SCHOOL CLOSURES & ARRANGEMENTS
As you will be aware from following various media outlets, shortly all schools will be closing for a period of at least four weeks, though recent suggestion is that this period could extend way into the Summer Term. At present, information that local authorities and therefore schools are provided with is changing rapidly, and we are doing all we can to try and keep you up to date with changes as they occur.
Before reading any further, could I emphasise that the purpose of closing schools as they currently work is to restrict and minimise social contact and therefore reduce the risk of being infected by the Coronavirus.
Therefore, if it is at all possible, please keep your children at home.
Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
However, from Monday onwards we are ‘repurposing’ our schools. Quite simply, this means that the school will no longer function under its normal purpose of delivering learning, but will be used as a point of support for Key Workers, and to help reduce the impact of the virus on our communities, including the vulnerable. School buildings will be open between 8am and 4pm with Breakfast Club and a school meal being provided for those. For next week school transport will run at he normal times – this will be reviewed as we become more aware of the need for this service.
We want to ensure that schools will provide caring facilities for parents who are at the forefront of the national effort to fight the Coronavirus disease. We want to ensure that these vital workers are given every opportunity to be in work and to get on with their efforts to protect our lives and wellbeing.
In accordance with the above, and in line with guidance, all the schools in MerthyrTydfil will be open next week to those who are employed within:
- Health and Social Care sectors.
- Education and childcare staff, including Social Workers.
- Key public services, ie those responsible for the management of the deceased.
- Local and national government (This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response, or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits)
- Food and other necessary goods (This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery)
- Public safety and national security (This includes police and support staff, fire and rescue service employees (including support staff) and prison and probation staff)
- Transport (This includes those who will keep the road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass)
Please do not be offended if your Headteacher asks you to provide evidence of your place of work and the hours you work. It is not expected that this childcare would be required by everyone every day, and it should only be used for those times where you cannot secure any other possible care for your child.
IN ALL INSTANCES THE SAFEST OPTION TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF THIS VIRUS, AND TO PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN, IS TO KEEP YOUR CHILD AT HOME DURING THE CLOSURES.
The fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in childcare settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in society.
I cannot emphasise enough that we want to prioritise attendance at school to only those who absolutely need to be there and are eligible to be there according to this criteria. If you fall outside this criteria, schools will not be expected to receive your children. Please be considerate and understanding in these very challenging times.
Our schools will also be open to our most vulnerable learners who will be identified in discussion with Headteachers and Social Services and your school will contact you personally on this.
I am confident that if this advice is followed, we will all make a significant contribution towards protecting our pupils and our staff. These arrangements will be reviewed with our schools on a daily basis and we will keep you informed of any changes through the usual communication and media channels.
If your child is eligible for Free School Meals all primary and secondary schools will be providing Grab and Go bags for even though they are not in school. Lunches will be available for collection from 11.30 – 13.00hrs and your school will explain how these can be collected. The arrangements for this will change as Welsh Government plans are acted upon.
Please complete the form below as a matter of urgency if you are a key worker.