Self isolation periods – URGENT

Sent on Behalf of Gareth Drawmer, Head of Service Achievement & Learning

Dear Colleagues,

I hope and trust that you are all keeping well during this final stretch of the term. You will all be aware of the government change to isolation – revising it from 14 days to 10.

Having confirmed with public health, we can say with clarity that this applies to all those currently self-isolating, with regard to schools this applies to both staff and students.

Therefore, if you currently have groups that are self-isolating it would be appropriate to  revise the timeline through which they can return to school and notify parents that their period of isolation ends sooner than originally planned.

We are aware that this will necessitate changing your plans for this week (again) and I apologise for asking you to do this, but the change in this period will mean that more children can have an end to their term in school and more vulnerable children will have contact with professionals prior to the holidays.

Thank you for your patience, forbearance and flexibility throughout this time.

Warm regards,

Gareth

Gareth Drawmer

Head of Service

Achievement & Learning

Proposed Christmas INSET 18th December

Sent on behalf of Simon James, Service Director Education and Gareth Drawmer, Head of Service Achievement & Learning

Dear Colleagues,

I am sure that you will all now be aware of the government announcement on Tuesday for schools to consider closing on the 18th December. The guidance that has been issued is clear, that schools may consider voluntarily closing on the 18th December to ensure that, given the time it takes for Covid to present in individuals, any tracing activity that needs to be completed by a school will be closed by the 23rd December. It is clear in the guidance that this is a voluntary choice presented to schools and there is no obligation for you to do this. Clearly the consequence of choosing not to do this may mean that school leaders could be contacted on Christmas Eve to facilitate track and trace.

If you do choose to move an INSET day we are aware of the significant consequences of this action. You will have planned your staff training for the year and may have commissioned external trainers to deliver the sessions. Many of you will have front loaded your days this year due to the challenging nature of the autumn term and you may not have the option to move a day. You may also not be in a position to deliver training to staff on the 18th due to the short timeframe of the announcement.

We would therefore suggest the following options for you to consider when making your decision:

If taking the 18th as a training day

  • Consider disaggregating the time from the day and spreading it across the remainder of the academic year as twilight training sessions to cover the hours from the day.
  • Where possible take out a training day from this academic year to compensate for the December date.
  • Remember that moving an already published INSET day may have consequences for families who have planned holidays around that day and to reassure them that they will not be penalised for following through with their plans.
  • If you have no available INSET days that you can flexibly move – consider a variation to a term date to compensate for the additional day. The most natural point for this would be to extend the summer term for a day, closing on Thursday 22nd July

If not taking the 18th as a training day

  • Consider the impact on staff with regard for childcare on that day if their child’s school is closing
  • Ensure that you have robust plans in place for track and trace support if needed on Christmas Eve
  • Consider taking the day as a remote learning day for the school with appropriate levels of activity for pupils for the day.

As always we are happy to discuss any issues that you may have and to support you in your decision making. We are aware of the time pressure for decisions to be made and we hope that our position as set out above is helpful to you and your leadership teams.

Warm regards,

Simon & Gareth

Updated COVID-19 Outbreak Guide

Sent on behalf of Dan Flecknoe – Consultant in Public Health

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

Public Health England have sent an updated flowchart (v4.1) for the management of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in schools and Early Years contexts.

Schools & Early Years Settings COVID-19 Outbreak Guide v3

TV edu settings flowchart V4.1

 

We have taken this opportunity to update the COVID-19 Outbreak Guide for Schools and Early Years Settings at the same time. In version 3 of the guide, attached above, we have highlighted the new/changed guidance and made some minor changes for clarity, as well as embedding the updated Public Health flowchart.

 

Many apologies for the number of different versions, but we want to make sure you always have the most up to date information to support you.

Covid management update

Sent on Behalf of Gareth Drawmer, Head of Service Achievement & Learning

 Dear Colleagues,

We are coming to the end of what has felt like a very long term. Everyone has had to manage the day to day complications of a school with significant Covid restrictions, and the vast majority of schools have had to make some very difficult decisions regarding the closure of bubbles, or in some case the whole school. We recognise the complexities that this term has meant for school leaders and the pressure that all of this has placed on you. We cannot thank you enough for your professionalism and careful consideration of the issues when making decisions that affect children and families.

Unfortunately, we are still seeing a significant number of cases across schools in Buckinghamshire with our highest number of schools needing to close yesterday. Even with the first people receiving the vaccine today, we have a long way ahead before life moves closer to normality, please continue your current strong monitoring of the staff and student populations and manage potential cases and individuals who have tested positively both sensitively and robustly. If you have to close down bubbles or even the whole school then we would ask that you refer to this as a move to remote learning rather than labelling it as a closure. Whilst the school buildings may be closed, you and your staff are still providing education to the children and this better articulates this to parents. When you take a move like this it is important for you that you have discussed this with public health as this provides you with a strong rebuttal if there is a challenge from parents. We also ask that you have a discussion with the Local Authority if you are making a decision to move the whole school to remote learning or if you have a substantial number of students who will have to stay at home. We will help you to sense check your thought processes and can give you a wider view based on our experience of other schools’ actions.

Throughout the pandemic, schools have supported children of keyworkers and vulnerable children very well, and we would ask that you continue to consider these children in your planning for moves to remote learning and where appropriate that they maintain a physical presence in your school. Where these pupils need to work at home, please maintain a high level of contact to ensure that they have the ability to access the learning, are engaging with it and are safe and secure. We all know that for many children, the approach of the holidays can be a period of acute anxiety and I know that this will be reflected in your thinking.

I hope that the last two weeks of term are manageable for yourselves and your staff, please contact us via the SIS mailbox or myself directly if there is anything that we can do to help.

Warm regards,

Gareth

Gareth Drawmer

Head of Service

Achievement & Learning

Summary of Guidance New National Restrictions from 5 November 2020 for schools and OOS activities

Sent on behalf of Gareth Drawmer – Head of Achievement and Learning

Dear Colleagues,

You will no doubt be aware of the DfE guidance for schools that was published yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon. Whilst the document was mostly a reiteration of previously published guidance, the School Improvement Team have summarised it for you.

Summary of Guidance New National Restrictions from 5 November 2020 for schools and OOS activities

At the Local Authority we all recognise the pressures that all school staff, but especially school leaders, have been placed under in recent months. It is a challenging time and we are grateful for the dedication and professionalism that you have shown. As we enter a second lockdown it is clear that we will need to draw further on our reserves to be resilient in the face of the work ahead.  Teams at the Local Authority are here to offer guidance and support to you and hope that you find this valuable.

 Warm regards,

Gareth

Gareth Drawmer

Head of Service

Achievement & Learning

Press release – New guidance for schools, colleges and early years

Guidance for education settings published ahead of national restrictions coming into force

Published 4 November 2020

DfE: EHE guidance pieces for parents and LAs

Sent on behalf of Gareth Drawmer – Head of Achievement and Learning

Good Afternoon,

Please see the document attached, thank you.

EHE Your Duties Our Expectations

Kind Regards

Tracey Erasmus

Side by Side Support Officer and Educational Visits Coordinator

Children Services

Buckinghamshire Council

Updated COVID-19 Outbreak Guide

Sent on behalf of Dan Flecknoe – Consultant in Public Health

Schools Early Years Settings COVID-19 Outbreak Guide v3

TV edu settings flowchart V4.1

Dear Colleagues,

Public Health England have sent an updated flowchart (v4.1) for the management of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in schools and Early Years contexts.

We have taken this opportunity to update the COVID-19 Outbreak Guide for Schools and Early Years Settings at the same time. In version 3 of the guide, attached above, we have highlighted the new/changed guidance and made some minor changes for clarity, as well as embedding the updated Public Health flowchart.

Many apologies for the number of different versions, but we want to make sure you always have the most up to date information to support you.

Kind regards,

Daniel Flecknoe

Consultant in Public Health

Adults and Health Directorate

Buckinghamshire Council

 

01296 387054

daniel.flecknoe@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

Reducing ‘close contacts’ in schools

Sent to all heads today

Dear Colleagues,

We have had communication from Public Health South East regarding the high number of children across the Thames Valley and South East being sent home as a ‘close contact’ of a confirmed case of COVID-19 and missing weeks of school as a result. Public Health South East guidance states that:

A contact is a person who has had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 during their infectious period (48 hours before to 10 days after onset of symptoms, or test if asymptomatic). This includes:
• a person who has had face-to-face contact (within 1 metre) with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), including:
o being coughed on, or
o having a face-to-face conversation, or
o having skin-to-skin physical contact, or
o any contact within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
• a person who has been within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) for more than 15 minutes
• a person who has travelled in a small vehicle with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or in a large vehicle near someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)
• people who spend significant time in the same household as a person who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)
Identification of contacts in an educational setting will depend on the arrangements the setting has in place to minimise mixing. In a primary school, this is likely to include the class teacher and other students in the bubble/class. Identifying contacts in a secondary school setting may be more complicated, given any necessary wider group mixing to allow for a full curriculum. If social distancing is in place this will reduce the number of contacts identified.

Public Health South East are requesting that schools aim to further reduce mixing of staff and pupils, to limit the number of pupils who fit the above ‘close contact’ criteria. To this end, Buckinghamshire Public Health team recommend that all schools:
• establish a consistent seating plan for all lessons (as much as possible in older secondary school classes, even with movement between classes)
• review mixing of pupils at lunchtime; consider pupils eating lunch at their set desk places or having set tables for classes bubbles in the dining hall with sufficient safe spacing between bubble groups
• allocate class bubbles different areas of the playground
• reiterate the importance of social distancing to teachers and support staff
• limit as much as possible the movement of TAs and how TAs mix with pupils, and record details of movement and mixing

We appreciate this is further work for schools and thank you for all you are doing already to ensure the safety of your pupils and staff.

Kind regards,
The Equalities and School Improvement Team

PPE Letter To Schools (CofG email)

PPE stock for symptomatic pupilsv3

Sent to all heads this afternoon.

Good Afternoon,

Please see the letter attached from Gareth Drawmer in regards to PPE stock for symptomatic pupils.

Kind Regards

Tracey Erasmus (Assoc CIPD)

Side by Side Support Officer and Educational Visits Coordinator

School’s Team l Children’s Services

Buckinghamshire Council

01296 383030

tracey.erasmus@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

Unit 9 Abbey CNT, Weedon Road, Aylesbury, HP19 9NS

Monday to Thursday – 9am to 5pm

Friday – 9am to 4:30pm

Have any questions about coronavirus? Visit our frequently updated FAQs page for schools: https://schoolsweb.buckscc.gov.uk/covid-19-corona-virus-latest-advice/