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National lockdown to come into force on Wednesday 6 January

The Prime Minister has announced that a new national lockdown will come into force at 00:01 on Wednesday 6 January.

During the period of national lockdown, schools, alternative provision, special schools, and colleges will remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers only. All other children and students will learn remotely until February half term.

All early years providers including our school nursery (but not including reception years in primary schools) can remain open during this period of national lockdown.

The DfE do not think it is possible for exams to go ahead fairly this summer. The Secretary of State for Education will be asking Ofqual to consult rapidly on an approach for alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.

The DfE know that receiving face-to-face education is best for children’s mental health and for their educational achievement. They will be reviewing the restrictions on schools, colleges and universities and will ensure that children and young people return to face-to-face education as soon as the pressures are easing on the NHS.

This Government decision does not suggest that schools and colleges are no longer safe places for young people. Instead, limiting attendance is about reducing the number of contacts that all of us have with people in other households.

The DfE have resisted closing schools until now, but in the face of the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and intense pressure on the NHS, they now need to use every lever at their disposal to reduce all contacts outside households wherever possible.

For vulnerable children and the children of critical workers, who can still attend school or college, as they did in March to May, and their teachers, the system of protective measures means that any risks are well managed and controlled.

The Government are responding to the intense pressure on the NHS, but that pressure is not driven by children. They are not seeing significant pressure from coronavirus (COVID-19) in paediatrics across the UK. The new variant appears to affect all ages but we have not seen any changes in the severity among any age groups, including children and young people.

The overwhelming majority of children and young people have no symptoms or very mild illness only. As cases in the community rise there will be a small increase in the number of children we see with coronavirus (COVID-19) who only rarely require admission to hospital.

Vulnerable children and children of critical workers who can attend school and college

During the period of national lockdown, we will only allow vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to attend. Children with at least one parent or carer who is listed as a critical worker are eligible for a school place. It is not necessary for both parents to be critical workers.

The critical worker list has been updated to include new workforces whose work is critical following the end of the EU transition period – please visit  the following link for more information https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision?utm_source=4%20January%202021%20C19&utm_medium=Daily%20Email%20C19&utm_campaign=DfE%20C19

Attendance recording in schools

Vulnerable children are still expected to attend school full time (except if they are shielding, self-isolating or quarantining). We encourage vulnerable children to attend school but if the parent of a vulnerable child wishes their child to be absent from school, please let the school know that they will not be attending. The Department for Education expects schools and colleges to grant such applications for leave given the exceptional circumstances.

As with vulnerable children, critical worker parents and carers should let schools know if their child will not be attending.

All pupils who are not expected to be in school are not attending because they are following public health advice and there will be no impact on their school attendance figures.

Free school meal provision

During the current school closure due to the national lockdown in England, Warrington local authority have decided to issue vouchers for children who are entitled to benefit related free school meals.  Vouchers will be issued for children who are not in school.  If your child is in school they will receive their free school meal as normal. 

You can collect your voucher from the school office or if you prefer we can post your voucher to your home address (please note that we will use the address on our system for the priority 1 carer).  At this stage we are only issuing Tesco vouchers and a voucher will be issued for £12 week commencing 4/1/21 and £15 per week thereafter during term time until lockdown ends. As this is a Warrington decision at the present time we will update you on the DfE vouchers system as soon as we can.  Vouchers can be collected from 2pm on Friday 8/1/21 from the school office.

If you have any queries about school meal vouchers we ask that you email the school at Christchurch_Primary@warrington.gov.uk rather than phoning due to reduced staffing in school.

Useful information

Please find below some guidance we hope you will find useful.

Coronavirus Guidance

Coronavirus - IMPORTANT

What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

We have updated the guidance on what parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to include the latest information on self-isolation and shielding, who needs to get a test for coronavirus (COVID-19), face coverings, assessment and exams.

Please read this information carefully before contacting school.  

Remember the guidance on whole household isolation in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

  • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started
  • if you live with others and you or another member of the household have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 10 days. The 10-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 10 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
  • for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 10-day isolation period.

The symptoms are:

The following ARE symptoms of coronavirus

Individuals will need a test if they have any of the following:

  • A high temperature: any new high temperature where the person feels hot to touch on their chest or back (you do not need to measure the temperature);
  • A new continuous cough: coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours;
  • A loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste: a noticeable loss of smell or taste or things smell and taste different to normal.

Individuals do not need a test if they have a runny nose, are sneezing or feeling unwell but do not have a temperature, cough or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste because these are not normally symptoms of coronavirus.

The full stay at home guidance for households with these symptoms can be found here:

Coronavirus Testing

For guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested please follow link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

Department for Transport travelling advice for parents and pupils

The Department for Transport has issued advice on how parents and pupils can travel to school safely as part of the #TravelSafely campaign. Resources have been developed to ensure that parents, pupils and staff have the information they need to stay safe on the public transport network. This includes information developed in collaboration with respected partners on how to cycle and walk safely, where possible.

Resources can be found here:

https://extranet.dft.gov.uk/safer-transport-campaign/schools/

Coronavirus Information

Self-isolation period reduced from 14 days to 10 days from 14/12/20

Self-isolation is essential to reducing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) as it breaks the chains of transmission. After reviewing the evidence, the Department for Health and Social Care is now confident that we can reduce the number of days that contacts self-isolate from 14 days to 10 days. This was set out in the UK Chief Medical Officers' statement on the self-isolation period on 11 December.

From 14/12/20, the self-isolation period for close contacts of a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed from 14 to 10 days. This change applies to all those who are currently self-isolating including those who commenced self-isolation before today. This means that if you are on the 11th, 12th or 13th day of your current self-isolation period today – you can stop isolating. Any new cases identified for self-isolation will be advised to self-isolate for 10 days.

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