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Key Workers Letter 200320

20th March 2020

Key Workers and school provision

Dear Parents and Carers,

As you know, we have now been told that schools will be closed from Friday for the majority of children.  As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing. And the most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear.

Government advice states: ‘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 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.’

We have now been sent the list of eligible key workers for child care provision in schools.                                                                                   

Priority will be given to families where both parents/carers are key workers, or to single parent/carer families, where the parent/carer is a key worker.

You can find the government guidance at

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.

This is quite a big list! How are we going to manage this?

School staff of course are not immune to becoming ill – and we have needed to make a plan that will keep our staff as healthy as possible and also ensure continuity of care for our children, in the event of illness levels rising. This is especially important as we remain open over the Easter break.

We have therefore decided to adopt a hub model of child care, involving Colne Engaine, Belchamp St Paul, Ridgewell and St Margaret’s CofE Primary,Toppesfield schools – all small, rural schools like ours. This means that we have a bigger pool of staff available, so that we can manage all ages and needs of children, as well as any illness in staff.

Children that continue to come to school during this period will be based in one of the schools in bold – chosen because they all have a school kitchen where a hot meal can be prepared. All school staff will be involved in supporting them on a rota basis – and there will always be staff from your child’s school at each host school.

Children will be offered a hot meal during the day for the usual cost – payable in the usual way. Children can also bring a packed lunch. Week 1 – starting 23.3.20 – will be based at St Margaret’s School, Toppesfield

Week 2 – starting 30.3.20 – will be based at Colne Engaine

Week 3 – starting on 6.4.20 – will be based at Ridgewell

This will then continue until things get back to normal.

Children should arrive at the host school at 8.50am and they should be collected at 3.15pm.

They do not need to wear school uniform – but should arrive in clothes suitable for outside PE lessons each day. They should also bring a personal water bottle, clearly named.

Please make sure your child’s school has up to date medication so that this can be taken to host school.

We can send directions if needed. Please let us know if your child is usually provided with school transport, as we can support in these cases.

In order for us to work out how many of you work in these areas, if you think you are a key worker and you have no other means of caring for your children, please get in contact with us to let us know by email by 12 noon today, to , if you haven’t already let us know.

We need to know

Your name:

Your child’s/children’s names and year groups

Your job role:

Your partner’s job role:

Days that supervision will be needed (i.e. all 5 days, only mornings, Mon to Weds etc): This needs to be as specific as possible please, in order for us to ensure correct levels of staffing. It will be very difficult for us to accept ad hoc bookings – except in an emergency.

We shall contact you later in the day to confirm whether this has been possible, as schools have been advised that they can only accommodate 20% of the usual school numbers.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the amazing staff that we have in our schools - who work so hard to make sure children have had happy and calm environments in which to learn.

Stay safe and well – we shall see you soon!

Mrs Stephanie Newland