Please see below a letter from Lucy Driver, our headteacher, regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and St. Pauls Nursery School and Children’s Centre.
We are living in times of great uncertainty because of the worldwide public health crisis caused by the spread of Coronavirus, and we are all facing possibilities that we have never had to consider before.
Here at St Pauls we do all that we can to protect and safeguard our children, families and teams but we genuinely do not know what is around the corner for any of us, and we have to plan for the worst whilst hoping for the best.
At present, the government’s position is that, for a number of reasons, they do not want schools and nurseries to close. Until now guidance has been that we can only close if directed to by Public Health England, however looking at what has happened across other countries I feel that it is inevitable that there could be some instructions to close schools for an extended Easter break.
I cannot pre-empt what this may look like – whole buildings being shut down, or being allowed to continue with some of our services.
At St Pauls we have a Nursery School, a Day-care Business, a large Childrens Centre and a National Teaching School. Unless we are directed to a full lock down we are already starting to consider some models in which some of our services could continue to be run, on a sized down model, with staff working shifts across weeks.
We must also consider however, that as staff teams become ill, and self-isolate, or are living with someone who is self-isolating we will be dealing with potential critical staff shortages, which will also influence our ability to run the service.
Please be reassured that if we are instructed to close, our staff team will be paid, and you will not be charged for day-care. The impact of closure for any prolonged period will inevitably have a huge impact on our sustainability planning – but we share this challenge with all other small businesses.
Like you, our leaders and governors are watching for every change, or new instruction in direction to our local and national response to the coronavirus. We will be in touch with our response as soon as there is any different advice or instruction.
For now I urge you all to think community – to self-isolate if ill, to follow the handwashing code and to limit your movements if you are caring for others who are self-isolating, and to shop with reason and moral purpose.
The Government have published very helpful and clear guidance for people with confirmed or possible COVID-19 infection. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
The case definition for COVID-19 is simple: any new cough and/or fever. The public health advice to someone who fulfils the case definition for COVID-19 is to immediately self-isolate for 7 days. These guidelines apply to adults and children.
If a child at nursery develops a cough or fever, their parent/carer must be contacted immediately and they should be taken home for 7 days of self-isolation. Children who are in self isolation should not be brought to school for drop off or pick up of siblings. At present, if someone is self-isolating, other members of the household are not required to self-isolate. It may be that within the week the advice is that whole households self-isolate if someone in the house fulfils the case definition for COVID -19.
Our youngest children seem to be the least vulnerable, but I feel sure the most prevalent little carriers of the virus. Their handwashing and catching sneezes and coughs leave a lot to be desired however much we support them! So please keep them at home if you can.
Please watch our website for any updates http://stpaulschildrenscentre.co.uk/ and keep yourself informed about what you should be doing by regularly looking at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
Many thanks for your support.
Headteacher and National Leader of Education