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Headteacher Updates

Messages from the Headteacher

14.1.22

 

Dear All, 

We are pleased to say that the boiler issue was resolved by the engineer on Monday and all students were able to return to school on Tuesday morning.

Covid

A reminder that the rules regarding testing have changed this week and we have just been informed that they change again from Monday 17th January.

Currently:

If you test positive on a LFT and you DO NOT have symptoms, you need to isolate for 10 days.

If you have symptoms you need to isolate and get a PCR test. If it is positive, you isolate for 10 days from your first day of symptoms.

If students have symptoms and are not able to take a test, they will need to self isolate for 10 days.  

You can leave self isolation after day 7, if you have a negative Lateral Flow Test on day 6 AND 24 hours later on Day 7.  If the LFTs are still testing positive, you will need to keep isolating. 

 

Changes from Monday 17th January

From Monday 17 January, people who are self-isolating with COVID-19 will have the option to reduce their isolation period after 5 full days if they test negative with a lateral flow device (LFD) test on both day 5 and day 6 and they do not have a temperature. For example, if they test negative on the morning of day 5 and the morning of day 6, they can return to their education or childcare setting immediately on day 6.

The first test must be taken no earlier than day 5 of the self-isolation period, and the second must be taken the following day. All test results should be reported to NHS Test and Trace.

If the result of either of their tests is positive, they should continue to self-isolate until they get negative results from two LFD tests on consecutive days or until they have completed 10 full days of self-isolation, whichever is earliest.

Anyone who is unable to take LFD tests or anyone who continues to have a temperature will need to complete the full 10 day period of self-isolation.

 

 

Since term has started we have had 34 people affected by Covid - both students and staff.  Please continue to test your child twice a week and report the results to the class email address. 

If your child tests positive, please provide the class teacher with the following information:

  • whether your child has had symptoms or not
  • when they tested positive on a Lateral Flow Test 
  • whether they have had a PCR or 

If the test is positive, or if your child is demonstrating symptoms but cannot or will not take a test, please do not send your child to school - they will need to self isolate. 

 

Covid-19 Immunisations - Second Jab

We have been informed by the Immunisation Team that they will be coming to Woodlands on 

Wednesday 2nd February to administer the second covid jab to our students. 

If you wish for your child to have the second vaccination in school, please email our assistant family worker, Shazmeen to confirm this.  shazmeen.malik@woodlands.luton.sch.uk 

Updates and appointment times will be sent out to families soon. 

 

Sports for Champions Visit

On Monday 7th February we will be welcoming professional basketball player Pierre Henry-Fontaine to the school, in conjunction with Sports for Champions.

Pierre will spend the morning working alongside different cohorts of students in the school and help them achieve their personal sponsorship challenge.

Later in the day he will host an assembly and Q and A session.

We are really excited for this event and have had two previous successful Sports for Champions attend Woodlands in recent years. It is a fundraising event for Pierre and the school and the link is attached, 

Where possible, we are asking that donations are made virtually to the Gofund me page.

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/woodlandschools...

https://youtu.be/_cnjEo02OGQ

Information has been sent out via class emails. 

 

Eco Schools

The School Council are working towards gaining the next level of the Eco Schools Award.  We were pleased to gain the Bronze award last year. 

This term our assemblies will be focussing on the 3 Rs - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Today’s assembly was about the first of the Rs - Reduce.

We have been thinking about how we reduce our use of water, energy and food.

Here are some of the ideas we have been thinking about.

How to reduce water waste:

  • Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth
  • Have a shower rather than a bath

How to reduce energy waste:

  • Turn lights off when we leave the room 
  • Switch off and unplug unused electrical equipment

How to reduce food waste:

  • Make another meal out of leftovers
  • Compost foodstuffs where possible. 
  • Freeze food for another day. 

It would be great if you could reinforce these messages at home. 

Here is a link to a song about the 3Rs by Jack Johnson:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1mFymbRmv4

 

Transitions Coffee Morning - Monday 24th January 2022 at 10.00am

We have managed to rearrange the Transitions Coffee Morning with the Transitions Team. This will be held at Woodlands on Monday 24th January at 10.00am via ZOOM.

Please book your place by emailing our assistant Family Worker, Shazmeen, to confirm your attendance shazmeen.malik@woodlands.luton.sch.uk and a link for the coffee morning will be sent out to you.

Olivia Hannigan (Transitions Personal Advisor), Sally Childs (Transitions nurse) and Nicky Drummond (Transitions Social Worker) shall be attending. 

 

Have a lovely weekend,

Take care,

Sandra 

 

 

7.1.2022

 

Dear All, 

 

We were very pleased to be back in the building and to see the students and staff return this week!

 

Covid

The Lateral Flow Testing in school was very effective in picking up 4 positive asymptomatic cases amongst the students.  These students are now isolating and affected classes were advised to carry out LFTs for 7 days.   Students are still able to attend school during this 7 day period provided their LFTS are negative.

 

We have had a very high number of positive Covid cases amongst the staff team and unfortunately we have had to close 2 classes for 2 days this week.  

 

We make decisions about any potential class closures based on the safety of staffing levels within particular departments.  As you know we need high staffing levels in classes and we also need staff with the right skill sets to meet the needs of the students.  When we are unable to do this, and safety becomes a concern, we consider all options before resorting to a class closure, including merging groups and employing supply staff.   All class closures linked to Covid will be implemented for the shortest possible time.

 

Broken Boiler

Due to unforeseen circumstances, caused by a power surge to one of the control panels for the boilers, today we have had to close a significant number of classes due to a lack of heating and hot water!  The engineer will be out to repair the issue on Monday but unfortunately, the affected classes will need to stay at home that day.  Teachers have been in touch with families that his affects and plans are in place for remote learning on Monday.  Transport have been informed of the issues.  We will update families during the course of Monday, once we know what is happening.  If you have not been contacted by school, your child will be attending school as normal.

 

Student use of Social Media

Many of our students enjoy using social media to keep in touch with their friends outside of school.  We understand that a number of students have created WhatsApp groups to keep in contact.  We strongly urge parents to supervise their children’s interactions on WhatsApp as we have been made aware of some very inappropriate exchanges.  Although we do teach the children about how to use technology safely and about esafety and appropriate behaviours, because these groups are on the students’ phones and the activity is happening outside of school, we cannot supervise and intervene with situations. 

If you are concerned about your child’s use of the mobile phones and groups like WhatsApp and would like to discuss concerns further, please contact your child’s teacher in the first instance, or the family worker team. 

 

Transitions Coffee Morning - Monday 24th January 2022 at 10.00am

We have managed to rearrange the Transitions Coffee Morning with the Transitions Team. This will be held at Woodlands on Monday 24th January at 10.00am via Zoom.

Please book your place by emailing our assistant Family Worker, Shazmeen, to confirm your attendance shazmeen.malik@woodlands.luton.sch.uk and a link for the coffee morning will be sent out to you.

Olivia Hannigan (Transitions Personal Advisor), Sally Childs (Transitions nurse) and Nicky Drummond (Transitions Social Worker) shall be attending. 

 

Have a lovely weekend,

 

Take care,

 

Sandra 

3.1.2022

 

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

I wish all of our families a very Happy New Year and hope that 2022 will be a happy and healthier year for us all!

 

I hope that you have managed to have some quality family time over the holidays.  I am aware that some of you and your families have been affected by Covid over the holiday period and things may not have worked out as you planned.  I hope that those who have been unwell have recovered and that those who are currently unwell will recover soon. 

 

If your child tested positive or was unwell over the holiday period please send an email to the class teacher, to let us know the dates when they were positive and let us know how they are doing now.

 

At this moment in time, the government and the school are committed to remaining open for students to attend school - this is the best place for learning to take place and where we want to be.  

 

All schools have had to draw up contingency plans should the situation worsen At Woodlands, the biggest risk arises  when we have high numbers of staff absences and when we are unable to safely staff classes due to the complexity and variety of students’ needs. During the autumn term we had a few occasions when we had to have restricted periods of attendance, on a limited basis, following Public Health advice.  We aimed to ensure these periods were for the shortest possible time periods and aimed to reduce the impact on students and families. Moving forward, we may be in a position where we need to put these temporary measures in place again.  Please be assured that these types of decisions are not taken lightly and will only be put in place if other measures to safely cover classes cannot be put in place and if the decision is approved by the local Public Health agency and local authority.  We will aim to impact the smallest number of students and families for the shortest period of time. 

 

Should this situation arise and affect you and your child, we will endeavour to communicate information about any such measures as soon as possible and will put in place plans for remote learning. In the meantime, we are proceeding with plans to reopen to all students on Wednesday 5th January 2022.

 

Take care,

Sandra

 

1. Current arrangements for January 2022

Training Day - Tuesday 4th January 2022 - school closed to students but open to staff.

Students return to school - Wednesday 5th January 2022.

 

2. Lateral Flow Testing before and upon the return to school

Students are requested to take a Lateral Flow Test tomorrow (Tuesday 4th January) - prior to returning to school on Wednesday 5th January. 

Please email your class teacher tomorrow (Tuesday 4th January), via the class email address to state the outcome of the test, whether this is positive or negative.

Provided the results are negative, your child can return to school on Wednesday 5th January.

If your child tests positive, please provide the class teacher with the following information:

  • whether your child has had symptoms or not
  • when they tested positive on a Lateral Flow Test 
  • whether they have had a PCR or 

If the test is positive, or if your child is demonstrating symptoms but cannot or will not take a test, please do not send your child to school - they will need to self isolate. 

 

3. Self isolation

The rules about self isolating changed on 22nd December 2021.

Details can be found via this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

 

In essence, if your child tests positive, their self isolation period can potentially now finish after day 7, if they have 2 negative lateral flow tests 24 hours apart; the earliest they can take this LFT is on day 6 and day 7.

 

The period of self isolation is determined by the date that symptoms start or the date of a positive test, if no symptoms are observed. 

 

We will ask for this information in order to identify the potential end date for self isolation and return to school date. 

 

Please note that if people are still testing positive, on day 7, they will need to continue self isolating until there are two consecutive negative tests, in a 24 hour period.  Likewise, if the tests indicate that your child is negative on day 7, but if your child is still unwell, particularly if they have a raised temperature or if they are being sick, please do not send them in to school. 

 

See below a diagram to explain the new self isolation guidance.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Testing arrangements moving forward

Secondary aged students are requested to take a Lateral Flow test in school in the first week back. This will happen on Wednesday 5th January, for those students for whom we have received permission.

 

Staff and students should continue to carry out a Lateral Flow Test at home, at least twice weekly.  Tests should be carried out before your child attends school on Mondays and Thursdays.  Please carry out the tests on Sunday evening or Monday morning AND on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.

 

We request that you continue to inform your child’s class teacher of the results - whether they are positive or negative. 

 

5. Close contacts with someone who has a positive case of Covid 19

Anyone aged 5 years and over who lives in the same household as someone with COVID-19 and who is not legally required to self-isolate is now strongly advised to take an LFD test every day for 7 days. The LFD test should be taken in the morning before leaving home.  If the test is negative, they can continue to attend school. 

If the test is positive, they will need to get a PCR and start their period of self isolation.

 

6. What will happen if a student arrives in school and has or develops any of the Covid symptoms?

Core Covid Symptoms

  • A raised temperature

We will continue to take student temperatures on arrival at school. 

If an amber or red temperature is initially identified by the temperature guns used for testing students, we will retest after 10 minutes with the same thermometer.

If still amber or red – we will retest using the ear thermometer.

If still raised – the student will move to the isolation room and we will call home requesting you to collect your child.

  • A continuous cough - Coughing a lot for more than an hour or 3 or more episodes in 24 hours.

If the student is observed to cough continuously for over 15 minutes – we will move them to the isolation room and we will call home requesting you to come and collect your child.

  • Loss of taste or smell

If reported by child – move to the isolation room and we will call home requesting you come to collect your child.

The student will be sent home and they should follow Public Health advice and get tested.

 

Tests can be booked via this site: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

 

There are four Luton sites offering FREE bookable PCR tests if you have coronavirus symptoms, open from 8am to 8pm.

The four locations are:

· Vicarage Road Car Park (University Campus) Vicarage Street, LU1 3HZ

· Hockwell Ring Community Centre, Mayne Avenue, Leagrave, LU4 9LB

· Bury Park Community Centre, 161-161b Dunstable Road, LU1 1BW

· Luton Airport Test Centre, Mid Stay Car Park, LU2 9QT

 

7. What happens if a parent refuses to get their child tested?

Schools should advise parents to get their child tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms.

A test is not compulsory however, it is advised in order to ascertain whether the child has COVID-19 symptoms.

If a child gets tested and it is negative, the child can return to school before the 10 day isolation period ends only if they feel well and they do not have a fever for 48 hours.

If a child does not get tested, they will have to remain at home for 10 days.

 

8. Mask wearing in secondary schools

On 2nd January 2022 the DfE sent out new guidance advising that students and staff in secondary schools should wear face coverings in class as well as in shared spaces. 

Advice indicates that for some students, including those in special schools, this will be difficult and not all students with SEN will be able to wear a mask.  Those who can, should do so. Masks do not need to be worn when outside or when in PE lessons. Students who can, are advised to wear masks when travelling in transport.

 

The guidance indicates that there are circumstances where people are not able to wear masks.  In relation to education settings, this includes (but is not limited to):

  • people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability 
  • people for whom putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
  • people speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
  • to avoid the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
  • you are also permitted to remove a face covering in order to take medication

 

When wearing a face covering, staff, visitors and pupils should: 

● wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on 

● avoid touching the part of the face covering in contact with their mouth and nose, as it could be contaminated with the virus 

● change the face covering if it becomes damp or if they’ve touched it 

● avoid taking it off and putting it back on a lot in quick succession to minimise potential contamination 

 

When removing a face covering, staff, visitors and pupils should: 

● wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before removing 

● only handle the straps, ties or clips 

● not give it to someone else to use 

● if single-use, dispose of it carefully in a household waste bin and do not recycle 

● once removed, store reusable face coverings in a plastic bag until there is an opportunity to wash them. 

● if reusable, wash it in line with manufacturer’s instructions at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric 

● wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser once removed  

The use of facemasks in school will be reviewed by the government on 26th January 2022.

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