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From Sue Holman

Apologies that I have been quiet recently but I have been unwell and away from work. Not
Covid thank goodness. I am the only person I know who could catch another virus with
symptoms like Covid but not Covid, so strange.
This has been a very confusing time for us all since Christmas. The rates of transmission have
risen massively on the Isle of Wight. Schools have been closed again apart from those who
are most vulnerable/children of key workers etc. We are providing online learning or
alternative ways for those who are not in school etc. I understand that all families were
contacted by their class teacher last week, unless they had already phoned school themselves
and left a message to say their child would not be attending. It is so helpful for us to know if
you would like to send your child to school or if you prefer to keep them at home and support
their learning. If anyone’s circumstances change, please contact us at school to let us know
your wishes.

We are using weekly Lateral Flow Tests in school now to test staff and students who are able to participate. They have worked well so far and have picked up people who are asymptomatic but have the virus. We are managing to keep bubbles open and so far have only had to shut one due to more than one person testing positive. Sadly, we have had a number of cases across the staff team and so have had a number of staff absent.
I think this is a foregone conclusion now on the Isle of Wight.
In relation to those young people who are studying from home, schools have been directed to carry out safeguarding checks each week. We need to check that students are ok, dressed, ready for learning and that they engage with their online learning. For some young people, this will be via video link so we can actually see the young person. For others it will be by talking to them on the phone and for others it may be a doorstep visit. I am sure some people will find this intrusive but safeguarding young people is our first responsibility. It is not that we don’t trust our parents and families, it will hopefully be seen as our firm commitment to supporting you and your child.
We are also advised that students should be encouraged to engage with remote learning as if they were coming to school i.e. up and ready for lessons online at the right time, engaging with scheduled activities online, if you are having problems with computer access to online learning and it is relevant for your child, please let us know. For some young people, online learning is not the best way of promoting their skills and the class teacher will send more practical activities for your child to complete in relation to life skills etc. The DFE have directed us that all settings should have systems for checking daily, whether students are engaging with their work, and work with families to rapidly identify effective solutions where engagement is a concern. Your child’s class teacher will liaise with you regularly to ensure we get the best balance for all young people without undue stress for you and your child.

Together We Achieve. Please keep in touch regularly and we will do our very best to keep you
supported and informed.