January 2021 COVID
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope everyone had as good a Christmas as was possible under the circumstances, and I hope 2021 is better than 2020.
As I know you are aware, we are in the midst of a new and scary wave of the corona virus. This new variant is a great worry and we must all be very careful in how we go about our daily lives. With this in mind I have decided to run the school differently to how I had planned it over the last two weeks. I spent most of the Christmas holiday trying to sort how we were going to test everyone safely and just when I thought we had got it ready, the announcement on Monday night changed everything again.
I know that you had texts and emails and telephone calls over the holiday telling you different things at different times. I apologise for that but truthfully every time I thought we had a plan to put to you, the rug was pulled beneath my feet and I had to change again!
However, I am paid to deal with these things but I never thought I would have to run a school during a pandemic. I was very proud of our record in the first term of the year. My job is to keep everyone safe and I think as a school we did manage to do that. We did have cases of corona but I do not believe that any cases were spread in school. I was also proud of the fact that when we did our curriculum monitoring in December we found that the boys had made a remarkable recovery in their levels during this term.
With the advent of this new variant I can honestly say that even with all the safeguards and testing in place; this term it would have been more difficult to stop the spread in school. The spread of the virus in Dudley is rising so rapidly that I think the lockdown of schools was inevitable. I have found it very difficult personally to keep having school closed. I have done this job for thirty two years and I am used to being surrounded by kids in school. I honestly miss them and really cannot wait until we are back to normal and all vaccinated.
To make sure that everyone is as safe as possible I have decided that we will have to have reduced numbers in school. I did not want to pick and choose which children, so I thought it best that we have all the children in, but on a rolling programme.
We can therefore have each pupil in school at least once per week allowing us to support learning, continue to meet pupil’s emotional and social needs and guide pupils with virtual lessons.
Mrs Stallard and Mrs Cooper are setting up an online platform to allow pupils to remotely access all work and resources and we will get this out to you as soon as we can.
Mrs Guider will continue to support any safeguarding concerns and manage free school meals.
Counselling, Educational Psychology and Music lessons will still be able to be accessed online.
Every child will have the opportunity to be tested once per week.
This is how I need to do things initially but I am hoping that in short order I can raise the numbers in school.
I know this is a major nuisance for you and I totally understand that children need to be in school; but they also need to be safe as do the family members they live with. It would break my heart if a child here took corona home to a vulnerable family member. Many of my staff and myself included have vulnerable family members so we do understand your concerns.
All of our parents and carers have been so supportive of us and I cannot thank you enough.
We are living through a terrible time and let’s hope that by next Christmas this whole thing will be relegated to a question in a pub quiz.
Staff will be contacting you again soon but if you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please get in touch with us.
Finally please read the message below from Dudley Public Health
Unfortunately since Christmas, COVID-19 rates in Dudley have been climbing rapidly with no evidence of slowing. The 7 day rate is currently at 600 per 100,000, which is the highest we have seen through the pandemic and is almost double the rate before Christmas. Coronavirus case rates are increasing across all age ranges including children. In contrast to earlier waves where the case rate increased at different times in different areas of the borough, the rates are now increasing rapidly across all towns of Dudley borough. Such high rates are causing huge pressure on local NHS hospitals and it is critical that they are brought back under control with extreme urgency.