I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year from all at Harlow Green. We very much hope that you have all had the enjoyable, restful, and safe Christmas you have all needed.
Staff are in training today with a specific focus on teaching and learning as well as curriculum development. Regardless of the pressures, we are continuing to develop our provision so that your children have the high-quality education they deserve.
As you will be all too aware, cases of Covid-19 have increased greatly with the new Omicron variant. Although this appears to be milder than previous versions, it is still leading to illness and the need for people to isolate. Over the next few weeks, this will create a challenge for us to manage but we will do so with the support of families and we know that by working together we can help to keep our whole community safe.
The information below will hopefully answer the general queries there may be at this point.
How will school be organised?
School will be organised exactly how it was before the holiday period. Children will be able to come back to school and see that they have the same timings and systems as before, which will be supportive of them getting back into routines for learning. We want children to feel the consistency and security they always do when in school with their friends.
For parents/carers, dropping off and collecting children will be in the same places and at the same times.
How do I support school?
When adults are on site, we would ask that they think about the health of others. Keeping some distance between adults and people wearing face coverings will all be supportive of reducing risk in school. We know that face coverings can be awkward, but they are a simple measure that the vast majority of people can implement, easily.
The most important aspect that will help keep school open and running successfully will be monitoring your child’s health and ensuring that they do not come into school if they have (or potentially have) Covid-19.
How should I now monitor my child for Covid-19?
Please look out for any of the three main symptoms (this does not mean all together):
- New, continuous cough
- High temperature
- Loss of taste or smell
If your child has any of these, they must not come into school and should have a PCR test organised as soon as possible.
If your child has symptoms and is having a PCR test, the office should be informed for our attendance procedures.
The result of this test should be emailed to the office. Your child can return to school after a negative test or will continue to isolate after a positive test (see further information below).
Please remember that home LFD tests are not to be used for children with symptoms. Schools will not accept these as a negative result where a child has symptoms.
If a child tests positive on an LFD test that they have taken at home, they must then have a PCR test organised for confirmation. However, they will have to remain absent from the school in the meantime.
You can try and book a PCR test here: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test , by going straight to a walk-in testing centre (e.g. Gateshead Library) or by calling 119. We are aware of issues sourcing these tests currently, but hopefully this will improve.
What happens if my child is a close contact of a family member/friend who tests positive?
From December 14th, 2021, the government strongly advised that all close contacts of someone with COVID-19 take a Lateral Flow Device Test (LFD) every day for 7 days. So, if you have a case in your house, or amongst your close contacts, can we please ask that you do this with your children (who are five or older) so we can try and reduce the risk of this variant spreading around school and our community.
We may well be offered new advice and guidance from the Government or from Public Health and Health & Safety teams in Gateshead, in the coming days and weeks. As always, we will keep you informed of any relevant changes, and we will continue to do everything in our power to keep your children and our community as safe as possible.
If my child contracts Covid-19, when can they return?
If your child tests positive for COVID-19 they must isolate for 10 full days. We will support them with learning at home if they are well enough. Children can return to school after 10 days if they don’t have a high temperature.
However, new guidance means that you may now be able to end the self-isolation period earlier if they are able to undertake Lateral Flow Device tests.
If your child is feeling well, they can take a Lateral Flow test (LFD) from 6 days after the day your child’s symptoms started (or the day their test was taken if they did not have symptoms), and another LFD test the following day. The second LFD test should be taken at least 24 hours later. If both these test results are negative, and your child does not have a high temperature, they may end their self-isolation after the second negative test result and return to school.
If your child does not have a negative test on day 6, they are only able to return after two consecutive negative tests (e.g. day 7 and day 8) or after their full 10-day isolation.
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE FIRST DAY OF SYMPTOMS (OR OF THE POSITIVE TEST) IS IDENTIFIED AS DAY ZERO.
The diagram below from the government website may help to explain.
I would like to thank you in advance for your understanding and patience as we start the term with inevitable uncertainty.