Important information for CEOs, Headteachers and Chairs of Governors – 21 March 2020

Dear Colleagues

I want to start this update by saying thank you for the extraordinary effort and measures that you have been taking to put education provision in place for Monday 23rd March. Most of you will have been working over the weekend, organising staff and identifying vulnerable children and the children of key workers in order to meet our duties to remain open. There is still a great deal of ambiguity and uncertainty and we are seeking to resolve as much as possible with DFE, as quickly as possible. Just a reminder that on Friday 20th we received updated guidance.

In summary the main points were
• staff, young people and children should stay at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others.
• if staff, young people or children become unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home
• clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using your standard cleaning products
• supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water or hand sanitiser and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues
• posters and lesson plans on general hand hygiene can be found on the eBug website
• you should encourage staff and pupils to observe social distancing whenever possible
• unless you have been directly advised to close by the local Public Health England Health Protection Team, all education settings must remain open. If you are advised to close by PHE this will be confirmed to you in writing. We are also asking you to contact Surrey County Council and we will shortly be sending out guidance on a closure process.

Updated guidance was also posted by the DfE today and this can be found using the following link
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19

Key messages are
1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
5. Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

You may also find the following links helpful https://www.gov.uk/government/news/isolation-guidance-for-residential-educational-settings?utm_source=8466bf09-6021-4683-b9ab-6b87eefb6ccf&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=dailyhttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

On Friday we collated a list of specialist settings that require Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). If you are a mainstream school that has PPE needs, please can you email jane.winterbone@surreycc.gov.uk stating what you require and the reasons for this. Maintaining a supply of PPE is a key priority for the Strategic Co-ordinating Group.

We will be emailing all settings next week with guidance regarding risk assessment of vulnerable pupils, establishing expectations regarding opening hours, guidance for staff who need to undertake home visits, FSM vouchers and the actions you will need to take if you are faced with school closure.

The current expectation is that all settings will be open for a full school day e.g. 8.30am – 3.30pm in order to ensure our keyworkers can do the vital job we are asking them to.

We are collating FAQs for schools and parents and we will be letting you know where these can be accessed.

Finally, I want to thank you again and wish you well.

Liz Mills on behalf of phase leads and Maria Dawes