Corona Virus (COVID-19) – Statement from the Trust 20/03/2020

Friday 20 March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

Thank you for your support in these unusual and
testing times. Our advice as a Trust is to try and keep your child at home so that the
spread of the virus is halted. This will help to keep them safe, your families
safe and our communities safe. We must
do more now to safeguard our futures
.

Below
is the advice that has just been released by government:

  • The most recent scientific
    advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear.
  • If children can stay safely at home, they should,
    to limit the chance of the virus spreading
    .
  • That is why the government has asked parents to
    keep their children at home,
    wherever possible, and asked
    schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
  • It is important to underline
    that schools remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the
    journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower
    the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider
    society.
  • Schools are, therefore, being
    asked to continue to provide care for a limited
    number
    of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents
    are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
  • Vulnerable children include
    children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare
    needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’
    children, young carers, disabled children and those with education,
    health and care (EHC) plans
    .
  • Parents whose work is critical
    to the COVID-19 response include those who work in health and social care and
    in other key sectors outlined below. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure
    their child is kept at home
    , and every child who
    can be safely cared for at home should be
    .

Please, therefore, follow these key principles:

  1. If it is at all possible for
    children to be at home, then they should be.
  1. If a child is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker,
    then we will try and make school
    provision available for them.
  2. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to
    be in the stringent social distancing category
  3. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are
    not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus.

Trust Advice:

Keep your child at home and adhere to the social distancing
guidelines. 

The following questions should also help to determine
whether you really need to ask the school for your child to come in:

  1. Are you a ‘key worker’ as defined by the
    government advice?

Please check the
definitions in the government advice in Annex 1 below

  • If yes, have you confirmed with your
    employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, your specific
    role is necessary?

Not every role will be essential to continue.  Please confirm this as a matter of urgency
with your employer.  There may be
circumstances where individuals are essential only for certain days or parts of
the week.

  • If you are still required to go to work, can
    your child be left safely at home?

For most of our older children, they will be in a position to take care
of themselves and look after younger siblings. 
It is important that they are safe to do so.  Checking in frequently with them is one way
of managing this.

  • Is there someone else who can safely look
    after the children?

The starting point will be a partner who does not work in a key worker
category.  There may be others who can
safely support your children. 

  • If you still need your child to attend
    school, can this be limited to specific days or times?

Some parents have already confirmed that they only require their child to
be looked after for a limited time/number of days.  This is very helpful as it helps to reduce
the amount of social contact.

  • If you still need your child to attend, are
    you able to transport your child to school?

Somerset
County Council will aim to provide a bus service on Monday next week.  After that, we should be telling them what
transport we require so that we limit the number of bus drivers that need to
come out.

Schools are operating an emergency service only and not a
general child care service.  We wish to
fight the virus together and our aim is to stop the spread of the virus through
self-isolation.

If you really think that your child fits the emergency
service criteria in this letter please email your school with your child’s
name, year group and your personal contact details in case we need to close
that school in an emergency.  Schools
hold the right to make final decisions on their capacity and ability to take
children in this emergency period.

Thank you for your support in these very difficult
times.  Keep safe

Gavin Ball

Chief Executive

Annex 1:
Key Worker Definition as defined by UK Government

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 support staff 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 arm’s 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.

Transport
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.

If workers think they fall within the critical categories above they should
confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity
arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this
essential public service.