Headteachers across the Meon Valley have urged parents to keep their children at home rather than send them to back to school.
The heads, all part of the Swanmore Cluster which includes schools in Swanmore, Droxford, Meonstoke, Newtown and Soberton, Bishop’s Waltham and Wickham, have today taken what they call “the unusual step” of writing a joint letter to parents.
It says schools have had a significantly greater number of places requested for the in-school provision than we did during the March lockdown.
The letter calls on parents only to send their children into school if they have to and says “the more we can minimise the number of people in the schools this half-term, the lower the risk of transmission for everyone in our community.”
The move follows updated advice from the Department for Education (DfE) which updated its guidance on Friday evening which states that “parents and carers should keep their children at home if they can.”
The letter says: “We want to do everything we can to collectively protect our staff, children and their families and our local NHS hospitals.”
The letter continues: “We all appreciate that this time is hugely challenging for everybody and we very much want to do everything we can to support and provide for our essential critical workers.
“The reason that schools remain open at this time is to ensure that critical workers who need a place for their child can attend work. If you are classed as a critical worker and you can be at home with your child or you have a partner who is not a critical worker who is at home, then we would ask you to consider whether your child should be in school.
“If you are a critical worker and your partner does not work or you have alternative childcare provision such as a nanny, then you shouldn’t be sending your child to school.
“Please take the time, if you have not already done so, to consider whether you can provide care for your child at home regardless of the fact that one or both of you are critical workers or if you can reduce the number of days your child needs to be in school going forward, particularly if one or more of you work part-time.
“We are happy to be flexible so you can vary by week the days needed in school dependent on shifts changing. We would appreciate advance notice of requests for planning purposes.”
“Please make contact directly with your child’s school to let them know if you can reduce requirements for your child based on the information given in this letter.
“We thank you for the privilege of educating your children, whether face to face or remotely. We also know that this time is a challenge for every family and we will do anything we can to support your children with their learning, or signpost you to other support if needed.”