As you will be aware, school is closing today to almost all children, until further notice. This is to reduce the spread of the virus as much as possible by reducing the numbers of children and staff in schools to a minimum.
As advised by the government, we will do all we can to stay open with a skeleton staff for the children of key workers (e.g. NHS staff, police, others in frontline services), children with an EHCP and children with a named social worker. Please note that when school is open for key workers, it will be providing childcare and not education, although the home learning tasks will be expected to be completed. Robins will continue for key workers's children.
Below I have recorded the different groups that the government are currently classifying as key workers:
Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
Education and childcare
This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
Key public services
This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
Local and national government
This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies.
Food and other necessary goods
This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
Public safety and national security
This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services
This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
As I am sure you can appreciate this is quite an extensive list, it is therefore vital that we know as a school how many parents are planning on requiring this childcare provision from Monday. If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors identified, and cannot keep your child safe at home then your child will be prioritised for childcare provision.
If you believe this to be the case, please can you email the school office: firstname.lastname@example.org Please can you provide details as to what you are employed as so we have this information. We will also need to see proof of your employment but this can be provided at a later date. In the email can you please indicate, how many days you will need the childcare for as some parents may only work part-time and may not need all 5 days.
Please can I point out to all parents the following important scientific advice:
If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading. This is why the government have asked parents to keep their child at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
Therefore if any parents whose children fall into these categories may be able to make arrangements for their children not to be in school this is helpful as it is important that we reduce numbers as far as possible. Schools have been advised that in order to remain safely open (even for key worker families) we should not be having more than 20% of our children in school and ideally fewer. Therefore, if we have significantly more families requiring provision than this we may not be able to offer the service due to our current staffing numbers.
Please note that this is a national closure – as you may have heard in the news – so while it is a challenging situation, we are not alone.
If your child is entitled to free school meals we will also be in touch with more information about how we will may continue to provide this, with support from a scheme that the government has just announced that will enable us to issue vouchers. It is our understanding at this time, that vouchers will only be provided for pupils with a registered entitlement to FSM.
It is important that you continue to follow advice on self -isolation if any members of your family show symptoms. You must maintain the full 14 day period of isolation to ensure that children are not sent back into school before this. And remember: if you or your child feels ill and you want to know what to do next, please use NHS 111 online.
In addition, please bear in mind that this childcare provision for key workers will remain subject to the school having sufficient staff available to enable them to remain open.
Thank you again for your continued support, and I will be in touch with more information when we can. This is such a challenging time for us all and we wish you and your families good health in the difficult weeks ahead.