Coronavirus

St. Vincent’s Catholic Primary School has worked really hard to comply with the government advice to make our school as safe as possible whilst maintaining a happy, inspiring learning environment.

Government guidance for parents and carers can be found here.

We regularly review our Risk Assessment and you can read the latest version here (most recent update 04.01.22).

On Saturday 27th November the the Prime Minister made an announcement regarding the new Omicron variant of Covid. The following day, the Department for Education issued new guidance for schools advising that face coverings should be worn in communal areas by all staff and visitors.

As there is currently uncertainty about the spread of the new variant we are constantly reviewing all our procedures and practices at school. We are working really hard, as we have done throughout this pandemic, to balance the need to keep our school family safe whilst ensuring a high quality education for children, with high regard for maintaining their wellbeing-and we have tried to communicate clearly with parents at each stage.

The latest Westminster advice for parents and carers can be found here.

One of the ways that parents can support us to maintain a safe school is by following the advice below and keeping your child at home if they display any symptoms of coronavirus and getting tested as soon as possible. If your child develops symptoms at school and you have difficulty booking a test please speak to Miss Coleman.

COVID-19 Symptoms

The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) 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

On 30th June Public Health England advised the the symptoms of the new Delta variant are:

  • headache
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • fever

These symptoms present as a common cold so schools have been advised to have a low threshold of suspicion for cases.

Please see the letter from Public Health here.

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if you have any of these symptoms. Get a PCR test to check if you or your child has coronavirus and stay at home until you get your result.

If your child is not displaying the above symptoms, but is unwell for example with an upset tummy, please keep them home, as always so they can recover and not pass this onto others.

Response to Infection

If anyone in our school develops a new and continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), or presents with a common cold (headache, sore throat, runny nose, fever) we must:

·       send them home to begin isolation – the isolation period includes the day the symptoms started and the next 10 full days

·       advise them to follow the guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection

·       advise them to arrange to have a PCR test as soon as possible to see if they have COVID-19

Other members of their household are advised to have a PCR test.

Testing

If your child is displaying any of the COVID-19 symptoms described above, testing is available for all ages (including the under 5s). If children report symptoms,  parents should apply to have a coronavirus (COVID-19) PCR test. These are available for all ages (including the under 5s) and online via the NHS portal https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/ or by calling 119.(119 is the Covid number for NHS Test and Trace. 111 is still the number for all other non-emergencies.)

As one of the measures to keep our school family safe, all staff working at St. Vincent’s undertake lateral flow tests twice every week. This testing is important because staff could be carrying the virus without knowing it and may spread it to others. Testing all staff without symptoms supports our school to continue to operate and breaks the chain of transmission.

Asymptomatic Testing

All adults in households with school age children without symptoms can access regular rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing.

Undertaking regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing helps reduce transmission of the virus. This includes childcare and support bubbles.

Tests are fast, easy and completely free. There are different ways for a household, childcare or support bubble to collect their test to take at home, twice-weekly:

·       through your employer, if they offer testing to employees

·       by collecting a home test kit from a local test site – anyone aged 18 or over can collect 2 packs of 7 tests

·       by ordering a home test kit online – please do not order online if you can access testing through other routes, this frees up home delivery for those who need it most
If you have any queries about the tests, and you live in England, please call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines). Lines are open every day from 7am to 11pm.

Children of primary school age (and below) without symptoms are not being asked to take a test.

Testing is voluntary, but strongly recommended to all who are eligible. Alongside the vaccine, washing hands, wearing face coverings, and maintaining social distancing, rapid testing plays a vital role in reducing transmission rates. Getting into the habit of regular testing as part of our everyday lives will help us all to play our part and do what we can to protect each other.

Public Health England Letter To Parents

Symptomatic testing

The asymptomatic testing programme does not replace the current testing policy for those with symptoms. Anyone with symptoms (even if they recently had a negative LFD test result), should still self-isolate immediately according to government guidelines. Those with symptoms are also expected to order a test online or visit a test site to take a lab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to check if they have the virus. It remains imperative that the system of controls continues to be rigorously applied to enable the safest possible environment. The testing programme is an important addition to supporting leaders to maintain the continuity of education through the pandemic.

Remote Learning Plan

We have developed  a Remote Learning Plan in case a class needs to self-isolate, or there is a local lockdown requiring pupils to remain at home. A summary of this is below. Using Google Classrooms will  enable children to have daily interaction with the class team and the use of video explanations of the tasks by the classteacher. To support those families with limited devices we have purchased Chromebooks that pupils can borrow. However, as much as the technology is essential, we have looked to provide activities that can be completed away from the screen, with lots of reading and written work to be completed in books as well as physical activities that can be completed indoors. The work set matches the school curriculum and  tries to mirror the school day so there is consistency and routine, and it will be easier to return to school after the designated period of remote learning.

Click here to see our Catch Up Plan. We are using the full amount awarded by the Catch Up Premium but greatly supplementing this with our school budget and independently raised funding (COVID Fund).

Thank you once again to everyone who contributed to our COVID Fund-your donations have benefitted everyone in our school family and helped us to ensure that our remote learning offer is ready immediately and addresses the needs of our school community.

What is Coronavirus?

For all of us, COVID-19 , sometimes referred to as Coronavirus , can be difficult to understand. There are a number of different ways of trying to explain this virus to children, and to show that there are measures they can take to keep safe.

Coronavirus: A Book For Children

Mindheart.co Child Friendly Explanation of Coronavirus

COVID 19 Self Care Kit