Dear Parents and carers,
Positive Covid-19 Cases
We have been notified that there have been another two positive coronavirus test results for students at Wollaston School.
Both students are recovering well and we have sent best wishes to the families. One student is in the Sixth Form bubble, and was tested towards the end of half term. They were last in school on the 21st October. This student was not infectious whilst at school and there is no further action required.
The other student affected is in the Year 9 bubble and around 25 students who had been in close contact with the individual who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have been collected from school and have received a letter informing them that their child must stay at home for 14 days. Thank you to our staff and most importantly, the student affected for identifying these close contacts so quickly and for parents for arriving to collect students who must self-isolate so promptly. Work will be set on Go4schools for those who are self-isolating.
The school remains open and your child should continue to attend as normal if they remain well.
We know that you may find this concerning but we are continuing to monitor the situation and are working closely with Public Health England. The information below is provided as advice from Public Health regarding how to minimise risk. Please be reassured that for most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.
What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID 19
If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must not come to school and should remain at home for at least 10 days from the date when their symptoms appeared. Anyone with symptoms will be eligible for testing and this can be arranged via https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.
All other household members who remain well, must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. This includes anyone in your ‘Support Bubble’.
The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
Household members should not go to work, school or public areas and exercise should be taken within the home.
If you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, or walking a dog, you should ask friends or family. Alternatively, you can order your shopping online and medication by phone or online.
Household members staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
If you are able, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.
If your child does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from the nhs.uk website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/. If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms, or they are worsening you can seek advice from NHS 111 at https://111.nhs.uk/ or by phoning 111.
How to stop COVID-19 spreading
There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- wash your hands as soon as you get home
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
Further information is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
As mentioned previously, our policy is always to follow Government and DfE guidance on all aspects of Covid security in school. We welcomed the change in the national position on face coverings – although perhaps a little more notice would have been nice! However, students, parents, staff and our local community have all responded incredibly well. Thank you for the instant and effective support and we have been appreciative of the efforts to ensure that every student arrives at school with an appropriate face covering. We will be taking a strict line with their use as per the guidelines and will contact home and sanction immediately if a student is not complying with wearing their face covering as they should. Thank you in advance for supporting the message at home. If we all act responsibly as individuals, we will achieve a collectively safer school community.
As we will be wearing face coverings for the foreseeable future, I would also like to highlight the following guidance, which shows not only how to make a face covering, bus also has points on maintaining them and on the importance of correct usage and washing. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own#:~:text=Wash%20your%20face%20covering%20regularly,covering%20if%20it%20is%20damaged.
We appreciate parental support with ensuring that face coverings are washed and/or changed regularly and I know may students already bring in a spare in case of loss or breakage.
Please also note that we recommend a small re-sealable plastic bag to help with safe storage in lessons, when eating or drinking or when socialising in open spaces outside.
As a school community, we do appreciate that this is a time when many families are experiencing hardship and providing face coverings is an additional expense. We have been contacted by a team of volunteers from the local community who are busy making washable fabric face coverings for students whose families may not easily be able to provide them. They are aiming to make 500 masks and will give out 2 face coverings to each eligible student in a plastic resealable bag for hygienic storage. We will ensure that these masks are “quarantined” before distribution. Further details of how to collect these face coverings will follow, and thank you so much to all those in the local community who are supporting our students in this way – it is greatly appreciated.
Out of School Activities
Whilst the national guidance has been incredibly clear on face coverings, it is slightly less so on a number of different points. Some of these ambiguities relate to extra-curricular work and after school sessions. There are a number of issues on which we (and all schools nationally) are looking for further clarification, but I just wanted to outline our approach based on the current guidance as we understand it.
- Any club or activity which runs in school hours (break / lunch) CAN still go ahead as planned. Obviously these sessions will still have to comply with all current bubble systems and all control measures and guidance.
- Any after school activity which is focused on education or training CAN still go ahead. For example, catch up sessions, revision lessons, 1-1 or group tuition. These sessions must comply with all bubble systems and protective control measures.
- Detentions: Students will be delighted to learn that these CAN still go ahead as planned. Again subject to bubble systems and control measures.
- After School sport, music, drama, enrichment clubs. Our working assumption is that these CAN NOT go ahead as planned. However – we are waiting for final Department for Education confirmation on this.
- Any activity which involves fixtures or face to face contact with other schools, institutions or non-essential external visitors CAN NOT go ahead.
If you have any specific questions on any planned activity – please do get in contact and I will advise accordingly.
Free School Meals
Parents will be aware of the considerable controversy regarding provision of free school meals or vouchers during the half term break – and particularly the high profile campaign of Marcus Rashford. We are pleased that as a result of this, Northamptonshire County Council did make provision for eligible families to claim shopping vouchers for the half term week.
In most cases, these vouchers will already have arrived using existing email contact details. However, if you son or daughter is entitled to Free School Meals and you have not yet received a voucher for half term, it is not too late to claim.
If a family has access to email
All parents will need to do is access the claim form using the link below and complete an online request for a voucher. Once their eligibility has been confirmed they will receive a voucher via email.
If a family does not have access to email:
The family will need to contact NCC’s Customer Service Team on 0300 126 1000. An advisor will take their details, ask them to confirm which supermarket they would like a voucher and a hard copy will then be sent my post to the family’s home address.
Children In Need 2020
This year’s fundraising event take place on Friday 13th November 2020. Whilst we are obviously fairly curtailed in what we can offer, we do want to offer all students the opportunity to have a non uniform day. Obviously clothes must be suitable for the weather and if your child has PE on one of these days – the clothes should be appropriate for participation in these lessons as students are not currently allowed to get changed. Face coverings will of course be compulsory as per existing rules.
Donations will be £1 per person and monies can be donated through ParentPay, or cash can be given to the year teams on the day.
SIXTH FORM OPEN EVENING
A reminder that our virtual open evening for prospective Year 12 students in September 2021 will open on 19th November 2020. Although we can’t meet in person, we will provide a full suite of video and online information to enable students to experience a flavour of our large and successful Sixth Form please sign up to Eventbrite HERE. Early details are available on our website. www.wollaston-school.net
Thanks you as always for your unstinting and rapid support during this week, and throughout all of the current national crisis. Please have a restful weekend, we hope that lockdown is bearable and that you and those you love remain safe and well. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us via email on Fitzhughj@wollaston-school.net
Mr James Birkett