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Important school opening update

Monday 4th January 2021

 

RE: Coronavirus update

 

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

Portsdown Primary School and Nursery will be closed from Tuesday 5th January for face to face learning for all but vulnerable pupils and critical worker pupils. Eligible children will be expected to attend every day. This will be in place until at least, and including, Friday 15th January 2021. This applies for the main school only. Additional information for the Nursery is near the end of this letter.

 

Eligibility: For Critical workers, both parents will need to be Critical workers. For single parent households, just that parent will need to be a Critical worker.

Vulnerable children are those with current Social care involvement or have an EHCP.  

If you think your child is entitled to attend school either through the Critical worker or Vulnerable child route, please email the following email: keyworker@portsdown.portsmouth.sch.uk

 

Evidence required: We will need to see evidence that both parents are Critical workers. Evidence can be in the form of a letter from your employer, a recent pay slip showing your name or a current work rota with your name on it – feel free to cover over personal information. ID badge will not count as appropriate evidence as many can be replicated or are not current.

 

You can take a photo of the evidence and attach it to the email.

If you are unsure if your child should be attending school as a child of a critical worker, please keep your child at home and contact the school office either by telephone or email.

 

For a definition of ‘Critical worker’ and ‘Vulnerable children’ please see the following website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision

 

Breakfast club: We currently only have children of critical workers or vulnerable children at breakfast club. This will carry on running as normal.

 

Lunches: For children who are entitled to benefit related free school meals and who are not in, we will provide lunch parcels for you. We will order these in and text you when they are ready for collection. These food parcels will last for 2 weeks.

 

The Decision:

This decision has been made due to the rising levels of infection caused by the new variant and follows advise to staff that it is not safe for us to return to teach such large numbers of pupils.  The unions have followed the science of SAGE who do not believe schools should reopen to all pupils until at least mid-January.

 

They do recognise the difficulty this causes and state:

“We realise that this late notice is a huge inconvenience for parents…  We are reacting last minute as we were hoping the Government would make a decision to close schools and follow their own scientists’ advice”. NEU

 

Education for all pupils will continue as we will be offering remote learning, which we will be organising now and will start from tomorrow, Tuesday 5th January. Please get in touch with your child’s teacher if you cannot access Google Classrooms.

 

We hope and expect that this way of working will only be temporary, the vaccination is now being rolled out and hopefully this new wave will soon be brought under control.  I do understand that this decision may be difficult for some families but we believe that the health of our school community is paramount and that staff, pupils and their families cannot be put at risk.   It is inconsistent under tier 4 restrictions to mix 30 families without social distancing or PPE given that we were all advised over Christmas not to mix with even one household of immediate family.

 

Additional Nursey Information: For our Nursery the eligibility criteria is slightly different reflecting the lower transmission rates in that age bracket. If both parents are working (you do not need to be Critical workers) or your child is classed as vulnerable, then we can offer you a place. Please get in touch with Ruth or Lisa in the Nursery if you have any questions about this.

 

I will of course keep you update of any changes and communicate this to you via the school website, Facebook pages and Marvellous Me.

 

Please support the school and stay safe.

 

Yours sincerely

Mr A Vaghela, Headteacher

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