Re: Supporting Children of Key Workers in Primary School
As Principal I am acutely aware of the current crisis everyone is facing and will endeavor to do all in my power to help ensure the health and safety of the pupils and staff in our school and wider communities.
Last night the Minister for Education in Northern Ireland, Peter Weir MLA, sent letters to Principals in Northern Ireland outlining how schools will close from the end of today, Friday 20th March, however will open on Monday 23rd March to support identified Key Workers.
It is worth bearing in mind that we have been instructed to close to minimise the risk of infection transfer at a time of national and global crisis. It is essential, therefore, that we are still able to comply with this ultimate reason for closure.
To inform that decision, we need to be able to manage who can access the care, otherwise the original reason for closure of schools becomes meaningless. In practice, this will mean we are not able to safely provide the offer of childcare from Monday morning but will aim to do so beginning Tuesday 24th March from 9am-2pm/3pm. Those children who are entitled to Free School Meals and whose parents have made contact with the Office can collect a healthy lunch, children attending school should attend school with a packed lunch.
We must also do everything we can to try and limit the number of children and adults working together in a small space in line with Government social or physical distancing guidance.
Please be aware, guidance may alter later today if we receive more specific updates from the Education Minister.
Points to consider
· A list of Key Workers, issued by the Department of Education is listed below.
· Only children with parents working as key workers and BOTH out at work at the same time should consider requesting care. In single parent families, the individual parent MUST be a key worker.
· Please note only children with both parents working as Key Workers should contact the school.
· If at all possible, alternative childcare arrangements should be sought before contacting the school. For example, with other family friends etc.
· Initially there will be no facility for Breakfast Club.
· The Minister also mentioned supporting vulnerable children but at the moment we are currently waiting more guidance from his Department regarding this.
We are thinking about all our Key Workers and indeed everyone in our school community with the challenges we will face in the weeks and months ahead.
Please contact me today if anyone needs any further information.
Stephen Austin (Principal)
LIST OF KEY WORKERS AS OUTLINED ON DOCUMENTATION ISSUED TO SCHOOLS ON 19th MARCH 2020
· Health and Social Care. This includes doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, home carers and staff required to maintain our health and social care sector.
· Education and childcare. This includes nursery, teaching staff and specialist education professionals who will remain active during the Covid-19 response.
· Public safety and national security. This includes civilians and officers in the police (including key contractors), Fire and Rescue Service, prison service and national security roles.
· Transport. This includes those keeping air, water, road and rail transport modes operating during the Covid-19 response.
· Utilities and Communication. This includes staff needed for oil, gas, electricity and water (including sewage) and primary industry supplies, to continue during the Covid-19 response, as well as key staff in telecommunications, post and delivery, services and waste disposal.
· Food and other necessary goods. This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution and sale, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (eg hygiene, medical etc)
· Key national and local government including those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the Covid-19 response.
Unfortunately not the ones with chocolate chips.
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