Sunday 1st November - a message from Binks Neate-Evans
I am sending this communication out to you today as many of you may feel concerned about the announcement of the second lockdown.
Firstly, I would like to acknowledge that times are very, very difficult and this news undoubtedly may impact on many of you and our staff families too. We will do our utmost to continue to support our community. Please do make contact with your school if you feel worried about your circumstances and would like to talk with a member of staff. Please do this at less busy phone times i.e. 10a.m. - 2p.m.
We want to be very open and honest in our communication to help you. This does sometimes mean telling you about difficult decisions or changes. We hope you trust we are doing our best in times of very significant challenge. We do acknowledge that not everyone will agree with or like some of the decisions. We are very happy to talk to individuals in a calm and constructive way to explain out thinking. We listen to, value and need your input.
The following are some updates to help you know how schools are responding to the increased challenges that COVID 19 is placing on us all:
The media is playing an important role in communicating information to the public. Sometimes this is not helpful and is speculative, increasing uncertainty for families. We will always try and get information to you in a timely manner. There is currently speculation that schools will close. Please be assured we are strongly committed to remaining open and the measures below will really help this. Our biggest risk is COMPLACENCY as the national media channels continually point out that East Anglia has far lower infection rate than other counties. We must be active and do all we can, collectively, to keep it this way.
To protect you, your children and staff these will be very strongly adhered to. Please ensure that strictly only one person comes on-site at the correct time for drop off and collection. Social distancing must be adhered to all times Parents must now wear masks. Please tell us as quickly as possible if anyone in your household has tested positive or if your workplace has an outbreak. Thank you.
No non-essential adults in school
Unless urgent, there will be no parents or non-essential adults allowed in the school building - this is to protect you, children and staff.
We will be increasing ventilation in classes so keeping warm inside will be important - please bring layers of clothing so that classes can be kept very well ventilated. We will allow children to wear layers or coats if they are chilly. It will be expected that classes will remain ventilated at all times and doors should remain open during break times to increase ventilation. There is very good evidence to show that significant increase in ventilation decreases risk because it reduces transmission by aerosol (the smallest droplets that remain airborne). This coupled with sanitation of surfaces where the risk is from droplet transmission, is our best current defence in a classroom context. It is an important time to remind ourselves and children of the privilege we have in our education system in comparison to challenges faced by schools and children worldwide. This simple measure, whilst being a bit inconvenient, is a balanced way of managing the risk of spreading the virus whilst continuing learning. Please tell us if you have difficulty providing warm clothes or if you have clean clothes we can donate or share.
'There is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing' Alfred Wainwright
No household mixing
Whilst children cannot be held accountable for implementing the new rules about households not mixing, in my view, it is important that they hear the importance of adhering to this from school staff. We hope that by teachers talking to children about it, it will support families to resist caving into 'pester power' - a terrible phrase but I think we all know what it is! It is really important that this new guidance is followed and children are not put in a compromised position by asking them to 'not tell'. This is harmful for children. If we are worried about something a child says we will talk to you about it. If we remain concerned that a family's conduct is putting our community at risk, we are duty-bound to pass on this information to the correct agencies. Naturally, this would be a last resort and I hope to work together, with compassion and kindness, to help us get through this.
In the event of closure of bubbles or self-isolating we are moving towards online learning provision. This has been a massive task for staff to manage on top of their other face to face responsibilities. Please do tell us about any problems you have particularly with lack of access to devices that are appropriate for home learning i.e. laptops/computers and tablets or connectivity. We will try our best to help you overcome this. Evolution Academy Trust has put substantial resource in place to help. There are some challenges in demand being greater than supply.
I do not underestimate the worry and uncertainty that we are all facing. I hope this has gone some way to reassure you about how seriously we are taking our role in this very difficult period. Ultimately, we aim to keep your child's experience at school as positive and fruitful as possible whilst maintaining safety.