Lockdown: School closure update

4th January 2021

Monday 4th January 2021

Dear Parents/ Carers

I am writing to you following tonight’s announcement that the Government has ordered all schools to be shut from tomorrow, Tuesday 5th January. In line with this directive, St Joseph’s will now be closed for all year groups until further notice, except for the children of Critical Key Workers and those deemed vulnerable (by the school, local authority or social services).  More information about Key Workers can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision 

Given the difficult timing of this announcement, if you are a Critical Key Worker, or your child fits the vulnerable criteria, and you are able to make provision for them at home for tomorrow only, this would really help the school staff prepare for more Key Worker and Vulnerable children on Wednesday. 

Our booking form, used for children of critical workers and vulnerable children during the first lockdown, will be sent to parents tomorrow in order that parents may book Educare places for the rest of this week and next week.  If parents think that their children are eligible because of their status as a Critical Key Worker, please contact admin@sjna.uk for an application form, registering critical worker status. Following receipt of the completed registration form, the booking form will be shared with parents. Educare slots must be booked through the online Educare booking form. 

In the short term, children of critical workers and vulnerable children should access school in their normal way, wear their school uniform/PE kit and go to their own classrooms. Parents will be updated if arrangements are to change during this period of lockdown.

We assume that Devon Norse will continue to provide a lunch for the children in school tomorrow.  Again, given the timing of the announcement this has been difficult to establish tonight but we will ensure that, if your child usually has a school lunch on a Tuesday, we will ensure they get some lunch but you may want to provide them with a packed lunch tomorrow until we are able to clarify the situation. We will be contacting parents of children eligible for Free School Meals about how we will support you as soon as possible.

We have decided to keep Breakfast and After School Club open until Friday this week to give us some time to work out whether this is financially viable to run until half term while the school is closed to most children.  I appreciate that this is important for many parents but as with the first lockdown, we are unable to subsidise the running of the clubs from the school budget. We will write to Critical Key Workers and parents of vulnerable children by the end of the week.

In the light of the short notice, teachers will be working this week to organise and prepare remote learning for all children not able to attend school. This may take a day or so and it is likely that remote learning may look different this week compared to the weeks that follow. We will be in touch again towards the end of the week with more detailed instructions of how this will work.

This is not what we wanted for the start of 2021. Please be assured that we will do our utmost to support you and your families over the coming weeks. Thank you for continuing support and cooperation during these challenging times. Once again our hearts go out to all those children who are not able to attend school. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.

Best wishes,

Kelly Dunne