Coronavirus (COVID-19) - LATEST UPDATE 25.05.20 - EMERGENCY CHILDCARE
**IT IS SAFER TO KEEP YOUR CHILD AT HOME. IF YOU CAN SAFELY CARE AND KEEP YOUR CHILD AT HOME, YOU SHOULD. PLEASE ONLY USE OUR EMERGENCY CHILDCARE IF ABSOLUTELY NECCESSARY**
Welsh Government Update - As before, you can keep right up to date with latest developments by visiting the Welsh Government Website by visiting https://gov.wales/coronavirus. Recent changes include recognising more symptoms of Coronavirus. Therefore, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, you should immediately self isolate along with everyone else in your household. Under no circumstances should children attend childcare provision if they or anyone else they live with have symptoms or are remotely unwell:
- a new continuous cough
- a fever
- loss of smell or taste
Schools Reopening - Despite plans in England for schools to reopen on 1 June, there are no such timescales in Wales. The Education Minister in Wales has however outlined the steps she will take when it is safe to open schools. This information can be found at https://gov.wales/decision-framework-next-phase-education-and-childcare
Emergency Child Care Provision - The process for applying for a place in our emergency childcare has changed slightly. There is no longer a requirement for parents/carers of pupils to apply for emergency childcare on a weekly basis. If a vulnerable child is currently registered and attending our emergency child care, their place will continue to be allocated for as long as it is required.
For parents of key workers, please advise the school directly if you require access to the extended hours/bank holiday provision.
However, if a place is no longer required, you must e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org so that hub lists can be kept up to date and staffed accordingly, and any associated transport (if applicable) can be cancelled.
If applying for a place in the emergency childcare for the first time, please visit www.rctcbc.gov.uk/publichealthrct
Any new applicants who miss the online window for applying can e-mail email@example.com
Please only apply for a place if absolutely necessary. The safest place to be is at home. If the place is no longer needed, please withdraw it.
Free School Meals - Parents/carers of children eligible for free school meals will have received a letter from the Council detailing how to apply to receive a cash equivalent amount paid directly into your bank account. Please look out for this letter and if you have difficulty in registering or do not have access to the Internet, then please do not hesitate to contact the school.
The entitlement for eligible pupils within Rhondda Cynon Taf is £3.90 per day – which equates to £19.50 per week. Payments will be made each Monday.
This payment is instead of a Free School Meal, and parents/carers are expected to use the money for the benefit of their eligible child/children.
A Message of Reassurance
I hope that you are all doing well in these very strange and uncertain times. I would like to thank you all for your support, kind words and patience as we try to make sense of new ways of working. In return, I hope you are feeling well supported by the school. I can assure you we are trying incredibly hard to stay connected, keep you up to date and supply you with the tools you need to help your family through this difficult time.
I am under no illusions as to how hard it must be but we remain hugely committed to each and every one of you. I hope the suggested learning activities, advice and resources are helping you provide structure and routine. These will only improve as time goes on.
However, please don’t feel under pressure to complete the activities. They are provided with the intention of being helpful and I am adamant that they must not add to any stress and anxiety in your house. Each child will be different and we understand that some children will not or cannot work at home. For some, insisting on rigid routines and work will cause unnecessary anxiety and unhelpful behaviour in the house. For others, the structure and routine will be really important and pupils will be completing many tasks in a day. You know your child best. Please use the resources in a way that is helpful. You are not under any pressure to complete the work and teachers are here to support not insist.
Whilst its so lovely to see the activities you are completing with your child, it is certainly not a competition. Please spend the time reassuring your child, comforting them and helping them make sense of what is going on. We’ve shared some ideas to help with this but we have plenty more so all you have to do is ask. Their wellbeing (and yours) is far more important so if the activities are not helping or making things worse, don’t panic…just drop us a line and we’ll try to help. We’re all in this together and this will be ok. There will be staff in school every day (including Easter holidays) so you are never on your own.
Crucial Differences between school and childcare
I must be clear here that those pupils in school over this period of time will be in emergency childcare and not in statutory school. Children might well be placed in groups without a qualified teacher and where staff : pupil ratios are much lower than a typical ‘normal’ school week.
Social distancing guidance is widely in force across the UK. It is a very important part of the Nation’s approach to controlling the impact of Coronavirus. We have to work towards this guidance and therefore the number of available spaces at our emergency childcare provision is vastly lower than the number of pupils on roll at the school.
Staff across RCT have been issued with very clear guidance on how to keep themselves and their family safe. In many cases, they have been mandated to stay at home if either they or someone they live with has underlying health conditions, are pregnant or over 70. Their health and wellbeing is obviously a priority for me also. As a result, many staff will be busy working from home trying to ensure they are in regular contact and setting appropriate work for those who are at home. Therefore, we will be operating with a vastly reduced number of staff from now on.
Self-isolation is also in force - If you, your child or someone your child lives with has symptoms, they should be in self-isolation for 14 days. Again, some of our staff are in this position.
Your child’s specific needs - Your child is likely to be in a group of pupils where staff are not completely familiar with their needs. It is vital that pupils come to school with a one page profile of their:
- Specific care needs – including supply of personal hygiene products, spare clothes etc
- Dietary requirements – allergies, feeding regimes, likes and dislikes
- **Medication – if medication is needed, it must be supplied in the original package which clearly states the dose. Please note, we will not store surplus medication**
- Behaviour triggers
- Contact details of more than one person. One of these numbers must be contactable at all times throughout the day.
**Medication - It is your responsibility to ensure that Medication is administered at home where possible. It is likely that unfamiliar staff will be caring for your child and therefore might not necessarily know their support plans in any great detail. Where medication must be administered in school, you must communicate these requirements to the school nurse and Deputy Headteacher on Monday morning**
**Some pupils will be accessing work through Google Applications. Please be mindful to supervise their use/access in line with our online safety policy**
**If you or your child have a new cough or fever, please self-isolate** For more information relating to self-isolation, please click on the following link https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/latest-information-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/
- if you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7days from when your symptoms started. (See Ending Isolation section below for more information)
- If anyone you live with has symptoms, you should self-isolate for 14 days
- this action will help protect others in your community whilst you are infectious.
- plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home.
- ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home.
- stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible.
- sleep alone, if that is possible.
- wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water.
- stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible.
- you do not need to call NHS111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
I am writing to advise you that all Rhondda Cynon Taf schools are provided with regular updates in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19) developments which are always informed by Welsh Government and Public Health Wales guidance.
As you will be aware Coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, Coronaviruses are common across the world and COVID -19 is a new strain of Coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. The situation in relation to the virus continues to change on a daily basis. In summary, the current advice relating to travellers returning from overseas is broken down into two categories: :
Category 1 - travellers should immediately self-isolate, even if asymptomatic (no visible signs of illness), and call NHS Direct (Wales) to inform of any recent travel.
Category 2 - travellers do not need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms they should self-isolate and call NHS Direct (Wales).
In terms of the above categories, these relate to the following countries:
Category 1 - countries are currently; Wuhan city and Hubei province (China), Iran, Daegu or Cheongdo (Republic of Korea) and Italy*.
Category 2 - countries are currently; Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
*Travelers who returned from areas of Northern Italy that were under containment measures (see map link below) between 19 February and 8 March 2020 should self-isolate for 14 days. If they develop symptoms they should contact the NHS Direct Wales on 111.
Any Travelers who returned from the rest of Italy before 9 March 2020 do not need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms they should self-isolate and call the NHS Direct Wales on 111.
The following link will allow people to identify whether they are in category 1 or 2 more easily:
The incubation period of the virus is between 2 and 14 days. This means that if a person remains well 14 days after contact with someone with a confirmed Coronavirus, they have not been infected.
Travellers returning from other countries, including France, currently do not need take any special measures although people are encouraged to check the information on the Public Health Wales website as it is updated daily.
The government announced on the 12 March 2020 that all overseas education trips for children under the age of 18 should not take place until further notice. For further information, please check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website as this specifically deals with travel advice and restrictions at
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office. In the event of a school trip being cancelled due to travel restrictions being imposed, further advice will be provided by the schools as and when appropriate.
What are the symptoms of Novel Coronavirus?
Symptoms are similar to other respiratory viruses such as the flu. These may include:
- Shortness of breath
Generally, these infections can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. There is no evidence that children are more affected than other age groups and presently there have been very few cases reported in children.
In order to minimise risks to your child, please encourage good hygiene and frequent hand washing. Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is recommended. The use of an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol is recommended if soap and water are not available.
It would also be helpful if you could encourage your child to
- avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue, throw the tissue in the bin, and then wash their hands immediately
Updated advice provided on the 12 March 2020 suggests that schools should remain open. However, if a child or adult develops a new cough and a mild temperature they should self-isolate for a 7 day period. If you require any further information or assistance please call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or 111.
More detailed advice is however provided on the Public Health Wales website at:
I hope that this letter provides the necessary reassurances that schools are receiving appropriate advice in relation to this matter.
Ysgol Ty Coch Specific Guidance
We are of course aware that a large number of our pupils have suppressed immune systems. We therefore understand that parents will be concerned and anxious about the possibility of their child getting Coronavirus. With that in mind, we have made some special arrangements within our organisation as an extra layer of precaution. These are:
- Stopping school trips to any congested areas
- Limiting non-essential visitors to school e.g. volunteers, students, student nurses
- Limiting meetings to only those which are essential
- Limiting activities in The Family Centre
- Limiting whole school gatherings e.g. assemblies, whole school events and productions. Please note the Railway Children Production will be rescheduled
- Limiting access to our P16 College class in Nantgarw
I understand that many of you will be worried about sending your child to school. If your child is off school for any reason, please continue to follow the same system of notification by calling school. I can assure you, we will be very understanding.
If your child presents with any symptoms whilst in school, they will be seen by the school nurse and you will be contacted immediately.
All staff have been issued with the latest up to date guidance. They have been informed that if they present with any symptoms, they are to self-isolate.
Please don’t hesitate to contact myself or senior leadership team if you have any concerns, questions or ideas.
Very best wishes
Headteacher, Ysgol Ty Coch