End of term letter from Mrs Webster
A copy of this letter was emailed home to families today.
Illustration - Norwood Christmas Card 2020
Angus in Yr 8
17th December 2020
Dear parents, guardians and carers,
Thank you for your support throughout this term and particularly during the last couple of weeks when it has been necessary to close the school prematurely in response to a significant increase in the number of positive Covid cases. Many of you have expressed your gratification for this decision to ensure the health and safety of all the community and their families. You understand the challenge that the school was facing which is now reflected more widely in the Government’s decision to move London into Tier 3 restrictions.
You are telling us that the quality of our remote learning provision has vastly improved upon our initial efforts earlier in the year. You suggested ideas to us and we have listened. There is more live teaching, more interaction and more engagement from students. Obviously where staff have been unwell themselves, this style of teaching has not always been possible but I do hope there has been good quality work produced which has enabled students to work independently. Again we are on a journey here and will continue to improve.
A team of staff have been contacting families to update the information that we hold on students’ access to IT whilst working from home. A significant number of households who are eligible for lap tops have been offered the opportunity to loan one and more will follow. Over 100 will be with students before the end of term.
Our own ‘Track and Trace’ system has proved robust and will continue until 22nd December and reopening again in the New Year. What this means in practice is that parents are asked to inform the school via the designated email firstname.lastname@example.org if their child tests positive for Covid 19. This will enable school leaders to track any known contacts and advise if there is a need to socially isolate. What our recent experiences have shown us, and what has surprised many parents, is that young people are often asymptomatic – they show none of the recognised symptoms : a high temperature – a new, continuous cough – a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Symptoms however that are being reported to us are: a headache that won’t go away; extreme fatigue, aching limbs; dry eyes; feeling cold and dizziness. It has caused us to ask if this is the new strain of Covid that has been reported in London and the South East?
I attach a letter from Ruth Hutt, Director of Public Health , London Borough of Lambeth which invites Lambeth school students and their families to book Covid tests via the NHS on-line booking service if asymptomatic. Because London is now Tier 3 with infection rates increasing and as many as 75% of positive cases being asymptomatic, individuals are being encouraged to book a test. This more widespread testing programme is felt necessary to capture ‘silent’ transmission and hopefully prevent and reduce further outbreaks. Any families wishing to access these tests will need to tick the box which says you have been asked by the Local Authority to test even though you are asymptomatic.
Earlier this week the Government announced plans to roll out rapid Covid lateral flow tests to all secondary schools from January. This it seems will include medical testing providing reassurances to staff and rapid daily testing for staff and students – with parental permission – who have been in contact with positive Covid cases. At present we have no idea what is expected of schools, how this will be arranged or how much it will cost. As soon as we have more information we will share this with you. If it reduces the need for self isolation and the disruption this causes it is positive but I cannot see how schools on their own will be able to deliver such a mammoth programme without external support. The devil is in the detail and as we head into the Christmas holiday period that is missing.
Tomorrow is a Professional Development Day for staff so there will be no lessons set remotely. School will be closed to all but the Premises Team who will oversee a specialist cleaning team. This will provide a deep cleaning service to ensure the premises is Covid free and ready for January opening. We hope that parents will be reassured to know that Public Health England, who we have been working with closely, have confirmed they are more than satisfied with respect to the steps we have been taking to maintain the safest possible environment here at school for staff and pupils.
Staff will be continuing their anti-racist education training programme in association with the charity ‘Show Racism The Red Card’. Throughout the term we have discussed diversity, openly and honestly, asked questions, listened to answers and held difficult conversations in order to understand. If you would like to join our discussions why not watch what our staff are watching over Christmas in order to challenge racism more effectively. Our recommendations are:
Anton Ferdinand : Football, Racism and Me (BBC)
Small Axe (BBC)
Black and British : A Forgotten History (BBC)
Damilola Taylor : The Boy Next Door (C4)
Black Sheep (You Tube)
When They See Us (Netflix)
We have also read ‘The Good Immigrant’ by Nikesh Shukla. Any parent wanting to borrow a copy should contact Kristian Galea, Lead Practitioner and KS3 Coordinator (email@example.com) Doreen Taiwo(History teacher) (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ben Parsons (Lead Practitioner & KS5 Coordinator Humanities) (email@example.com). It would be amazing to have more parents learning and discussing alongside us.
School will reopen on Tuesday 5th January. We will be confirming arrangements for the start of term ovia email on Monday 4th January 2021.
Don’t forget that there is plenty of Covid 19 related advice and resources that you might find helpful here on the school website.
Please keep us informed if your child contracts the corona virus over the holidays by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We do hope that you have a restful, enjoyable and healthy Christmas and New Year.