Dear parent / carer,
In the light of the Government briefing yesterday, the Head Teachers of the Norfolk Complex Needs schools, will be discussing how we can support our communities over the coming months. Parkside’s risk assessment and contingency planning has a graduated approach; in summary, fully open, partially open and fully closed. The risk assessment considers a great deal of variables such as staff and pupil absence, attending staff members’ specialisms and training, cleaning, medical, transport and catering staff absence. Staff members have been asked to make their own assessment around the safety of them attending work in line with Government advice.
We have moved to the partially open phase of our risk assessment. We will be making daily assessments of the situation as people’s circumstances are likely to change as the pandemic progresses. We are aware that in the light of the Government briefing there will now be staff members who will need to be at home with their own children. We also identify that there are staff members who fit into the higher risk categories who are currently attending school who will need to self-isolate themselves very soon. We were expecting to move to the fully closed phase next week.
The school leaders are making plans for the school to support our community in the safest way it can. The measures being discussed include: issuing free school meal vouchers to eligible families, regular telephone contact for families and staff members who might need it, important planned meetings by telephone and remote support for education in the home via our website. We hope to be able to issue some alternative emergency telephone numbers to families soon to aid communication and clarify support arrangements.
Please be assured that we are working to enable people to remain as safe as possible in the coming weeks and months. Decisions made will involve our Governors, the Local Authority, Social Services and colleagues in other complex needs schools. The situation may change rapidly, so we would urge people to check updates on our school website for the latest information.
The Government has asked all schools to try to stay open for children whose parents / carers are in the frontline public services in the context of Covid-19. We would be very grateful if you would let the school know as soon as possible if you fall into this category and would like the school to consider support. As the pandemic proceeds, scientists are telling us to expect a significant percentage of the population to contract Covid-19. If you or a family member contracts the disease, please let the school know immediately. We can then use all of this information when making our risk assessments. [The school can be contacted via: firstname.lastname@example.org]
We have been contacted by family members concerned that they will be required to send their child to school if the school can remain open in any way. Please be assured that all absences will be authorized.
In order for us to make the necessary plans for our next steps, we will be closing the school on Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th next week for all pupils. Those staff who can attend will be able to better focus on planning suitable curriculum resources and organising free school meal arrangements, as requested by parents. We will also deep clean the school.
The phrase “unprecedented times” has been used many times when describing the situation in which we find ourselves. We realize that everyone in our community will be feeling anxious. Some will be feeling very confused with so much advice – some of which is conflicting in the context of education and vulnerable children. Please be assured that all decisions made will be with the best intentions of keeping everyone healthy, and will consider Parkside’s particular situation.
Bob Holderness, Head Teacher
Steve Hobbs, Chair of Governors