***PLEASE READ*** VERY IMPORTANT GUIDANCE
Guidance and Control Measures for the Final Week of Term 19-23/07/21
I attended the Stockport Headteacher’s Directorate Meeting via Teams last Friday morning, where the Director of Children’s Services and the Leader of Stockport Public Health were in attendance. The main priority on the agenda was managing Covid risk during the final week of our summer term.
As you may be aware, national social distancing restrictions are due to end on 19/07/21 and the vast majority of schools in the country finish on Friday the 16/07/21. However, Stockport Primary Schools do not finish term until Friday the 23/07/21 and this difference of a week presents some challenges.
The Local Authority and Stockport Public Health have strongly recommended that during the period from 19/07/21 to 23/07/21 all Stockport Primary Schools maintain their class bubbles and Covid system of controls to avoid any pupils, parents or staff having to isolate into the holiday period. Broadstone Hall Primary School will be following this advice.
At the meeting we were told that there has been a steep rise in the number of positive Covid cases for children age 0-9 in Stockport with the rate moving to 428.6 per 100,000. We have seen the impact of this rise this week with three bubbles being sent home and in one of those bubbles, 5 children have now tested positive. This week we are also now faced with covering at least 15 absent members of staff due to Covid related issues.
These staff and children will filter back into school over the next two weeks and all of them will hopefully be back before we finish on 23/07/21. However, if we have to send any classes or staff home from the end of this week, this will then mean isolation periods lasting into the holiday period and potentially ruining people’s holiday plans and we do not want this to happen to anyone in our school community.
Having spoken to my fellow cluster head teachers in the Heaton’s Schools, the vast majority of them have decided to follow this recommendation to maintain their system of controls during the final week of term.
This means that any planned events for children will be held in bubbles and parents will not be able to attend. I am very sorry about this situation and I fully understand that this will be very disappointing to some parents, but I feel that to ignore this recommendation would be foolhardy and reckless, especially as we are now so near to the summer holidays.
The most recent guidance from the department of education states that “From 16 August 2021, children under the age of 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.”
This means therefore, that children who are positive or who have been identified as a close contact will still have to isolate up to that date.
In September we are planning to have a full reopening without bubbles or social distancing as recommended by guidance that is being put in place from 16/08/21, although some control measures around handwashing, cleaning and ventilation will still be expected.
I sincerely hope that this will be the last time that I have to write to you about the negative impact of Covid on the school community and through the impact of the vaccination programme, together we can look forward to a situation that is almost back to normal from September.