At the start of September, we welcomed back all of our students in our schools and college and have seen a gradual increase in service users attending our day services. This means that we’ve had the largest number of staff, students and service users in our buildings since March when we closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are following government guidance to keep everyone as safe as we can and work closely with education, social care and health colleagues in local authorities. As the situation is changing daily, we are all closely monitoring the current changes regarding local lockdowns and will follow any guidance issued on this.
You might have seen in the news or media that there has been an increase in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the North East in the last couple of weeks and the local authorities have been asking us all to make sure we’re doing what we can to prevent the spread of infection.
This increase is already having an impact on schools, colleges and workplaces across the region. To minimise the spread of infection, students and service users have been placed in bubbles. If a student/service user displays any symptoms while in school, college, or day services then arrangements will be made for them to return home and you will need to arrange a test. If the test result returns a negative result, then you can return to services. If anyone that has been in school, college or day services and is confirmed as a positive case we will contact all parents/service users and follow advice given by Public Health England and we may be advised to close all or part of a “bubble”.
The increase in cases and with government test and trace programme now in place, more people are being contacted and advised to self-isolate. This is also having a significant impact on our staffing levels, with higher levels of absence than we have previously seen during the pandemic because some colleagues are having to self-isolate with their household even if they don’t have any symptoms themselves, in line with government guidance.
This impact may mean that there are times where we don’t have enough staff or staff with the required training to support students or service users safely. If this happens, we may need to send them home until the situation is resolved. We’d take every possible action to avoid this and would only do this as a last resort, but our priority is to keep all students and service users safe. If your child/family member is affected, we will inform you as soon as we possibly can and support with any necessary arrangements. Where possible, home learning will continue as per lockdown, if this becomes a reality.
It’s really important that we all do everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here’s a useful guide to help you know when you should keep your child or family member at home:
Parental Covid-Isolation Guidance 14th September 2020 v2
Thank you for your continued support.