Full return of schools from 8th March 2021
Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, has categorically stated it is the right decision to open schools fully from 8th March. In the government briefing of 22nd February, he stated:
There are overwhelming advantages for children being in school, from an education and life path point of view
The risk to children is low from going to school and catching COVID-19. The risk is not zero but it is so much smaller
Given the huge benefits, the evidence is strongly in favour of children going to school
The reason why schools were closed except for those pupils who need our help most and the children of key workers, is the impact that this can have on R. He said there is now some headroom and it is right that we open schools first. There is a natural firebreak at Easter
He commented that there are several things which take the risk in schools down even further, referencing the increased system of controls and COVID-19 testing of education staff and secondary-aged pupils
Register as a critical worker (until w/c 1st March)
Check your eligibility at the link below:
We strongly advise that parents/carers DO NOT use a critical worker place if there is another adult at home, even if you are entitled to. The national lockdown is intended to minimise community transmission. It will not do this if parents send their children to school just because they can.
Critical worker provision is ONLY for parents who have NO OTHER CHILDCARE OPTION. Using this provision if another option is available will mean that someone who is in need may be struggling to provide care for their child. It also means it will take longer for us to come out of lockdown, as transmission will be higher than it needs to be.
Parents are asked to consider others and ONLY use their local school service if it is imperative to do so.
DfE has amended guidance for parents and carers. Significantly, this guidance now states:
“Your child’s school or college will speak to you to identify whether your child needs to attend. You should keep your child at home if you can. They may ask to see simple evidence to check whether you are a critical worker such as your work ID badge or a pay slip.”
The guidance has also been updated to clarify that parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can.
Please visit your child(ren)'s academy website for details of the online learning programme.
For IT support, please click on the link below:
REPORT A POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST
Attendance will be mandatory for all pupils of compulsory school age from 8th March. Consequently, the Aspire Academy Trust attendance procedure, pre-COVID-19, should be adhered to. Children can still access learning in school if they are simply under the weather with the usual winter coughs and colds. Click HERE for the current Aspire Attendance Policy.
PLEASE NOTE: 119 can be extremely busy. To avoid lengthy waits, 119 may redirect callers to the link below for help/booking a drive-thru appointment.
Ahead of the full 8th March reopening of schools, the DfE has updated the guidance to include a paragraph clarifying the position on the use of face coverings for adults in primary schools:
“In primary schools, we recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and adult visitors in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible (for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas). Children in primary school do not need to wear a face covering."
The Aspire Academy Trust politely requests that when dropping off/ collecting children from school that parents wear a face covering whilst on the school site.
Should you wish for your child to wear a mask on the way to/ home from school this is at your discretion however, as per government guidance above we do not allow the wearing of face coverings by pupils within school. If your child is wearing a mask during their journeys, parents must provide a sealable plastic bag so that their mask can be safely removed and stored during school operational hours.
Testing in schools
Primary age pupils will NOT be tested with LFDs. Public Health England has advised there are currently limited public health benefits attached to testing primary pupils with lateral flow devices. Primary age pupils may find the LFD testing process unpleasant and are unable to self-swab. The DfE will review this approach in the light of any emerging evidence. All staff in primary schools will continue to test with LFDs twice a week at home, as per existing guidance.
Testing at home
Whole families and households with primary school, secondary school and college age children, including childcare and support bubbles, will be able to test themselves twice every week from home as schools return from 8th March.
Please note, schools will not be expected to provide the test kits to families or administer the family testing process.
Test & Trace
The Aspire Academy Trust is actively engaged with the NHS’s Test and Trace protocols.
Should any parent, child or staff member of an Aspire academy display any symptoms of COVID-19, they are strongly encouraged to book a test. Tests can be booked through the NHS’s testing and tracing website HERE. Parents MUST inform the school of test results immediately. Should test results be negative and the person feels well with no symptoms similar to COVID-19, they can stop self-isolating. Other members of the household can stop isolating too.
If someone tests positive, click HERE to follow the government’s ‘Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’. They must continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of their symptoms and then return to school only if they do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of smell/ taste. The 10-day period starts from the day when they first became ill. If they still have a high temperature, they should keep self-isolating until their temperature returns to normal. Other members of their household should continue self-isolating for the full 10 days.
Should there be a localised outbreak, your child's academy will be in touch immediately.
Social distancing in school
Young children are not expected to socially distance within their bubble. Children are taught the benefits of social distancing, but we as a Trust appreciate that this is not possible with the youngest children. We endeavour to minimise the potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practical. Adults socially distance between themselves and when appropriate, from children.
Only essential visitors are allowed to come into an Aspire academy and this is by appointment only. Visitors are provided with an information sheet about physical distancing and hygiene. All visitors on a school site are logged for test and trace purposes, as well as for evacuation procedures. There are currently no volunteers in school.
Free School Meals
Free School Meals continue to be provided to eligible children in school as usual.
Cornwall Council is continuing to process new applications for Free School Meals. Please ensure you read the eligibility criteria HERE before applying. Please complete the ONLINE APPLICATION FORM (also available via the link below) if you are eligible. The Local Authority is not currently accepting applications in hard copy by post. If you are unable to apply online, please call the Free School Meals team on 01872 323298 and a member of the team will call you back to complete the application over the phone. Please make sure your phone will accept calls from a private / withheld number.
Many families are sadly reaching crisis point financially due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. If your financial circumstances have changed you may be entitled to Free School Meals. Please follow the link below and complete the online form.
If you receive a notification confirming your entitlement, please email the Aspire Academy Trust at email@example.com
What do I tell my child?
We all realise how difficult it can be trying to talk to children and young people about global crises. The Cornwall Educational Psychology Service has compiled information, a list of resources and helpful websites for parents to use.
The UK Government is asking all of us to: “Stay alert. Control the virus. Save lives.” We will continue to provide updates and advice on this page.
Please click the link below for up-to-date COVID-19 information from the government.
What parents need to know
For the BBC Coronavirus (COVID-19) news page, click on the link below:
For an NHS overview on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the website below:
Advice for parents during Coronavirus (COVID-19):
Page updated: 1st March 2021