School Closure – Key Workers
20th March 2020
SCHOOL CLOSURE: KEY WORKERS & SCHOOL PROVISION
As you know, the school is closing at 1.00 p.m. day today and will not be open again for the foreseeable future. Since my letter yesterday, and after a prolonged wait which caused considerable uncertainty for both schools and parents, the government released its latest guidance at midnight last night.
As I know you will appreciate, this has given schools very little time to assess how provision may be offered and what capacity can be made available.
The purpose of school closures is to drastically reduce the numbers of children and adults coming together to try and curb the spread of infection during this national crisis. Therefore, even if your child is eligible to attend the reduced provision we will offer, I would urge all parents to only use this option if absolutely necessary, i.e. there is no parent at home and no other option available.
If children can be cared for at home during this time, they should be. If we are to protect as many people as possible including your children, my staff and their families, it is vital that we allow as many people as possible to remain at home and practice “social distancing”. The government have recognised this is the only way to start to control the spread of the virus:
“…… the most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 IS CLEAR. 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.” Gov.uk
The government has provided a list of occupations that are considered to be “Key Workers” which is copied at the end of this letter. Although initial reports suggested that both parents needed to come into this category, the guidance now states that if only one parent is a key worker they can be considered for school provision.
We will be offering a limited number of school places here at Grange Park Infant & Nursery. These will be offered on a priority basis as follows:
- Vulnerable pupils; those with a named social worker or an EHCP (we have contacted you if your child falls into this category)
- Single parents who are key workers
- Pupils where BOTH parents are key workers
- Pupils where one parent is a key worker if they cannot be safely looked after at home
Several key worker parents contacted us yesterday to register their interest for school provision. We now need to know which days/times of the week your children would need to attend. Please contact the school office with this information TODAY to allow us time to make provision arrangements for next week. Use this e mail address to apply: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the light of the new guidance, if you now believe your child may be eligible, please get in touch today using the contact above. You will need to provide proof of employment.
If we are able to offer your child a place, please note the following:
- On site provision will NOT be normal school; children will not be having formal lessons/teaching
- Children will be supervised by a small team of staff and this will vary from day to day
- We can only offer normal schools hours – 8.55 a.m. – 3.20 p.m. for Reception to Year 2 and Nursery 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- Children attending do not need to wear school uniform and should enter and be collected via the main doors at the front of school. (Please note no parking will be allowed in the staff car park)
- We will still be able to offer some form of lunches to all children on site; alternatively children can bring a packed lunch.
- Whilst we will endeavor to offer this provision for pupils, please note that a total school closure may still be necessary if I do not have sufficient staff available (due to sickness or self-isolation).
PLEASE BE AWARE THAT TOTAL SCHOOL CLOSURES TO ALL PUPILS CANNOT BE RULED OUT IF GOVERNMENT DIRECTIVES CHANGE
Children who are eligible for benefit-related free school meals but who are being cared for at home will be entitled to receive some assistance during this period of school closure. This may be in the form of shopping tokens or similar. I will be in touch when we know more about how this will work in practice.
I realise that this is a very unsettling time for many people and school closures are an added source of anxiety. This is the same for our school staff who are equally concerned about the safety of their own families. Please bear with us while we navigate this new way of working; we are doing our best to help the national effort at this time.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding.
KEY WORKER LIST
If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision.
HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE: This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontlines health and social care staff include volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medial and personal protective equipm
EDUCATION AND CHILDCARE: This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.
KEY PUBLIC SERVICES: This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
LOCAL AND NATIONAL GOVERNMENT: This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms’ length bodies.
FOOD AND OTHER NECESSARY GOODS: This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sal and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).
PUBLIC SAFETY AND NATIONAL SECURITY: This includes police and support staff, Mnistry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff). National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.
TRANSPORT: This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating dueing the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
UTILITIES, COMMUNICATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES: This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including bt not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.
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.