______________________ Coronavirus Information

Update on 23rd March 2020
Dear Parent/Carer,
As you will be aware Riverside Bridge School, in line with Government advice, has ceased normal operations from Friday 20th March 2020 until further notice. The majority of pupils are advised to stay at home until advised to return, however the Government have designated that certain categories of students may attend. Your child will have an individual risk assessment completed over the next few days in accordance with the most recent guidance, ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance on vulnerable children and young people’ to assess if each child falls into either the category of being at significant risk if their education, health and care provision and placement does not continue OR if the child’s needs can be met at home.  The outcome of each risk assessment will be shared with parents/carers.  If it is deemed that your child falls into the first category, we welcome your child to attend daily, dependent on staffing levels.  Staffing will be allocated according to level of need of a placement and could change daily.   If your child falls into the first category, a text message will be sent on a daily basis to advise if your child is able to attend school.  However, we urge you to take note of the government advice as follows:
“… the most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of  COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the  chance of the virus spreading. That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home,  wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.  (Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local  authorities in England on maintaining educational provision) 
Our current plan is that the school day will operate as normal as possible, starting at 9:15 am but finishing at 2.30 pm. Lessons will continue to be held where possible and break and lunch times will be as normal, with food available in the canteen. Please top up your child’s ParentPay account unless they are in receipt of free school meals.  We will not be following our normal curriculum; however, students will follow an adapted timetable where they will spend some time during the day accessing work set by teachers. For the remainder of the day, students will participate in enrichment activities, such as crafts and sensory based activities.  Please be aware that classes will be merged and therefore your child may not be in either their usual classroom or with their class peers they are regularly with and this could change on a daily basis.  In addition, the staff caring for any children that attend school may be changed on a daily basis.  We strongly advise you to consider if attending school is in their best interest in light of the disruption to routines.
If your child has any of the medical conditions that have been identified as being in the at-risk category of developing Coronavirus then we are advising you to keep your child at home for a period of 12 weeks in accordance with the government advice.  Likewise, if you live with anyone that falls into these categories, we are advising that your child does not attend school.
This group identified in the ‘Guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK’ document includes those who are:
  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (i.e anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds): 
  • chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthmachronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis 
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s diseasemotor neurone diseasemultiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
  • diabetes
  • problems with your spleen – for example,sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
  • a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tabletsor chemotherapy 
  • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • those who are pregnant
Note: there are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this category, next week the NHS in England will directly contact you with advice about the more stringent measures you should take in order to keep yourself and others safe. For now, you should rigorously follow the social distancing advice in full, outlined below.
People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:
  • people who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immuno suppression medication
  • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukemia who are at any stage of treatment
  • people with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
  • people with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)
Please note that although we will try to maintain social distancing, the nature of some of our pupils will mean this is not always possible.
Students attending school will be required to arrive in full school uniform and bring their PE kit daily unless it is kept in school.
For students who travel to school via school bus, Barking and Dagenham transport will be running a service at this present time.  The transport department will advise you on the procedures for collections and drop off.  Please note that the current provision may change and you will be advised of this accordingly.
We remind all parents/carers who decide to or are requested to keep their child at home that we will still be contactable via the Riverside Bridge School email account or the telephone number as above for any concerns or queries they may have.  We will continue to support our pupils and parents through what could become a difficult time over the coming months.  Please do not hesitate to contact us.  Alternatively, any pupil that is not attending school we will be keeping contact at least once per week via skype call or telephone call.  Please discuss any issues you may be having with your dedicated contact person.
If your child is not attending school and is entitled to free school meals, our school kitchen will be providing food parcels which will be ready for collection on Mondays until the government voucher scheme is in place.  You will receive a text message to advise that your child’s food parcel is ready for collection from the school office.  If you have indicated that you do not require assistance but your circumstances change, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will begin to issue you with a food parcel.
We would like to clarify, if your child is not attending school their attendance figures will not be affected.
Many thanks as always for your support throughout this challenging period.
Kindest Regards,
Mrs K Cerri, Headteacher

 

 

  Update on 16th March 2020
Along with a number of other schools in the local authority, Riverside Bridge School has been significantly affected by staff absence today, 16th March 2020, which is likely to continue at least for the rest of the week.
This has been caused in the main by staff following government advice to stay at home for fourteen days if they have a persistent cough or temperature. We want to stress that this is just a precaution; at this moment in time we do not have any confirmed cases of Covid-19 among staff or pupils.
The impact of reduced staff numbers means that it will not be possible to open all classes as normal from tomorrow, the 17th March 2020. Despite using all available staff resources, the school will unfortunately still have to close six classes until further notice. The parents of the pupils who need to be kept at home from tomorrow, 17th March 2020, will have been contacted by the school today, 16th March 2020. The school will keep those parents up to date with progress towards re-opening the closed classes and the school will give as much advice as how to make the best use of the time at home.

 

 

Update from Public Health on the 13th March 2020
We are now in the delay phase of our response to COVID-19. This entails significant changes to how we in Public Health England and the NHS identify and manage potential cases of COVID-19. Advice for has now changed and is now as follows:
 1. From today the public are being advised to stay at home (self-isolate) without any testing for COVID-19, regardless of travel history or contact with confirmed cases, if they have:
                                    a. A new continuous cough
                                   b. High temperature (of 37.8 degrees centigrade or higher)
OR
 2. The geographic element of the case definition has now been removed. Travel and contact history are no longer important for diagnosis, which is on the basis of symptoms alone. If people who have travelled do not have symptoms they do not need to stay at home, regardless of their travel history.
 What does this mean?
Individuals should stay at home (self-isolate) for 7 days from the onset of symptoms following the current advice. If someone has serious symptoms they cannot manage at home they should use NHS 111 online (people should only call NHS111 if they cannot get online). This advice unless advised otherwise doesn’t include family members so there is no reason at this point not to allow these individuals into school either as teachers or pupils. See link below 
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance.
 After 7 days of self-isolation, people who feel better and no longer have a high temperature can return to their normal routine. If they have not had any signs of improvement after 7 days and have not already sought medical advice, they should use NHS111 online (people should only call NHS111 if they cannot get online) before they leave their home or let visitors in.
 Cough may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared. A persistent cough alone does not mean someone must continue to stay at home for more than 7 days.
 What does this mean Testing?
Testing will not be offered routinely to individuals staying at home.  At the moment we have cough, colds and other respiratory infections circulating as we normally do at this time of the year a small minority of which may be COVID-19.  So for those majority of those who self-isolate under the new advice for 7 days won’t get a confirmed diagnosis of what the infection is. 

 

Government Coronavirus action plan
On the 3rd March 2020,  the Coronavirus action plan was launched.
This action plan sets out a four phased approach in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Contain, Delay, Mitigate, and Research.
The document includes:
  • what we know about the virus and the disease it causes
  • how the government has planned for an infectious disease outbreak, such as the current coronavirus outbreak
  • the actions that have been taken so far in response to the current coronavirus outbreak
  • what the government is planning to do next, depending upon the course the current coronavirus outbreak takes
  • the role the public can play in supporting this response, now and in the future

 

Personal hygiene is the most important way we can tackle COVID-19.
The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a public information campaign that focuses on the importance of hand washing.
Washing hands for 20 seconds is central to prevent and slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
 The catch it, bin it, kill it strategy for those with coughs and sneezes also help in delaying the peak of the infection.

 

Current advice remains in place: No school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case unless
advised to do so by Public Health England.

 

The Department for Education launched a new helpline for parents, young people and staff who have questions or concerns:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

 

 

Questions and Answers for Parents.

 

Q. What is the school doing to ensure the health and safety of all our pupils and staff ?
The school follows Public Health England  advice.
Staff and pupils are encouraged to wash their hands in accordance with Public Health advice.
The premises are cleaned  on a daily basis.
All chewies are being sterilised on a daily basis.

 

Q. What happens if parents do not send their children to school?
The school attendance policy would apply.
However if you feel your child is vulnerable and/or at risk, please contact the school to advise the reason why you feel your child is
vulnerable and/or at risk and the final decision will rest with the school in consultation with the Local Authority as to whether
the absence is regarded as authorised or unauthorised.

 

Q. How can I help protect my child?
Follow the Public Health advice. The NHS has an excellent website page: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/common-questions/.

 

Hand hygiene remains the most effective measure.
That means washing your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds and whenever you:
  • get home or into work
  • blow your nose, sneeze or cough
  • eat or handle food
It’s important to use soap and water or a hand sanitiser.

 

Q. If I think my child or someone else in my home may have contracted coronavirus, what do I do?
Call NHS 111 or use the service’s simple new online service https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 that will advise you what to do. Let the school know if 111 says that you should take action.

 

Q. Are you thinking of closing the school?
The Department for Education is very clear that no school should close in response to a suspected (or confirmed) COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.

 

Q. Will you tell us if a child or member of staff has confirmed Coronavirus at the school?
Yes.

 

Q. What happens if there is a confirmed case within the Partnership Trust?
The Partnership Trust will immediately contact Public Health and then share their advice with you.

 

Q. Where is the best place to get information or advice about Coronavirus?
The government has several very good regularly updated sites:

 

Q. Where do I find the latest information?
Updates on COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Guidance for educational settings: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19
Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
Latest Department for Education information: https://twitter.com/educationgovuk