I am writing to you today. The government is predicting that up to 25% of public sector workers could be absent from work in the coming months. At Mossbrook we experienced approximately 10% staff absence during the Autumn term and this was difficult enough for us to manage. As the vast majority of our staff are vaccinated, thankfully they have not been as unwell as those who contracted COVID earlier in the pandemic, but the sheer numbers of staff away from school has been almost impossible to manage. As of today, I have 13 members of staff (2 from the senior leadership team) absent with Covid related illness.
As you know, our children rely on familiar members of staff in order for them to feel safe and secure so while we have sometimes been able to employ supply staff, this is not ideal for our children. Also, as all schools are experiencing similar shortages to us, acquiring supply staff has often been unsuccessful and will only become increasingly more difficult.
My intention is to keep ALL children at school, whenever it is safe to do so. Last term, apart from when I was advised to close one class due to multiple cases, we were able to do this. However given the rise in cases and the governments prediction for levels of staff absence, I feel it only fair to alert you now, that if I do not feel that it is safe to have a class or some classes of children in school, I will be writing to let you know that for a short period of time, we will have to resort to remote learning for those children.
I appreciate how hard this will be for you and your families, but if after exhausting ALL options, I feel that it is not safe to have children in school, this is the route that I will take.
I would also ask that you support me to keep as many members of children and staff in school as we can by keeping your child at home if they are symptomatic. If your child arrives at school with symptoms, I will be isolating them then phoning you and asking you to collect your child immediately. This means that if your child has a new cough, and coughs more than three times in a 24-hour period, they should stay home and take a PCR test. If your child feels hot to the touch, they should stay home and take a PCR test.
If your child is full of cold and generally feeling poorly, I would advise that you keep them at home until they are well and consider taking them for a PCR test.
LFD tests are not appropriate when children are symptomatic.
If your child has had contact with a member of staff or another child who tests positive, I will be following government guidance and advising that your child can continue to come to school (unless they become symptomatic) but must take an LFD test for 7 days. If at any point the LFD test is positive, they should stay home and get a PCR test.
I realise that some of our children find it very difficult to be tested but urge you to persist if we are to keep as many children and staff in school as we can.
If your child currently has Covid and cannot take LFD tests, they must isolate for the full 10 day period before returning to school.
We will continue to follow all other measures in school which include
- Ventilating classrooms as much as possible
- Regular handwashing of staff and children
- Staff wearing masks in public areas
- Social distancing where possible and working in department
In addition, we will be resorting back to only having visitors in school where absolutely necessary.
If you have an upcoming Annual Review this will now be held over the telephone on the same day and time.
If you transport your own child to school, please socially distance and wear a face covering if you can.
Thank you as always for your support and understanding. I am waiting for further advice the local authority and will let you know of any updates.