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COVID19 - Coronavirus Update

Page last updated: 22/10/2020

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Please ensure you read all available links and guidance on this page, and those available on the DfE / Public Health and Essex County Council websites before making contact. Should your question(s) still not be answered, then please email schools.communication@essex.gov.uk​. Alternatively, if you need to speak to the DfE directly then use the following contact details:

  • Telephone Number - 0800 046 8687

  • Email - DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk

  • (Opening hours 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday)

  • ​Please note: If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UKPRN) available when calling the helpline.

​​​This page will be updated daily with the most recent communications sent from Clare Kershaw, Director of Education - see below. 

Different sets of Frequently Asked Questions have been put together which again, will be updated as and when new queries arise:

If you need to report a school closure, please log this (for every day you are closing) via the My School Page in the usual way. Further information can be found on the School Closures page. ​

There are a number of documents and resources also available for you:

September Re-opening

Guidance, information and resources to support preparations to reopen for September 2020

Re-opening

Guidance, information and resources to support preparations to reopen

Governors

Information and guidance for governing bodies during the coronavirus outbreak

HR 

Guidance and resources for managing your workforce

Medical 

Supporting students with medical needs through closures

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Support and advice for staff, students and families

Overarching

Guidance, information and resources on various aspects of schooling and more during the coronavirus outbreak

Parent Information

Information for parents and templates for you to use to communicate with them if needed

Remote Learning

Guidance, support and resources for remote learning for schools, students and families

Resources

Safeguarding and SEN

​Information and resources to help ensure the safety and protection all students, as well as support for vulnerable children and children with SEND 

Archived documents and links

HR:

Medical: 

Overarching:

Parent Information:

Safeguarding and SEN:

​Any documents referred to in the below statements, can be found above in the list of resources.​

Latest email update from Clare Kershaw - Thursday 22 October 2020

Latest DfE and ECC Guidance Update​s​​ - 19 October 2020

​Dear Colleague,

As we come to the end of the first half of the Autumn term, I want to again extend my congratulations on what you have achieved and thank you for continued hard work, professionalism and leadership.  I could not be more proud of the leadership and workforce we have across the entire education sector in Essex. The commitment of the sector to pupils, families and communities is inspiring, so thank you for all you are doing. 

Please see below a few things I wanted to share with you before the half- term break begins:

1. Guidance regarding the remote education continuity Direction

Please see attached remote education guidance as promised. I want to reiterate that all schools have very different cohorts of individuals, capacity and IT solutions in place and so your remote learning offers will be different in nature. There is no 'one size fits all'. However your School Effectiveness Partner, Head of Education or Assistant Director is available to support you in any way they can. Shown in blue are additions and updates to the last remote learning guidance issued. 

2. Essex Contact Tracing Team Update

We have been working closely with the Essex Contact Tracing Team to review their capacity and working hours. We are looking at ways in which we can bring additional capacity to support you as effectively as possible. We will be able to share this with you following half term. 

We must ask that if you contact the ECTT during a busy time and they are unable to answer, that you please leave a phone number which you will be available on. We have had feedback from the ECTT that they are struggling to respond to messages left outside of school hours because mobiles are not answered. 

3. Reporting a case of COVID19

In order to streamline the process of reporting a case/s to us, we have put together a very simple table, which is attached. If you use this to report a case to use, this will ensure we have all the information needed on first email and won't need to request further information from you.   

4. Parents evenings, visits to school and governing body meetings

We have reviewed the many queries we are now receiving about parents evenings and tours around the school.

Given the increasing number of COVID19 cases, Essex moving into the High Local Alert Level and the need for us all to remain vigilant and avoid mixing as much as possible; we feel that we need to amend our position on parents evenings and school tours. It is essential that schools are able to remain open safely for all children, young people and staff and so our suggested advice is to avoid any non-essential visits to the school site at this time. Parents evenings could be undertaken virtually and lots of schools have created excellent videos and virtual tours. 

It is important to note that this does not include professionals visiting to work with children/ young people or school staff. This is considered essential work, which should continue face to face or virtually, as appropriate. 

Where possible Governing Body meetings should continue virtually. 

Of course, your risk assessment will drive your decision regarding visitors to schools, this is our suggested advice only regarding the organisation of parents evenings, parent visits and governing body meetings. 

5. Positive cases during half-term

The timeframe that contact tracing is undertaken is 2 days prior to symptoms displaying. This means that if a child develops symptoms during half term week (Monday onwards) you would not need to undertake contact tracing for school based contacts. Parents should still inform you of children who receive a positive test result, or if they have been advised to self-isolate as a close contact, as the self-isolation period for those individuals will continue after the half-term break. The usual contact tracing for social contacts will still apply and this is outside of the school's remit.

If you are advised of a positive test result before Monday, you should follow your usual contact tracing processes. If you need to contact the ECTT their opening hours are 10am-4pm Sat and Sun and from 8am weekdays. The school comms inbox remains open as usual and we will be available to give advice if it is urgently needed. 

In communication with your parent community you may wish to remind them that under level 2 restrictions the mixing of households inside is not currently allowed and social distancing between households when outside is required. This continues to apply over the half-term break. 

We will not send a communication next week, in the hope that you are all taking a well-deserved break. 

I hope you enjoy a well-deserved break over half term. 

Take care, 

Clare