It has been a first half term like no other and I would like to thank you for your support and understanding as we’ve worked our way through it. As we know, the number of COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases has continued to rise in Newport, as in the country as a whole and we have had to have year groups out of school self-isolating at times. Whilst this is deeply frustrating, it is to protect everyone of course and therefore a necessary step.
The fact that there appears to have been no transmission of the virus between learners and/or staff in school is a reassuring indicator of the effectiveness of the systems and processes we have in place in school up to this point. Please read the ‘First Week Back After Half Term’ section carefully in this newsletter for information about which learners need to attend school for the first week after half term.
As always, please continue to be vigilant for symptoms of coronavirus in your children and do not send them to school if you suspect they have any symptoms. The following guide is taken from the NHS website:
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
* a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
* a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
* a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
If your child does display any symptoms please inform the school, arrange for a test and then let us know the result of the test as soon as possible.
End of Day Times
Whilst we are happy with the effectiveness of almost all of our systems to reduce the risk of transmission of Coronavirus, we still have some concerns about the end of the school day. Despite learners leaving via five different exits (allocated for their year group), we still have children meeting up outside school and unintentionally mixing
across year groups. This increases the risk of transmission of the virus across year groups. We are therefore considering staggering the end of the school day to reduce this risk. This would only mean a change of approximately 10 minutes at the most for some learners, who would leave slightly earlier than others. This is still being reviewed and we will communicate further if and when we decide to go ahead with it. This type of arrangement is in place already in a number of schools across Newport.
We continue to have difficulties contacting some parents/carers by phone. Please ensure that we have your up to date contact number – if you are unsure, please get in touch with us to check. It is vital that we are able to contact you, not only for a coronavirus related matter, but for any emergency or urgent reason. Please note that a call from school may show a ‘number withheld’ or similar message on your phone. It is vital that we are able to contact a listed ‘emergency contact’ for your child at any time during the school day. Not being able to do so potentially presents a safeguarding issue which we may need to take further with the local authority and social services.
First Week Back After Half Term
As you will be aware, due to the ‘firebreak lockdown’ measures announced in Wales we will only be open for learners in Year 7 and 8 for the first week after half term. A very small number of learners from other year groups may also be asked to attend at the discretion of the school and you will already have been contacted or will be today if this includes your child.
If your child is attending school and uses public transport, please check with the bus company as timetables may have been changed due to the lockdown restrictions in place in Wales.
All other learners will need to stay home and undertake home (blended) learning. This means that they should undertake learning for specific subjects when they would normally have been in that lesson in school. We recognise that not all learners may have access to the internet or have an appropriate device (eg laptop, chrome book etc.) at home – please let us know via email firstname.lastname@example.org if that is the case with your child and we will provide a home learning pack for them.
Do contact us if you need any other support with home learning – your child can of course communicate with their teacher via Google Classrooms if they have internet
access. We have been informed that all year groups will return to school the following week (Monday 9th November).
If your child is in the very small group attending school but not in Year 7 or 8 (as referred to above) and normally receives a free school meal, you should have received a voucher for this week (this is only for those learners not in Year 7 or 8). This means that your child should bring their own food to school as a free school meal will not be provided in school in addition to the voucher.
Exams in the First Week Back
We have a small number of learners who will be sitting exams in the first week after half term. Of course these learners are not in Years 7 or 8. However, they should still attend for their exam and then leave school immediately after. Where possible, parents/carers should arrange for them to be dropped off and collected and learners should not arrive too early. Those learners involved have been spoken to in order to ensure that they know exactly what they need to do. However, as always, if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to contact us. Please be aware of any changes to the times and frequency of public transport should your child have to use the bus to get to school for their exam.
Finally, once again I would like to thank you all for your support and understanding as we move through these unusual times. I recognise that this continues to be an anxious time, but please be assured that we will continue to do everything within our control to minimise risk and keep your child safe whilst in school. I hope that you have a good half term break and I look forward to welcoming our learners back initially on Monday 2nd November (Year 7 and 8 and identified learners from other year groups) and then on Monday 9th November for all learners.