SPRINGCROFT PRIMARY SCHOOL IS OPEN TO ALL PUPILS
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - Monday 12th July 2021.
As the Government began relaxing restrictions in England from Monday 29th March 2021, the four-step roadmap begins to offer a route back to a more normal life. While we must all remain vigilant - in particular against the threat from new COVID-19 variants - and continue to protect the NHS, a safe exit from lockdown can begin. It will take place in four steps; and at each step, the Government plan to lift restrictions across the whole of England at the same time. The Prime Minister's statement at coronavirus press conference: Monday 12th July 2021 can be read here.
From Monday 19th July 2021, more vaccines will have been issued, allowing a move away from legal restrictions and allow people to make their own informed decisions about how to manage the virus. All legal limits on the numbers meeting indoors and outdoors will be removed. All businesses will be allowed to re-open, limits lifted on named visitors in care homes, and no restrictions on the number of people attending concerts, theatre and sporting events. There will be no rule on social distancing, and the legal obligation to wear a face covering will end (although you may choose to wear one). The government will no longer instruct people to work from home, and no COVID-19 certification will be required as a condition of entry to any venue or event. The virus will continued to be managed through a test, trace and isolate system that is proportionate to the pandemic.
The reintroduction of face coverings, individual temperature taking and the one way system may need to be brought back into operation for a temporary period in response to particular localised outbreaks, including variants of concern.
In the Government's four step plan, the Government will be guided by data, not dates, so that we do not risk a surge in infections that would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS. For that reason, all the dates in the roadmap are indicative and subject to change. There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the scientific data to reflect the changes in restrictions and to be analysed; followed by one week’s advance notice of the restrictions that will be eased.
As part of the Step 4 guidance updates, the Government have published an Evidence Summary: Coronavirus (COVID-19) – children, young people and education settings. This summary sets out the evidence relevant to, and in support of, the government’s decision to revise the guidance on the COVID-19 safe working and protective measures that have been used within schools, colleges and early years settings in England during the pandemic.
In making this decision, the government has balanced education and public health considerations – weighing the impact of these measures on teaching, educational attainment, the health and wellbeing of children, pupils, students and staff and the functioning of schools, colleges and early years settings, against the COVID-19 risks in a context that has now fundamentally changed due to the success of the vaccination programme.
In Step 1, priority is to ensure that all children and students return safely to face-to-face education in schools and colleges from Monday 8th March 2021. Childcare and children’s supervised activities can also resume where necessary to enable parents to work or engage in similar activities. Staff at school participate in a twice-weekly rapid testing to reduce the chance of the virus spreading in schools.
People will be allowed to leave home for recreation and exercise outdoors with their household or support bubble, if they are eligible for one, or with one person from outside their household. Care home residents will also be allowed one regular visitor.
The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. And this is why from Monday 29th March 2021 , when most schools start to break up for the Easter holidays, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the Rule of 6) or 2 households will also be allowed, making it easier for friends and families to meet outside.
Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will also be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on Monday 29th March 2021 but many restrictions will remain in place. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme. The government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel which will report on Monday 12th April 2021.
Step 2, which will be no earlier than Monday 12th April 2021, will see the opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres. Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups); as will most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas. Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.
Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors at Step 2 and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’). Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.
While funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners, the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15.
As part of Step 3, no earlier than Monday 17th May 2021, the government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible, allowing people to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances.
This means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal. Indoors, the Rule of 6 or 2 households will apply - we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.
As soon as possible and by no later than Step 3, we will also update the advice on social distancing between friends and family, including hugging. But until this point, people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble.
Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to reopen. In all sectors, COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits. Indoor hospitality will reopen - and as in Step 2, venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew. Customers will, however, have to order, eat and drink while seated.
Other indoor locations to open up in Step 3 include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. The government will also allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).
Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.
Finally, before Step 4 begins, the government will complete a review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut transmission. This will inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which the rules on 1 metre plus, the wearing of face coverings and other measures may be lifted. This will also inform guidance on working from home – which should continue wherever possible until this review is complete.
By Step 4 is scheduled to take place on Monday 19th July 2021, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.
We hope to reopen remaining premises, including nightclubs, and ease the restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3. This will be subject to the results of a scientific Events Research Programme to test the outcome of certain pilot events through the spring and summer, where we will trial the use of testing and other techniques to cut the risk of infection. The same Events Research Programme will guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.
As we move through each of these phases in the roadmap, we must all remember that COVID-19 remains a part of our lives. We are going to have to keep living our lives differently to keep ourselves and others safe. We must carry on with ‘hands, face, space’. Comply with the COVID-Secure measures that remain in place. Meet outdoors when we can and keep letting fresh air in. Get tested when needed. Get vaccinated when offered. If we all continue to play our part, we will be that bit closer to a future that is more familiar.
I must reiterate, both I and the Governors of Springcroft Primary School hold the safety and well-being of our children, their families and our staff of paramount importance. Any decision to make a partial or full school closure may need to be undertaken based on local and national data, and with the guidance of Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive
Your continued support and kindness has been greatly appreciated during the past 18 months and we look forward to continuing to work with you.
Testing now available to anyone with symptoms of coronavirus
The government has announced that anyone with symptoms of coronavirus is now eligible to book a test, ahead of the rollout of the test and trace service. Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough; high temperature; or a loss of, or change, in their normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia) can book a test. To book a Coronavirus (COVID-19) test here. If you or your household have a possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, guidance for staying at home can be found here.
For the latest information on the COVID-19 positive cases in Staffordshire, please click here.
There are three simple actions we must all do to keep on protecting each other.
WASH HANDS - Keep washing your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds
COVER FACE - Wear a face covering in enclosed spaces, especially where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
MAKE SPACE - Stay 2 metres apart where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place.
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