Friday 20th March 2020

 

Dear Parents/Carers,

RE: CLOSURE OF ST MARY’S CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL

Following on from our most recent update, I am writing to confirm that St Mary’s Catholic Primary school will be closed from Monday 23rd March 2020, until further notice, as instructed by the government. Thank you for your patience in receiving this information, we have been awaiting further guidance from Dudley Local Authority, which we received this afternoon.

In line with the government statement, we will aim to offer childcare provision for a limited number of children: children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home. As stated by the government, the fewer children making the journey to school, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in the wider society. Therefore, if it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be. The guidance continues, that parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

 

 

To aid our staffing levels, places must be booked IN ADVANCE, if this is required. If you meet the ‘key worker’ definition and need this childcare support on the days in which you are at work, please complete this form by Sunday 22nd March (https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=qu8L9ghQMEi8htyW3e74LJd8sdO9n5tOqjC-OTVmtxdUNlZLUkVRU1VONDM3N0Y4N1QwVUxUV0xQRy4u) to request a childcare place. Please be aware, that we will consider all requests in line with government guidance and our current staffing levels. Weekly bookings will follow and we ask that you complete the form (new links will be distributed) by Friday, 10am for the following week. This provision will be reviewed regularly, based on staffing numbers and government communication.

 

 

Please note that this will be a childcare service from 8:50am until 3:00pm, with children accessing the “home learning” activities that can be viewed online. Your child will need to bring a packed lunch and drink for dinner time as there is no food service (if FSM see below). There is a possibility that if staffing levels fall, or a more centralised approach is adopted by the Local Authority, children might need to attend local schools other than St Mary’s. This would be communicated to parents who are affected.

 

Free School Meals

A unified approach has been decided by the Local Authority that children whose parents receive benefit-based free school meals and who are not at school, will be able to come to school to collect a ‘grab bag’ lunch from 11:30am –12:00pm from the front of the school. Whilst doing so, we ask that you ring ahead to confirm your collection and minimise contact as much as possible. The grab bags will not include a drink, but will include either a cheese or ham sandwich, a piece of fruit, a yoghurt and a slice of cake. Dudley Catering have informed us that this will be the only food option available. For those in school, break time snacks can be ordered on ParentPay as normal. 

Learning from home

Your child’s learning is, of course, important to us, therefore teaching staff will be providing regular work and all pupils are expected to undertake some learning activities set every day. Work will be set online for each year group, by teachers, from Monday 23rd March. Links to this work can be found on our school website, under the “home learning” tab: https://st-mary-bh.sch.life/page/category/year-group-at-home-learning-. School have provided an exercise book for children who are still present in school however, recording on any form of paper will be sufficient. Please see the documents on our school website for further detail. Our school website also contains useful links for home learning and for support during closure.

Contacting school during school closure

If your child has any concerns or questions about their work, they can contact their teacher through “Purple Mash” during school hours. Instructions for how to do this can be found under the “contact school” section of the COVID19 tab on the school website (https://st-mary-bh.sch.life/page/detail/if-you-need-help-). Teachers will endeavour to respond to children as soon as they are able, however, under the current circumstances, a swift response cannot be guaranteed, especially if a member of staff has also been taken ill. Other useful information for children can also be found here. If parents/carers have a concern and need to contact the school, please contact the school office as usual or use the “contact us” form on the school website during school hours (https://st-mary-bh.sch.life/page/detail/contact-school-during-closure).

May I take this opportunity to thank you for all your patience, support and understanding during this extraordinarily complex and challenging situation. I shall continue to communicate with you, whenever necessary via our school website and the School Life app.

We will continue to pray for all in our community.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Ms O O’Beirne

Principal

Please note, that pupils who are categorised as vulnerable will be contacted separately.

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