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Covid-19

September 2020:

'Wash Hands, Cover Face, Make Space'

Open Mornings - Tours of the school - temporarily suspended

We are sorry but the additional government measures prevent us from inviting prospective parents to look around the school.  We hope the website gives you a flavour of the school and we will be updating the information with new images and videos early October. 

Gov.uk and Department for Education (DfE) Guidance

Further coronavirus (COVID-19) measures announced by the Prime Minister

On 22nd September, the Prime Minister announced further national measures to address the rising cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in England. These measures will begin to come into force from 24th September onwards. It is vital that children and young people continue to receive an education, therefore, schools, colleges and universities will remain open.

Full details of the new measures and when they come into force can be found in the guidance on what has changed: 22 September.   The DfE is reviewing their guidance, in particular on the rule of six, to understand where further clarity is needed on how it applies in education settings, such as group indoor sports in further education colleges and universities.

Does your child have Covid-19 symptoms?

What are Covid-19 symptoms?

A raised temperature

A loss of smell and taste

A continuous, new cough

  • We have spoken to PHE about the difference between a cough and a Coronavirus cough as we expect coughs and colds over the Autumn and Winter months . They advised that: 'if the pupil can't stop coughing for up to an  hour (continuous) up to 3 times a day, then it is likely to be a Coronavirus  cough and they will need to self isolate and have a test.'  Coughing doesn't seem to solve the tickle.

Children with symptoms should not come to school but instead, get a test.

When the test result is known then school should be informed.

 

A positive Covid-19 test:  

  • If the result is positive, the child stays at home to self-isolate for 10 days minimum.  In addition, the child must not be in school 48hrs after the last symptoms have shown.  Depending on the severity, this may be several days.
  • You notify school.   
  • School informs Public Health England's Local Health Protection Teams (PHE).
  • PHE starts the process of track and tracing and tells the school what to do next in terms of closing bubbles/zones

A negative Covid-19 test: 

  • If the result of the child and family members is negative, the child returns to school.
  • If the child is negative but someone in their home has tested positive then, they self-isolate for 14 days as the virus may incubate for this amount of time. 

The government is clear that schools are not expected to take action such as closing down classes, bubbles/zones or taxi groups when a pupil or staff member is self-isolating at home. If that pupil or member of staff subsequently receives a positive test result, following government guidance the school will seek the advice of the local health protection team and relevant parents/carers will be informed accordingly.

What if other children in my child's taxi or class/zone have symptoms?

  • The child with symptoms will follow the guidance above - not come to school and get tested.
  • You will be informed if we have a positive Covid-19 test if your child has come into close contact with the child/adult (see government information on what constitutes close contact) then PHE will issue further guidance.
  • We will not let families know as a matter of course that children are awaiting test results and will not share negative test results with families.

What if my child only starts to show Covid-19 symptoms during the school day?

Should your child have symptoms during the school day, you will be asked to collect them straight away from a 'quarantined' area of the school, where staff will be waiting with the child, in the same room. You should immediately get your child and your household tested as well and let the school know the outcome.

The Changing Nature of Covid-19 Symptoms?

King’s College London and the NHS Research Summer 2020.

With over 4 million members of the public now using the Kings College and NHS app: Kings College and NHS Research - (COVID Symptom Study app) there is emerging information about the changing types of symptoms children and adults are showing.   Over half (52%) of school-aged children who tested positive for COVID don’t log any ‘adult’ classic symptoms (cough, fever, anosmia) in the week before and after the test. In addition, a third (33%) of children who tested positive for COVID never logged any of the 20 symptoms listed in the App suggesting many children are asymptomatic.

The research highlighted that children display a different range of symptoms compared to the overall adult population. The top five symptoms in school aged children who test positive for COVID are; fatigue (55%) headache (53%), fever (49%), sore throat (38%) and loss of appetite(35%). This was different compared to the App’s data on adults; fatigue (87%), headache (72%), loss of smell (60%), persistent cough (54%) and sore throat (49%). In addition to this, research from the app has also found that one in six (15%) children who test positive for COVID also present with an unusual skin rash. Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King's College London, comments:“Getting children back to school and keeping them in school is a priority, so it is essential that we understand how COVID-19 affects children and highlight the potential differences. Knowing that children present less often with respiratory symptoms and are more likely to be suffering from headaches, fatigue and skin rashes, will help parents make the right decisions to keep them at home until they feel better."

We appreciate that this is not the current government guidance, though may be of interest for those families reading around and contributing to the growing information and evidence about Covid-19 and its transmission.

Self-Isolating - quarantining

  • Self-Isolating means staying at home; quarantining. 
  • Your child should not come to school and you should not go to work. 
  • As we enter the normal cold and flu season, there is an expectation that we will see a number of pupils self-isolating with symptoms that are associated with Covid-19, and even more who are self-isolating as a result of someone in their household having symptoms. 

Social Distancing Challenges for Kids & how to help

A Staff Member's Personal Story of Covid-19

Karen Thorp, one of our senior teachers at The Collett School was in a serious condition with Covid-19 this summer.  Here, she was asked to write an account for the Addenbrook Hospital and has given us permission to share her story on our website.   If you have a story you wish to share, please let us know; mary.ellis@bluetangerine.herts.sch.uk.  Click:  Karen's Covid-19 Story

Why are schools opening fully?

We are supporting our parents to send their child to school.  For a few children, this has mean a staggered transition back to school and we are working closely with families.

Reasons for the Government's request for all children to return to school have been:

– New cases of COVID-19 have reduced substantially.

– Office of National Statistics’ analysis on coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths linked to occupations indicates that there is no greater risk for staff in educational settings than from other occupations.

– There is no evidence that children transmit the disease any more than adults.

– Risk of children becoming severely ill with COVID-19 is very low.

– From 1st June 2020 until the end of the summer term, there were no declared outbreaks of COVID-19 in Hertfordshire schools or early years settings

 

DfE: Guidance for Opening Schools (Updated 8 Sep)

Sensory stories to help your child understand covid

Hertfordshire local outbreak covid-19 plan Autumn 2020

Play Your Part

What Happens in the Case of a Local Lockdown?

There are four ‘tiers’ of action

Tier 1

Schools will remain open to all pupils but with a requirement that face coverings be worn in corridors and other communal areas of secondary schools where social distancing cannot take place.

Tier 2

Primary, AP and special schools will remain open to all pupils, but secondary schools will move to a rota model, combining “on-site provision with remote education”.

Secondary schools will continue to allow full-time attendance for vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers, with all other pupils subject to a rota. Further education providers should adopt “similar principles with discretion to decide on a model that limits numbers on site but works for each individual setting”.

The face coverings requirement will also be in place in secondary schools and colleges.

Tier 3

Primary, AP and special schools will remain open to all pupils, but secondary schools and FE colleges will allow full-time on-site provision only to vulnerable pupils, the children of critical workers and selected year groups which will be identified by the DfE.

All other pupils will stay at home and be provided with remote education.

The face coverings requirement will also be in place in secondary schools and colleges.

Tier 4

All mainstream schools and colleges will only allow full-time attendance to vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers, with all other pupils staying home and receiving remote education.

AP and special schools will continue to allow full-time attendance of all pupils.

The face coverings requirement will also be in place in secondary schools and colleges.

Government Advice on Planning for Tiered Lockdown Procedures: September 2020

Covid-19 Prevention - Hygiene and Face Coverings

Good Hygiene and Health (Public Health England 2020)

Washing Hands: September 2020

Face Coverings: September 2020

Face-coverings are allowed in our schools, dependent on the child and parents' wishes but not in the formal learning environment of the classroom.  If desired, they can wear a visor in the classroom.  These cannot be shared and the child will require 'training' on how to keep themselves safe using a visor/ other face-covering.

Some staff will be wearing visors in class and can wear other face-coverings around the school (breaks, transitions etc.)

How to wear a face covering

 

An interesting article about wearing masks from the Journal of General Internal Medicine

‘Masks do more than protect others during COVID-19: Reducing the inoculum of SARS-CoV-2’.

This article unravels how wearing masks reduce the viral dose for the wearer, leading to more mild and asymptomatic infection. The journal article goes on to suggest that wide-spread wearing of masks could lead to greater community-level immunity and slower spread whilst we wait for a vaccine.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-06067-8

Schools' Risk Assessments

Covid-19 School Risk Assessments: September 2020

The Collett School Risk Assessment: September 2020

St Luke's School Risk Assessment: September 2020

Forest House Education Centre Risk Assessment: September 2020 (available on request)

 

 

Covid-19 School Risk Assessments: June 2020

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Recovery Curriculum

A Recovery Curriculum

Recovery Curriculum Logo

Think Piece

A Recovery Curriculum:  Loss and Life for our children and schools post pandemic.

Barry Carpenter, CBE, Professor of Mental Health in Education, Oxford Brookes University, UK
Matthew Carpenter, Principal, Baxter College, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, UK

“When will they actually go back to school?” This is the cry from many parents, as we write and there is no answer. But that does not stop us thinking about what it will be like for each and every one of our children, at whatever age, stage or ability level on the day they walk through the classroom door.

It would be naive of any Headteacher/Principal to think that the child will pick up the Curriculum at exactly the same point at which they left it on the day their school closed. Too much has happened. Listen to what the children are saying. Look at what the children are experiencing. None of this follows the usual pattern of a school year with all of the annual cycle of events. It feels like a period of true social disorder. Compassionate Leadership is crucial at this time.

When the children return to school there needs to be a Recovery Curriculum in place. Suddenly daily routines have evaporated and with it, any known curriculum framework. No more rushing to get the school bag ready and running out of the door to begin the journey to school. For most children their daily goal in going to school is not just to learn but to see their friends and to feel a sense of self-worth that only a peer group can offer. You cannot underestimate the impact of the loss of that social interaction. It is as key to their holistic development as any lesson. Human beings are fundamentally social creatures, and the brain grows in the context meaningful human to human interaction. What will the children be making of this period of non-attendance? What worries will they have because grown-ups have now stopped them going to school indefinitely?

For many children the loss of structure will be devastating. This is why parents have been encouraged to establish clear routines in home schooling their children. Children need to know what they are doing now and what will come next. If they don’t, the child will become anxious and concentration levels drop; they become frustrated with themselves, and their parents as makeshift educator.

For some, the loss of freedom is constraining. What teenager wants to be with their parents 24 hours a day? Frankly they are not cool! Their whole self-image, self-esteem, and self-concept, is located in the interaction and dynamics of a peer group. They cannot test their emerging self, against the rules and routines of family life and to be taught by a parent who clearly knows nothing, (what teen acknowledges parental skills?) is to them an insult!

The common thread that runs through the current lived experiences of our children, is loss. Publicly it has been the loss of national examinations which has been most obvious. As one student said, “I was preparing to run a marathon, but now they tell me there is no race!” Many would think that the removal of examinations would be a matter of joy for most young people facing a gruelling timetable of examinations. But these are rites of passage; they are integral to how that young person shapes their ambitions for their life. What impact will it have on students to give their all to examinations next time around?

From loss emanates three significant dynamics that will impact majorly on the mental health of our children. Anxiety, trauma and bereavement are powerful forces. For them all to appear at once in an untimely and unplanned fashion is significant for the developing child. Our children are vulnerable at this time, and their mental-health fragile. And on top of that, they are witnessing a sea of adult anxiety, which they unwittingly are absorbing. There will be many students who are young carers, and this loss of freedom will be combined with a weight of responsibility that will have made academic learning feel inconsequential.

The loss of friendship and social interaction could trigger a bereavement response in some of our children. They will grieve for that group of peers, who not only give them angst, but also affirm them as the person they want to be. The rules of the peer group have vanished without warning, and our young people in particular, were ill prepared for this. They will mourn for how their life was compared to how it is now. They have undergone a period where friends and family members have been avoided because they are a threat; how long will it take for children to feel not threatened by nearness of others?

The loss of routine and structure, will be traumatic for some. Already we are receiving reports of the increased incidents of self-harm, (Young Minds, 2020). Children can find it alarming that the infrastructure of their week has been abandoned however logical the reason. The suddenness of it all may induce panic attacks, a loss of self-control, as the child feels their own intellect no longer informs their personal judgements accurately.

Anxiety is a cruel companion. It eats away at the positive mental health of the child, and can cause a deterioration in their overall well-being. The anxious child is not a learning child. Mood swings may prevail; they can become irrational and illogical. There can be a loss of sleep; the cumulative tiredness can diminish the child’s coping mechanisms.

Daily, children are listening to reports of the spread of the pandemic and to the reported death toll in their country and internationally. It is probable that most children may return to school knowing of someone who has died. Indeed, they may have first-hand experience of the death of a loved one. In this respect, we have much to learn from the experiences of those children affected by the earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand. Schools there, kept a register of the deaths within a family, or other significant traumatic events, to guide and inform staff as children returned. Subsequent evidence from research studies from NZ, (Liberty, 2018) have shown that there has been considerable impact on the learning and development of those children who were under 5 years old at the time of the earthquakes, (eg speech delays, emotional immaturity, etc). We ignore such related evidence at our peril.

Those 5 losses, of routine, structure, friendship, opportunity and freedom, can trigger the emergence emotionally of anxiety, trauma and bereavement in any child. The overall impact cannot be underestimated. It will cause a rapid erosion of the mental health state in our children.

How are schools to prepare? What curriculum adjustments are crucial? What pedagogical frameworks will facilitate teaching with compassion? How will staff manage their own recovery? We inevitably have a finite resource and we must consider the gradual implementation of any form of curriculum to recover from loss. All of our learners will need a holistic recovery, some may need a focused recovery intervention programme, personalised to their needs; others may need a deeper and longer lasting recovery period, enabling a fuller exploration of the severity of their trauma and emergent attachment issues .

Teaching is a relationship-based profession. That has been clearly demonstrated in the response of the teaching profession, supporting children through online teaching during the crisis, and also caring for the children of key workers by keeping schools open and offering an activities programme. This was not without its inherent risk.

In response to the weight of loss our young people will have experienced, what are our levers of recovery? Many of us will focus on the recovery of lost knowledge, but this does not recognise the scale of impact. If we consider the definition of a relevant curriculum as the ‘daily lived experience’ we must plan for experiences that provide the space for recovery. Already Headteachers are saying “The children will be so far behind academically when they return.” Such statements are incompatible with the process of recovery from loss, trauma, anxiety and grief. It is more about the results culture so many Headteachers are steeped in. Now is the time to return to more humane approaches concerned with the fundamental wellbeing, and secure positive development of the child. Without this there will be no results that have true meaning and deep personal value to the child in terms of their preparation for adulthood.

Lever 1: Relationships – we can’t expect our students to return joyfully, and many of the relationships that were thriving, may need to be invested in and restored. We need to plan for this to happen, not assume that it will. Reach out to greet them, use the relationships we build to cushion the discomfort of returning.

Lever 2: Community – we must recognise that curriculum will have been based in the community for a long period of time. We need to listen to what has happened in this time, understand the needs of our community and engage them in the transitioning of learning back into school.

Lever 3: Transparent Curriculum – all of our students will feel like they have lost time in learning and we must show them how we are addressing these gaps, consulting and co-constructing with our students to heal this sense of loss.

Lever 4: Metacognition – in different environments, students will have been learning in different ways. It is vital that we make the skills for learning in a school environment explicit to our students to reskill and rebuild their confidence as learners.

Lever 5: Space – to be, to rediscover self, and to find their voice on learning in this issue. It is only natural that we all work at an incredible pace to make sure this group of learners are not disadvantaged against their peers, providing opportunity and exploration alongside the intensity of our expectations.

We suggest the Recovery Curriculum is built on the 5 Levers, as a systematic, relationships-based approach to reigniting the flame of learning in each child. Many children will return to school disengaged. School may seem irrelevant after a long period of isolation, living with a background of silent fear, always wondering if the day will come when the silence speaks and your life is changed forever. Our quest, our mission as educators, should be to journey with that child through a process of re-engagement, which leads them back to their rightful status as a fully engaged, authentic learner.

What must be going though children’s minds at this strange time? Is school to be always transitory, when for you as a child, it has always been a constant, love it or hate it? Can I trust you again, as my teacher, to not abandon me? We were walking a path together, and then this ‘thing’, this virus, sent us on different journeys. Can our lives reconnect? Can our relationship be re-established? School is no longer the safe, constant place we thought it was. We must be ready to understand, to reframe their perceptions, and show that we are trustworthy.

The Recovery Curriculum is an essential construct for our thinking and our planning. Each school must fill it with the content they believe is best for the children of their school community, informed by your inherent understanding of your children in your community. What were the aims and values of your school before this pandemic? Use them now to guide your judgements, to build a personalised response to the child who has experienced loss. No Government can give you the guidelines for that. It is down to you, as that skilled, intuitive teacher, who can lift the mask of fear and disenfranchisement from the child. You can engage that child as a learner once more, for engagement is the liberation of intrinsic motivation, (Carpenter et al, 2015).

The Loss the children experienced during this pandemic will have caused issues around attachment – in their relationships in school that they have forged over years; these will be some of the strongest relationships the young people have, but bereft of the investment of those daily interactions, will have become fragile. Our unwritten relationships curriculum must restore the damage of neglect; it must be a Curriculum of Recovery. Now is the time to address the damage of loss and trauma, so that it does not rob our children of their lifelong opportunities. Now is the time to ensure that we restore mental wealth in our children, so that their aspirations for their future , can be a vision that becomes, one day, a reality.

References:
Carpenter, B. et al (2015) ‘Engaging Learners with Complex Needs’, London, Routledge.

Liberty, K., (2018) ‘How research is helping our children after the earthquakes.’
https://www.healthprecinct.org.nz/stories/how-research-is-helping-our-children-after-the-earthquakes/ (accessed 14th April, 2020.)

Young Minds (2020) Coronavirus; the impact on young people with mental health needs. www.youngminds.org.uk