Wednesday 1st April:
Today is the last day of the spring term, so it's worth giving a quick summary of our current status:
We hope that school will completely reopen before the summer holidays, but this is impossible to predict. If, as a key worker, you find that your shift pattern, home circumstances or nature of your work change during the holidays such that you have no alternative but to seek emergency childcare for your primary age children (not pre-schoolers), please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . It is important that you do this - we may be able to advise or come up with a solution. This will be monitored once per day during the holidays. It is for no other purpose - children remain their parents' responsibility during school holidays. No other communication method will be monitored.
One last thing - please add my class to your child's Google Classroom - the code is vly35rg - finally I have a captive audience for my stories! Right now you will find Chapter 1 of 'Dark Towers' (Look & Read) on there, which is well suited to Years 3 and 4 but Years 2 and 5 might well enjoy it too. There is also the continuation of my reading of 'Rebecca's World' by Terry Nation, for my Year 3 story group at school - we are now onto Chapter 17. I hope it all works as planned!
I wish you a happy and peaceful Easter.
With kind regards,
Monday 30th March:
Week 2 of school closure - key worker childcare planned at least until Wednesday 1st April - the last day of the spring term. Guidance and advice changes daily over whether this childcare will be able to continue through the Easter holidays. If we are able to offer this to key workers, we will make contact directly. During the Easter holidays, Google Classrooms will not be updated or monitored by teachers, until the summer term begins on 20th April. We hope you are all keeping safe!
Friday 27th March:
Closure of nurseries/pre-schools
We are aware of local nursery and pre-school settings closing and have passed this concern directly onto the Local Authority, as unfortunately we cannot accommodate pre-school children at Worstead School. Parents should call the LA central telephone number 0344 800 8020 and the Early Years team will work with families in finding alternative provision.
First day of school closure:
For your convenience, the headteacher's message and the setup document for Google Classrooms, just in case of teething troubles! Please look in your child's Home Learning book for all their logins and passwords, printed and ready for use. Good luck!
Monday 23rd March:
Good morning! Unless you have already received a conditional offer for emergency childcare via email on Friday, please DO NOT come to school. Worstead School is CLOSED.
A letter to all parents will be issued by email today to give further information. Please do not make any non-emergency calls or enquiries prior to this, as I hope to answer all your questions. We have no office staff.
As usual, I will try to text out to alert you to an incoming email.
Sunday 22nd March 2020:
Worstead School is closed due to the coronavirus outbreak until the Government instructs us to re-open. It is not safe for schools to be open. The virus is rapidly spreading and the number of deaths is increasing daily.
Please protect our NHS and other frontline workers. Children we offer an emergency care space should only attend if absolutely necessary because their parent/carer has a vital role in the fight against the coronavirus. We have been asked to log the details of each child accessing the emergency care with the Department for Education and Children's Services daily for their monitoring purposes.
If the infection is passed on by a child attending the emergency care sessions, we would be forced to close the provision, leaving hospitals and other key services understaffed. If staff have to self-isolate or become ill and we cannot safely supervise children, we will have to close this service.
You may need these staff. They may be the difference for you or a family member between life and death. Think carefully about using an allocated emergency care place for your child.
Please stay inside and keep children home and safe.
The safest place for your child is at home.
If your child has an underlying medical condition, including asthma, the guidance says they should stay away from others for 12 weeks. It would not be sensible to send them into school or another provision as they are at an even more serious risk if they catch the virus.
Everyone should be socially isolating unless it is essential to leave the house. Please do not let your children go out to meet friends or go to the park etc. We can only stop the spread if people follow all of the guidance.
Please take all recommended precautions. We want to keep our community safe and protected.
Thursday 19th March:
Letter issued at 3pm; no guidance received from government so far. Key Workers are still undefined.
Tomorrow children will be shown how to use Google Classrooms, which will be our online learning platform for the foreseeable future. They will also receive an exercise book which will have all their logins necessary, and instructions for parents. Any children currently self-isolating or absent for other reasons will have this posted out, unless someone is able to come and collect from the school at home-time. We will leave them on the outdoor stage for collection.
Wednesday 18th March, evening update:
You may have seen the news earlier this evening - schools will close to most children from Monday onwards, in an effort by the government to contain the spread of coronavirus. We received this news at the same time as you. Although we have some emergency plans in place, mainly to try and deliver online learning of some kind until the end of this term, this is an unprecedented situation and small primary schools like ours are not set up to take this in our stride easily. However, you can rest assured we will do our best.
You will have many questions, and so do we. We hope to answer them before the weekend.
Once the details of the expected partial closure are received, and full guidance from the government and local authority is issued, we can begin to plan further. In particular we will need clarity over which children will need to be undertaking their online learning at school, during normal school hours, from Monday onwards. As soon as possible, you will receive further information via email.
Wednesday 18th March:
We will be issuing a text and a follow-up information letter to all parents via email, this evening, following a government announcement expected at 17:00. The actions we have taken so far this week are in compliance with the latest school-specific Local Authority advice in order to maximise staff availability in school and minimise the number of visitors entering the school building. Plans for offering online learning are underway.
Tuesday 17th March:
We continue to follow government guidance and this includes daily cleaning and disinfecting of high touch areas before and after busy times e.g. door handles and door push plates at break, lunch etc. Children are reminded regularly about hand washing with warm soapy water and we continue to supervise them to ensure they do so.
As you can imagine, there are many 'moving parts' to a school that are not apparent to children or parents. To maximise the number of staff available on site and concentrate our resources on classrooms and children, all training courses, meetings, events, assemblies etc. have been cancelled until Easter at least. From tomorrow, all non-essential visitors will be cancelled, including our many volunteers. We expect that as we near the end of the week, our staffing will gradually reduce.
For the time being, breakfast club and after school clubs and care are still open, although these are vulnerable to low staffing. Swimming and trips are still expected to go ahead unless these are cancelled by the providers, or the school is not open at that time.
Rest assured, we expect to remain open whilst it is safe and manageable and we have not been directed to close. We are not making a 'big deal' of coronavirus to the children at school, apart from enforcing the basic safety routines to children, so as not to worry them too much. Thank you for your messages of support for us in this tricky time!
Monday 16th March - evening update:
Following the latest government announcement this evening, the advice has changed.
If anyone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus (cough or fever) the whole household must self-isolate for 14 days. In this case, your child should not attend school for this period. Please call, leave a message or email to let us know in the morning.
Monday 16th March:
We follow in full the advice given below.
Today, the Department for Education and Public Health England have issued updated guidance for education settings on COVID-19. This guidance will assist staff in addressing COVID-19 in educational settings. This includes childcare, schools, further and higher educational institutions.
What you need to know:
The updated guidance can be found here:
Current advice remains in place: no education or children’s social care setting should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.
The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce would be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to education or children’s social care settings will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.
Friday 13th March:
You will all be aware of the PM's announcement yesterday that there will be no blanket school closures for now. We follow this evidence-based advice given by the government and Public Health England. The wellbeing of our children, staff, families and the wider school community is more important that anything else.
Our current stance is this (and will be updated in response to new health guidance):
We are proud of our important role in the local community and we will not close unless we are directed to; or if the safe management of the school or general health is put at risk. It would be irresponsible to stay open in these circumstances. If this happens, we will do the very best we can to provide home learning that is as easy to access as possible. Please ensure the office has your latest mobile number and email address.
We await further advice from the government, Norfolk County Council and the health authorities.
Thursday 12th March:
We continue to follow advice from Norfolk County Council and daily bulletins from Public Health England. It now seems possible that widespread school closures may be ordered and the situation may be out of our hands. We are working within our school and coordinating with other Norfolk schools in trying to plan for this.
As a precautionary measure it would be useful to us to know how many children have internet access and a laptop or tablet they can use if some form of online learning has to be delivered temporarily. Parents will be texted out today.
Monday 9th March:
Welcome to our temporary page about coronavirus. Worstead School receive daily information bulletins from Public Health England and take health decisions based on this advice. The children have been taught about how to wash their hands and prevent spreading coughs and sneezes around, as they are every 'flu season'.
You can help to slow the spread of Coronavirus!
Department for Education Coronavirus helpline - this helpline has been set up to answer questions about the virus related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline.