Covid-19 Update - 5th January 2021
An update from Mrs McLaughlin following the latest announcements.
5th January 2021
Dear Parents/ Carers,
I hope you continue to keep well and safe and as this New Year starts with additional challenges for us all, let us hope for brighter months ahead. As the spread of Coronavirus accelerates across the country, yesterday evening, the Government announced that from Wednesday 4th January 2021 all schools should once again close to all children, except vulnerable children and the children of key workers. This is expected to last for the next six weeks, until the February break.
This means that for the vast majority of our pupils, home learning will be the norm for the coming weeks. We want our pupils to maintain positive routines in relation to their learning and we therefore expect them to follow their normal school timetable and access the work for each day, lesson by lesson. Details of our home learning approach can be found on the school website. https://www.stberns.bristol.sch.uk/page/?title=Remote+Learning+during+Covid%2D19&pid=125
Pupils are also asked to check their school emails each morning, at the start of the school day. They will be emailed the daily prayers, the Wednesday assembly, a weekly reflection and will also be contacted by their tutor and Achievement Co-ordinator each week.
Children of key workers and vulnerable children
The school will be open for key worker and vulnerable children only, who should attend as usual wearing their school uniform. Thank you to parents/ carers who have already indicated that they need their child to attend. If you need to send your child to school but have not yet let us know, please provide us with your child’s name and the days on which they will need to attend. These details can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or phoned in to the school office, which will continue to be staffed during the school day, during this period of school closure.
Free School Meals
The Government has said that children entitled to free school meals should continue to be provided with meals throughout the period of school closure. Details of the arrangements will be shared with eligible families as the information is received.
We have been told that the public exams scheduled for next week will take place. Pupils should therefore attend school to take the scheduled exams.
The uncertainty about the summer exams, will no doubt be a cause of anxiety to pupils, parents, carers and staff. We understand that the Government is in discussions with Ofqual over what might happen. As soon as we hear anything we will share it with you. In the meantime it is important that Year 11 pupils continue with the positive learning habits they have displayed until now and maintain their home learning and revision.
Support for pupils
We are committed to supporting all of our pupils as best we can at this time. If you have any queries or concerns please let us know so that we can follow up with you and your child, as appropriate.
A final thought from Cardinal Vincent Nichols
The following is an extract from Cardinal Vincent Nichol’s homily during Midnight Mass at Westminster Cathedral:
“For people throughout the world this is a time of crisis. And a crisis is a crossroads in which we face choices about which way to go, about what to do next. At a crossroad we look for the signposts, the indications about the road to take.
At this time of crisis we must set up those signposts, clearly and unambiguously, signposts which signal the kind of society we want to emerge from this period of darkness. Of course there are the great challenges of economic recovery, of building a deeper sense of mutual responsibility between nations and states, not least in the distribution of vaccines to the poorest. But tonight I think more of the domestic and local signposts we want to erect. Can we not build back better? Surely we can create a more kind culture, a daily discourse of respect towards those with whom we disagree, a practice of compassionate standing together in times of stress and hardship, a deeper empathy for the suffering of others. These we have seen bud in the months of hardship. These are the roads we want to take, roads on which we overcome divisions of colour and class, taking us beyond the division of wealth and well-being. Let us set up those signposts at this crossroads of our history, knowing that the light come into the world this night is given so that we can know the truth, the goodness and the beauty by which to shape our future. It is in the person of the Christ-child, God in our flesh, that we find our road of life, the ending of our fears and the fulfilment of our hopes.”
Thank you for all you are doing. We hope that in these challenging times you can take some comfort in the support of others and can begin to look forward to the remainder of the year with hope and positivity.
At the start of the holidays, I contacted you about the arrangements for the start of term. At that time, we believed that Year 11 and key worker and vulnerable pupils would be returning to school on Monday 4th January with the remaining year groups undertaking home learning until their return on 11th January. You will, no doubt have heard yesterday’s Government announcement that the return for pupils is being delayed by a further week to enable mass testing in schools to be set up.
This means that next week, the week beginning 4th January 2021, all pupils, except any key worker and vulnerable pupils who need to attend, should remain at home and undertake their learning via Google Classroom. They should follow their normal school timetable, as staff will be setting work for each timetabled lesson. We will email daily prayers and the assembly to pupils throughout the week.
Year 11 pupils will now return on Monday 11th January and Years 7-10 will continue with their home learning for a second week. All pupils should then be back on Monday 18th January.
Further information about this and the mass testing, which we are being asked to deliver in school, will be sent to you next week. The school office will be open as usual from Monday 4th January 2021.
I hope you have a safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve and send you my best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year
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