Dear parents and carers of Key Worker children
On Friday the Government issued new guidance relating to schools providing cover for the children and carers of families where at least one parent is a key worker.
The term ‘key worker’ has changed to ‘critical worker’ and the eligibility criteria changed to those parents and carers whose:
‘work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and EU transition response’
The guidance also explicitly asks that:
‘parents and carers should keep their children at home if they can.’
We are currently looking after, on average, 60 children each day and this necessitates nearly all school staff to be in full time to look after this number of children.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the threat it poses to society has dramatically increased since Christmas. We are now, once again, in a national lockdown and the strict rules by which we have to live are imminently going to be made more stringent; the Government’s chief medical advisor, Professor Whitty, has spoken this morning explaining that we are about to go through ‘the most dangerous time of the pandemic.’
I ask you therefore, if you are currently a key worker family, to look at your situation and, if at all possible, to keep your children at home.
As a minimum, if you work part time, your children should not be in school on your days off; also, if a parent or carer in the household is working from home then you should not be sending your children to school: 60 children in school and nearly all staff is inherently a dangerous situation. Staff and children are at significantly increased risk of contracting Covid-19 because the transmission rate of the new variant has increased by 70%. Even though the virus has little effect on primary age children, the increased threat for the virus to be passed between households and families, including school staff, now means that, to mitigate this, numbers of children and staff on site must be reduced. At the beginning of the March lockdown, we were averaging between 4 and 8 pupils each day!
So, in conclusion I ask:
- If you are working from home, please keep your children at home.
- Ask yourself, ‘is my role absolutely critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) or EU transition response’. Please do not send your children to school if you are not.
In this first instance, I hope that my request will lead to a reduction in the number of children requiring critical worker cover. I can then rota staff, especially clinically vulnerable or critically clinically vulnerable staff who are currently coming into school each day, so far less time is spent in school thus reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19.
As headteacher, my duty of care to my staff is to risk assess and mitigate as much as possible the significant threat that the COVID-19 virus poses. If numbers of required critical worker places does not reduce, then changes in procedures to keep staff safe, including a reduction in on site staff, will inevitably impact on critical worker child cover where it is genuinely needed.
Thank you in advance for your continued support.