Dear Parents and Carers,
Further to our letter a little earlier in the week, I am writing to let you know the outcomes of our consultation with the DfE, Public Health England and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Health Protection Team, the last of which were particularly helpful. We reviewed all of the Covid measures we continue to operate by in our school risk assessment with them, and they agreed these are in line with guidance for the level of cases we have.
But as you know, we have had in excess of 10% of our teaching colleagues absent owing to Covid throughout this week, and this will not abate next week, because, as one or two colleagues return, one or two others have added to the list, so the total will remain around the same. When you add to this, one or two other sickness absences of different kinds, we have stood at around 15% of our teaching force at home.
This week, we have had to cover 198 hours of lessons and for the past few days, as your children will have told you, we have not consistently been able to use our normal cover process due to a lack of teaching staff and cover supervisor staff through illness, and therefore have needed to put some groups of students into the hall. This has seemed preferable to partially moving some year groups in the school home on to remote learning at really short notice. In the hall, senior staff and other colleagues have done their utmost to supervise the learning of the students as well as possible.
Throughout this week our approach has been for the students and yourselves to remain undisturbed by this, whilst we have soldiered through it.
However, rolling our staffing through into next week, knowing the hoped-for return dates of colleagues absent for Covid reasons, we feel that we now must ask a couple of year groups to remain at home to work remotely on the following dates:
Monday 29th November – Y9 and 10
Tuesday 30th November – Y9 and 10
In discussion with the Health Protection Team, we make this decision for two reasons:
- Schools like ours collapsing classes into the hall on a more sustained basis will only accelerate in school transmission of Covid. We have already moved assemblies back online and staff meetings likewise – we then have to go ahead and undermine that by collapsing lessons because of staff absence.
- This level of colleague absence leaves our social time duty rota very short handed, which then throws other health and safety worries into the mix – we need to be able to have the correct numbers of colleagues in every zone at every break/lunch and we cannot achieve that at this unavoidable absence level. We have exhausted supply cover, including from agencies we work with – understandably these people are in high demand everywhere right now!
Now to some key questions you are bound to have:
Why have we chosen these two year groups?
Even though transmission has been higher in Y7, we believe they, and Y8 students, are the toughest for you to have at home, around your working lives, because you will rightly worry about supervision, as would we as parents.
We do not want to send Y11 to remote learning after they have just had two weeks of disrupted time for their pre-public exams (mocks).
What do we mean by remote learning?
To free up other adults to cover lessons and social time duties, we will not be moving to live lessons as part of this measure as that does not release any extra capacity.
Instead, each teacher will set assignments through Frog as we have done before.
If your child is absent, self-isolating, but well enough to work from home in Y7, 8 or 11, they should continue to work from the general home learning portal – they will not be set specific assignments by their teachers, as the majority of their year groups will be in school.
What if my child(ren) really cannot work from home?
Please email or ePraise message your child’s Year Leader.
What if my child(ren) have a hassle logging in to Frog for their work?
If your child cannot log into frog and they have tried their usual network password, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
What do I do if my child(ren) lack the IT equipment or internet access?
If you're struggling with internet access or a suitable device at home, please do contact us via health@ with the subject line "COMPUTER" and we'll do our very best to help support you with this, as we have done during previous times of remote learning.
What if I would like my child still to access their Free School Meal?
Please email email@example.com with the subject line "SCHOOL MEAL" and we will arrange for a packed lunch to be made for collection.
What else can we do as a community to help to get everyone back in with consistency?
If your child has and is able to wear a face covering and is able to test on an LFD test each day, we would be very grateful to them for doing so, with consistency. If your child is exempt/you would ask that they do not wear a mask, please just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and there will be no issue there.
If your child has any symptoms of a cold- especially in Y7 – we would be thankful if they remained at home and you consider them taking a cautionary PCR, then they return when they’re better as long as it is a negative test outcome. We are not yet seeing the plateauing of cases in this year group we are seeing in all of the others, so this would be a really helpful measure, please.
If our staffing levels remain as low may need to continue this sort of measure, rotating the year groups, however we will wait to see what happens and will let you know at the latest by Tuesday morning. Our default will always be to try and keep all Year Groups in school but without compromising those two points:
- In school transmission
- Site safety
This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make- our toughest yet, actually - but is one that we feel we are going to have to bite the bullet and go with.
This letter comes with the heaviest of hearts, and as an absolute last resort, as we really hoped we would get through to the end of term without any such measures. We know it’s the last thing you want to have to deal with, too.
As always, if this letter throws up a particular worry for your child(ren), all you have to do is email email@example.com and we will listen to you and work through those worries together.
Thank you for your incredible support and forbearance,
Kathryn Marshall and the Noadswood Leadership Team
Close Contact Guidance:
If you think your child is a close contact of someone you know but has not been contacted directly by NHS Test and Trace then we want to remind you that they should take a PCR test via Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) or by calling 119. When ordering a PCR test it is important to check the box (online) or tell 119 ‘I’ve been told to get a test by my health protection team’ and not ‘I’ve been told to get a test by my school or nursery’. Further guidance can be found at Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
What to do if your child develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or tests positive for COVID-19
If your child develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), they should get a PCR test and remain at home at least until the result is known. If negative, the child can end self-isolation; if positive, the child should isolate until at least 10 days after their symptoms appeared. Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a new, continuous cough, or a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia). If the child has a positive test result but do not have symptoms, they should stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days from the date the positive test was taken. This isolation period will be extended if they go on to develop symptoms by counting 10 full days from the day following their symptom onset. Anyone with symptoms will be eligible for a PCR test (the normally available test type) and this can be arranged via Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) or by calling 119.
Instructions for people who live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 (tested positive or symptomatic awaiting a test result)
From 16 August, you will not be required to self-isolate if you are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and any of the following apply:
you are fully vaccinated
you are below the age of 18 years 6 months
you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
Fully vaccinated means that you have been vaccinated with an MHRA approved COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, and at least 14 days have passed since you received the recommended doses of that vaccine.
NHS Test and Trace will contact you to let you know that you have been identified as a contact and check whether you are legally required to self-isolate. If you are not legally required to self-isolate, you will be provided with advice on testing and given guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19. Even if you do not have symptoms, you will be advised to have a PCR test as soon as possible.
Any member of the household who is aged 18 years and 6 months or over and has only received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine or has not received any dose of the COVID-19 vaccination will still be required to self-isolate as household contact of a someone with COVID-19 symptoms awaiting testing and someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Please read the stay at home guidance which provides information on this.
Household members who are not exempt from isolation as close contacts should not go to work, school/college/childcare/education setting or public areas, and exercise should be taken within the home. If you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, or walking a dog, you should ask friends or family. Alternatively, you can order your shopping online and medication by phone or online. Household members staying at home for 10 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.
You could be fined if you do not self-isolate following a notification by NHS Test and Trace. You may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme if you are required to stay at home and self-isolate or you are the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate.
Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should be supported to minimise their contact with other people in the household during this period, regardless of whether others have symptoms or not.
Instructions for household contacts who are not required to self-isolate from 16 August.
Even if you are vaccinated, you can still be infected with COVID-19 and pass it on to others. If you are identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 but you are not required to self-isolate, you can help protect others by following the guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread. As well as getting a PCR test, you may also consider:
limiting close contact with other people outside your household, especially in enclosed spaces
wearing a face covering for those aged 11 and over in crowded places such as school/college/public transport
limiting contact with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable
taking part in regular LFD testing
You should follow this advice while the person in your household with COVID-19 is self-isolating.
If you are a health or social care worker or a student undertaking a work placement who has been identified as a household contact and are exempt from self-isolation, there is additional guidance available that you should follow to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 in these settings.
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.
If your child does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from the nhs.uk website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/. If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms, or they are worsening you can seek advice from NHS 111 at https://111.nhs.uk/ or by phoning 111.
How to stop coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading
There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with coronavirus (COVID-19):
get vaccinated – everyone aged 18 and over can book COVID-19 vaccination appointments now and 16-17 year olds are being offered 1 dose of the vaccination by 23 August
wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day
cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
meet people outside and avoid crowded areas
open doors and windows to let in fresh air if meeting people inside
wear a face covering if aged 11 and over when it's hard to stay away from other people – particularly indoors or in crowded places
participate in twice weekly LFD testing following national guidelines (recommended for 11 years and over). We encourage you to log your results here: https://www.gov.uk/log-test-site-covid19-results
Further information is available at