Corona Virus Updates - Letter to parents
A successful week has been had in school and at home. The COGs hub is working really well, and I also know that those that are home schooling are receiving good communication with teachers and teaching assistants. I would like to say at this point how grateful I am for the staff at school, who have been working hard to get information and lessons to you. I would also like to spread this gratitude out to the staff from the other cluster schools who have been working with our children in school. It is times like this you appreciate how kind and caring our school community is.
Below are some updates for you all.
- Free School Meals: If your child is entitled to a free school meal, you should have received an email from school regarding shopping vouchers. Please let us know how these are working for you, or if you haven’t heard anything. Make sure that the email is from one of our school addresses – sadly there have been scam messages going around such as, “Schools will be closing, if you're entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we'll make sure you're supported” – if you receive anything asking for your personal details, especially bank details, do not respond and delete the message immediately;
- Phone Calls from School: Now that things are starting to settle into a routine, the teaching staff are starting to make phone calls to some families, especially where we have not heard anything from you through the emails. Please note that for safeguarding reasons, the staff will be blocking their numbers when they call, so if you receive a call from a blocked number during normal school time, please consider picking up as it may be a school call. Unfortunately, at the moment, these calls are just to check in with parents – we are not able to chat to the children. We are working hard to find safe ways of communicating directly with the children, but we’re not quite there yet. Remember that you can email teachers and they will respond to those;
MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING SUPPORT (ADULTS AND CHILDREN):
- Coping Calendar: The schools have been using calendars from a company that design them around different topics. The “Coping Calendar” attachment might be quite a useful version at the moment;
- Self-Care and Support Resources: I was sent these links from a mental-health specialist who recommended them: Self-Care for young people: https://www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind/self-care/, Support for Parents https://annafreud.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=aa2c9f8b722440e7e05bedb82&id=12ffbbb354&e=6e6c6034af , Support for Children and Young People: https://annafreud.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=aa2c9f8b722440e7e05bedb82&id=bfeb6149a3&e=6e6c6034af;
- School Nurses: There is a “Derbyshire School Nurses PH Info Sheet” attached with various pieces of information and contact details;
- Action for Children: There is a “Well-Being Booklet for AFC Students” attached which might be useful and has been highly recommended;
- World Health Organisation (WHO): There are loads of great resources on the WHO website, with lots of factual and informative posters that you might find useful. I have attached the WHO “Helping Children Cope with Stress” information sheet;
- Apps: There are many, many apps available on all platforms promoting mental health, well-being and mindfulness. From the recent Mental Health First-Aid training I attended, three that were recommended were “Calm”, “Headspace” and “Hub of Hope” – these may be more for adults, but that’s just as important at the moment;
- Safeguarding Online: With the increased amount of time children are likely to be online, including for learning, Derbyshire police have produced some information about staying safe: https://www.derbyshire.police.uk/news/derbyshire/news/news/forcewide/2020/march/advice-on-how-to-keep-youngsters-safe-online/;
- News/Social Media: It was really clear in school that the weekend before the schools closed produced a huge upsurge in anxiety amongst our families. Some of this will have been the increase in the seriousness of the situation, but it was also a result of people having more time to focus on the constant streams of news and social media that are available. For both you and your children, try to limit the amount of news you watch and be extremely cautious around social media, particularly with the amount of ‘fake news’ stories that are circulating. We recommend BBC Newsround as a good resource for children (and grown-ups) to stay up to date, but in a controlled way that is calm and factual.
- Parking: For anyone that is using the emergency childcare at the Hub at Wirksworth Junior School, please note that we are no longer using the railway station car park. You can park outside the school itself, but please be considerate when doing so;
- Booking: If you do find that you need to access the emergency childcare, please use the attached “Booking Form” and send it to me in advance, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Although it says it is for the week ahead, we are more than happy to book further than that as this helps us organise the staff rota;
- Easter bookings: currently I am working with the other schools, to see if we can staff childcare over Easter. Obviously this is for key workers who do not have alternative childcare for their children. Schools normally do not open at this time and therefore staffing this maybe more difficult, however many staff are on board with this and want to support our keyworker. If you are a key worker and do have not have other means of caring for your child fill out the booking form asap, so we have an idea of pupil numbers we need to provided support for.
- Keeping School Informed: For those that have told us that they may need to use the Hub, please remember to let us know if you are no longer going to need childcare, as we are using possible numbers when we set up the staffing for the week.
- Social Distancing and More: This is another link to the WHO website where you can find a whole host of useful resources that present things in simple ways that children can understand without the emotion that often goes with the news or other media presenting this information: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public;
- How to Discuss Coronavirus with Children: I have been sent three attachments that you may find useful when your child asks about the coronavirus. A “Corona Comic”, a parent handout “02292020 NASP NASN COVID-19 Parent Handout” and an “Outbreak Factsheet”;
- Latest Guidance: This is the link for the latest government information on social distancing: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults. The latest guidance and video on hand washing can be found here:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public;
- Self-Isolation: Whilst we should all be staying at home where possible, it is important that families are able to access the outside world to shop and for those who have key worker roles. As I tried to explain about a week ago, the rules for isolation are a little tricky to understand – but the following graphic does the best job I have found of explaining it:
Finally, I would like to say a big thank you for all the kind words people have been saying to members of staff and throughout the community, we really appreciate this, and it does make us feel that we are all in this together. Despite the turbulence and uncertainty going on around us, we can hopefully move on feeling stronger together as a community and school. Have a relaxing weekend and enjoy the sunshine.