School Update - 18.03.20

Dear Parents,


I am writing to update you as to the current situation in school.


I have spoken to Garry Hall, our Chair of Governors to discuss the current situation for our school and how this is going to impact us going forward.  


In the interests of keeping you all well informed and up-to-date about the current situation, I felt it was important to share key information with you. At the time of writing we have 6 members of staff absent.  We also have 90 children absent, which is 20% of the total.  I would like to confirm that at the time of writing we are not aware of any confirmed coronavirus cases in either the staff or children.


In light of the above, and whilst we are waiting for further instructions from the Government regarding schools remaining open, I wanted to pre-warn you that should staff absence reach a point where we cannot staff classes appropriately, we will have no choice but to make the decision to partially close or fully close the school.


We are not at that point yet and I would like to thank our wonderful staff for continuing their hard work under very difficult circumstances.  


In order to stay fully open today, we have had to mix one Year 5 class amongst the remaining Y4, Y5 and Y6 classes to create five full classes of between 30 and 32 children.  We are very likely to have further staff self-isolating over the coming days which will mean that we are likely to need to mix other year groups as well. This is not an ideal situation given the social distancing measures that are being recommended, but our only other option would be to partially or fully close.


The current situation clearly presents parents with difficult decisions.  You are probably aware that the government has produced guidance on vulnerable groups among adults and advises that everyone in these groups is particularly stringent about following social distancing measures. I have added a link to this document at the end of this email.  If your child has an underlying medical condition and you do decide to keep them at home, please contact us to let us know.  


For those of you who have children who are self-isolating, we have uploaded further work onto the 'Home Learning' tab today on the school website- including some activities for EYFS children.  Y6 will also be bringing home some work books that they can keep at home to use if/when the school does need to close.  


I also need to let you know that Dudley Catering, the company that provide our school dinners have an increasing number of staff self-isolating, and therefore limited numbers of resources to provide the school meals service.  I can assure you that we will continue to ensure all children are provided with a meal, however if our kitchen staff do need to self-isolate over the coming days, we will only be able to provide a limited service which may mean that your child can't have the exact meal you have ordered.  As things stand today, a full service is in operation with the only change being that children will no longer have access to a self-serve salad bar - instead a limited selection of salad items will be served from the serving counter.


I would like to acknowledge the dedication and commitment that all staff at Hurst Green continue to show to our children .  However, they too are faced with the same difficult decisions regarding how best to protect themselves or family members who are in high risk groups.  The need for some staff to start working from home means that we will struggle even more over the coming days, but we are determined to keep the school open until we really have no other options or are instructed to close.   


On a wider community note, the Local Authority report that the response from Dudley communities has been fantastic.  Dudley Council for Voluntary Service has agreed to co-ordinate and support voluntary and community support for COVID-19.  More information about this and about how people can register to support others is available here. The website includes details of community support and information about the virus.  I know that there are plans to add more details onto this site over the coming days so please check back regularly.


Also on a positive note, your children are behaving exceedingly well in school and appear to be coping admirably with the unavoidable changes we have had to make at school.   


With best wishes,


Victoria Kelly

Head Teacher

Hurst Green Primary School