Hertfordshire County Council Public Health Service
Supporting nurseries, schools, colleges and other education settings to respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Dear parents and guardians,
This is an important letter to share some information on how we can work together to make sure we can continue to give children and young people the best education in the safest way possible.
One important part of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of pupils, parents and our communities is testing for coronavirus. We all have a duty to make sure that the right people have access to get tested at the right time. Every time a test is used inappropriately, a person with Covid-19 symptoms may miss out on getting tested.
Therefore, I ask that you all follow these principles:
▪ You should only book a test if your child has any of these three coronavirus symptoms:
1. a high temperature: any new high temperature where your child feels hot to touch on their chest or back (you do not need to measure the temperature)
2. a new continuous cough: coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
3. a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste: a noticeable loss of smell or taste or things smell and taste different to normal
▪ Your child does not need a test if they have a runny nose, are sneezing or feeling unwell but do not have a temperature, cough or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste because these are not normally symptoms of coronavirus.
▪ If you are unsure about whether to get a test, please check the official list of symptoms on the NHS website, which is reviewed regularly:
▪ Only the person with symptoms should get a test. You do not need to get a test for anyone else in the household unless they also have any of the three symptoms listed above. All members of the household need to self-isolate whilst waiting for the test result.
▪ If the person with symptoms’ test comes back positive, other members of their household should continue self-isolating for 14 days and only get a test if they develop coronavirus symptoms.
▪ If a pupil in a class or bubble tests positive for coronavirus, anyone who is advised to self-isolate does not require a test unless they subsequently develop symptoms.
No one else in the same class or bubble as the symptomatic person needs to take any action unless advised by the school. Schools have detailed guidance and access to a Department for Education and Public Health England helpline for advice and support.
Contacts of a person who has tested positive must follow the guidance carefully and in full, which means they must stay at home for 14 days. This is because it can take several days following contact with an infected person before an individual develops symptoms or the virus can be detected. Students should only book a test if they get symptoms.
The NHS has produced some guidance to help parents understand when their child can and cannot attend school which you may find useful: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/is-my-child-too-ill-for-school/
It is vital for children’s learning and future opportunities that they are able to return to school and college. It is therefore vitally important that all we work together and do our bit to make this possible.
Professor Viv Bennett CBE Chief Nurse and Director Maternity and Early Years | Public Health England
Head of World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Public Health Nursing and Midwifery
Follow me on Twitter: @VivJBennett
Dr Susan Hopkins
Interim Chief Medical Officer | NHS Test & Trace
Deputy Director | Public Health England
Consultant in Infectious Diseases & Microbiology
Royal Free, London
I am pleased to say that both children and staff are settling into our new way of school life. We are maintaining the processes as described in the school’s risk assessment to keep everybody as safe as possible. It has also been very pleasing to see that, as usual, we are getting wonderful support from our parents and families in the Four Swannes community.
In line with that support, I would like to remind all parents/carers that we MUST treat all reports of illness very seriously. There are strict guidelines as to how we deal with reports of unwell children. If you report that your child has a high temperature, a new continuous cough, loss of taste or smell, upset stomach (diarrhoea) or vomiting then you MUST NOT bring your child into school. Any symptoms that staff see at school, we will ask you to collect your child. You must then keep your child at home whilst you have them tested for the virus. Any siblings (brothers or sisters) of the child showing symptoms will also be sent home for at least ten (10) days. I would ask that there is an understanding that these processes must be followed in order to keep us all as safe as possible. For further information on how to deal with a suspected case whilst at home, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance
Thank you to those who have helped by observing the timings for drop-off and collection from the school. I am pleased to say that the mornings are working very well which means that I am shortening the time between drop-off to just five (5) minutes. From Monday 14th September, Years 5/6 and 1/2 need to be dropped off at 8:40am and Years 3/4 at 8:45am. This will reduce any waiting time at the school gates.
Collection times will still have 15 mins intervals as we still have parents not collecting at the allotted time. Years 5/6 and 1/2 will still be at 3:00pm and Years 3/4 at 3:15pm. Once all parents ensure that children are collected at the specified times then I may be able to reduce waiting times. Please collect your children at the specified time.
Deputy Head Teacher
I am very happy to be able to welcome all the Four Swannes family back to school this coming Thursday 3rd September.
IF YOUR CHILD/CHILDREN SHOW ANY SYMPTOMS OF COVID 19, PLEASE DO NOT BRING THEM INTO SCHOOL.
For details on symptoms please visit :
It is essential that we get our children back to learning and building the knowledge and skills required to have an active and fulfilled future. The teaching team will have been back already, working hard to prepare the school to ensure it is as safe as possible for every person that is on site. As I type, final detail is being added to the school’s risk assessment which will be shared with the whole community once complete.
In line with the requirements set out by the Department for Education (DfE) and Herts County Council (HCC) the school must ensure that we create ‘bubbles’ that will decrease the possibility of spreading Covid 19. This means that there needs to be various drop off, break, lunch and collection times for each group.
The following detail will inform you of when to drop off and collect your child/children. Please ensure that you keep to the stated times to avoid congregating with other groups.
Group (Bubble) Drop-off Collection
Year 5/6 8:30am 3:00pm
Year 3/4 8:45am 3:15pm
Year 1/2 8:30am 3:00pm
Reception 8:45am 3:15pm
Members of staff will be at the school gates each morning to support and direct families where required. No parents from any junior classes (Years 3-6) will be allowed on site. Children from these year groups will be dropped at the main gate and enter the site through a separate entrance and into classrooms through their external doors.
Parent/carers for years 1/2 will only be able to drop children off at the small gate and not entering the school site properly. A member of staff will be there to support/direct where required.
Collection for ALL children will be back at the drop-off point at the time shown. Please ensure that you are on time to collect your children.
Other important points for the first day back:
It is unfortunate that we need to return with such an array of requirements, however, all the changes are completely in the interests of keeping all the Four Swannes community as safe as possible. All and any further detail will be posted on the school site over the coming days/weeks with more urgent detail being sent to you via SMS (text).
Please ensure that you carefully read the school’s risk assessment once published. It is important that all of us understand the requirements so as we can all work together to keep each other safe.
Friday 5th June
Dear Parent/ Carer,
RE: School reopening to more pupils
As you will be aware from my earlier letters the government is encouraging schools to open to more pupils. They attest that their five criteria have been met. Therefore, from Monday 8th June we will be partially reopening to some pupils in Nursery, Reception, Y1 and Y6. The parents of these children have been contacted directly so that they can make informed choices and are fully aware of the new school procedures.
The staff have worked hard this week to put in place all the safety measures outlined in our risk assessment. A copy of which can be found on our website.
Unfortunately I am still in the shielding category so I will not be there to welcome the children on Monday but I know the staff will do their very best to reassure their pupils and have a good day.
As you know things are always subject to change and often this is at short notice. Please keep checking in on the website or email or phone the office if you have any concerns or queries.
I wish you all the very best.
Mrs J. Jones
Possibility of School Re-opening - Latest Statement from Mrs Jones
Dear Parent/ Carer,
Re: Possibility of school reopening to more pupils.
As you will be aware the government is encouraging schools to open to more pupils other than the current key worker and vulnerable pupils it still caters for. They propose a staggered approach in certain year groups. These being YN, YR,Y1 and Y6 then all year groups by the end of the summer term. Since this announcement there has been very little guidance and advice from government and it has been left to individual schools to make their own decisions based on a risk assessment being carried out.
Some councils across England have refused to implement the government suggestions as they think it’s too soon. However, Hertfordshire are keen that their schools try and meet this requirement. In order to help schools they have issued a generic risk assessment which has proved a useful starting point. I intend posting this on the website when it is fully approved.
As indicated in my last message to you, school is going to be very different. The only way we can adhere to the best possible safety measures is to alter classrooms so that desks are as far away as possible. There will be staggered start and finish times. Separate play and lunchtimes. One way systems and a modifying of resources. Staff may wear PPE and your child’s teacher and classroom area may be different to that in March. When all these measures are in place we will inform you.
Governors met yesterday (virtually) and after much deliberation have decided that they want more time to review the risk assessments being taken. They would like all school staff to review and be confident in the procedures so that when we welcome some of your children back we can do some with full confidence that we have done everything we can to produce as safe as environment as possible. I would like to stress that we cannot guarantee 100% that your children will maintain the 2 meter social distancing requirement.
So that is the schools position at the moment. As you know things can suddenly change! We are aiming to accommodate some children in YN, YR, Y1 and Y6. Most likely from 8th June. We have already made contact with those parents and we will do so again as soon as possible so that they can be clear about the exact arrangements for their child.
At this stage governors feel it is highly unlikely the whole school will be open to all pupils this term.
I appreciate that this as all very strange and possibly at times confusing for you. We feel the same and are working to provide as safe an environment as possible. Rest assured when your child does come back we will make it as stress free and enjoyable as possible.
All the very best to you and your families.
Mrs J. Jones
Dear Parent/ Carer,
Re: Covid 19 update
Following on from my last update on the possibility of the school opening up to more pupils from certain year groups, on or after 1st June 2020. As I write it still seems the government ‘s intention that schools will be asked to open to YN, YR, Y1 and Y6 pupils albeit at a reduced number I.e. no more than 15. You will be aware that this has garnered a lot of media attention and lots of debate. You will no doubt have your own opinion on children returning to school.
I want be completely honest with you as to what this might mean for Four Swannes. IF and it’s a big if more children return to school it will be school but not as you or your children have previously known it. There will have to be strict routines in place. Separation of classes and pupils within classes. Staggered arrival and collection of pupils. No assemblies, whole school activities or playtime. Each class will have a time tabled play and lunch so that they don’t meet with other pupils. There will be signage on doors and floors to reduce contact and movement of pupils. Children will not be allowed to sit next to each other or move in classrooms. This is just a taster of the sorts of things we have been addressing as we seek to adapt to the measures the government is asking us to take. We will, of course, do all that we can to limit the risk of catching the Coronavirus in our school. Despite this the one thing I cannot 100% guarantee to you as parents/ careers is that all pupils will be able to socially distance at all times. Young children are used to having free access to their teacher, staff and friends. They will forget no matter how much we tell them. There will be a limit to what toys and resources that can be used in the Early years. They will not be allowed to sit on the carpet, indeed there will be no mats for them to sit down as they will have to be removed alongside any soft furnishings.
I have tried to lay out the position as clearly as I can to you. Like all my colleagues in the education sector I desperately want to see all pupils back at school, happy, healthy and safe.I am not a scientist, economist or politician. I am an educationalist with 30 years experience in education and this whole new way of teaching will need some adjusting to if the government does insist on this pathway.
I wish you and your families all the very best. Please feel free to share your opinions via the school email system. Governors are meeting virtually this week and would value your thoughts.
Other information can be accessed on www.gov.uk
Mrs J Jones
I was hoping to write to you today with some clarity as to your children returning to school. Alas, that is not possible. Despite the Prime Minister’s latest speech, schools do not have any directive to open for any pupils other than those of critical workers or those classed as vulnerable.
I, like you, want the children back at school but only when it is safe to do so. If we are directed to partially open, then that could mean your child is taught by a different teacher in a different classroom. It could be at staggered times or days as we would seek to keep to the social distancing guidelines. We need to wait and see what further detail the government will give to schools in the coming days.
I have been reflecting over the weekend during the VE Day celebrations when the nation came together in a time of great loss and uncertainty. We are now in a period of history where a great many people have suffered, face financial difficulties and are fearful for the future. Then, as now, things will get better. We will get through this.
Wishing you and your families all the very best. If there is anyway the school can help you, we will endeavour to do our best. Please personally email me at firstname.lastname@example.org marking your letter FS parent so I don’t miss it amongst the hundreds I get every day (I’m not joking!).
Mrs J Jones