COVID-19 Information for Parents

We remain committed to delivering high-quality education and support for our pupils during the current pandemic. We strive to:

  • Keep our pupils and staff safe
  • Keep our pupils engaged in their learning at school or by supporting them remotely if they are spending periods of term-time at home due to COVID-19.

Our approach is individualised to meet the needs of each pupil.  We frequently conduct risk assessments and identify additional ways of keeping our whole school community safe during this period.

If you have any questions please contact our Family Support Team on 0208 498 4230 or 07874 635725.

We are committed to supporting home learning for any pupil who cannot attend school, through Google Classroom, personal contact, and online lessons.  You can read our full remote learning policy here

The Department for Education’s guidance for schools is updated regularly.  Further information can be found here.

Q. My child has mild symptoms that could be Covid-19, what should I do?

If your child has recently developed any of the following symptoms below, keep them at home and arrange to have a test:

·       A new continuous cough

·       A high temperature (37.8C or higher)

·       A loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell

You should contact the school to let us know. Your entire household should also self-isolate.  See this government page for full details

Q. I, or someone in our house has symptoms what should I do?

Every member of your household, including your child needs to self-isolate and stay at home and you should arrange a test for the person with symptoms.  The same government page has full information.  Please call the school to let us know.

Q. What is the school doing to keep everyone safe?

We have a wide mix of measures in place to keep pupils and staff safe.  These range from ‘bubbles’ to reduce mixing and social distancing to the use of PPE and Lateral Flow Testing, as well as stringent hand-hygiene measures. You can see guidance that staff must adhere to here.

Q. What will happen if my child develops symptoms at school?

If your child starts showing any of the Covid-19 symptoms above while at school we will follow the recommended guidelines and contact you immediately. They will need to come home and you will need to arrange a test for them.

Q. Where can I book a test for my child?

The easiest way to book a test is here. If you are having difficulty booking a test please let the school know.

Q. If my child is home what happens about their education?

Our first concern will be for your child’s health. But if they are well and able to do school work it is important that they don't miss out on their education. Their teacher will be in touch to discuss the ways in which the school can work with you. We use Google Classrooms to allow class teachers to share work and communicate.

Q. Where can I find more information about keeping my family safe?

  • The government has a single page that gathers all the latest advice here: www.gov.uk/coronavirus 
  • Waltham Forest Council has compiled information from the NHS and Mencap designed to help discuss the current situation with people who have learning difficulties. You can find it here.

Q. If I am concerned or want further advice, who should I talk to?

Frequently Asked Questions – Covid -19 Vaccinations Sept 2021 12-18 years

Frequently Asked Questions – Covid -19 Vaccinations Sept 2021 12-18 years

Who will have the vaccine?

All 12-15 years olds will now be offered the Covid 19 vaccine. This is a change from offering the vaccine only to those who have specific health conditions.

12-15 years old who should have the vaccine as a priority are described below:

  • Children who are clinically extremely vulnerable and were previously shielded
  • Children who are immunocompromised e.g. have sickle cell or have had cancer
  • Children with Down Syndrome
  • Children with profound and multiple learning disabilities and neuro-disabilities
  • Children who live with someone who is immunosuppressed
  • Children who are registered with their GP as having a disability

The Pfizer vaccine is the vaccine currently being used with in the 12-15 years age group.

All healthy 16–17-year old should be offered a first dose of Pfizer-BNT162b2 vaccine. Pending further evidence on effectiveness and safety in this age group, a second vaccine dose may be offered later, to increase the level of protection and contribute towards longer term protection

Two doses will be offered to those with existing health conditions who are in ‘at-risk’ groups and are considered clinically vulnerable according to national guidance.

18 year old young people are already included in the adult programme

How will I know when my child will be offered the vaccine?

You may have received a letter from your GP letting you know that your child is likely to be offered the vaccine. Those letters were sent out to ensure children who were clinically more vulnerable were offered the vaccine first.  You can now expect a letter distributed from your child’s school offering you the vaccine.

Where will children and young people get the vaccine?

Your child or young person is likely to be offered the vaccination by their GP, or you may be invited to a specialist clinic.

The health teams are now also preparing to set up vaccination clinics in the schools, and you will receive a letter from the school outlining when this clinic is likely to run.

When will children and young people get the vaccine?

Vaccinations for those who are more clinically vulnerable have already started. The school-based programme for all 12 to 15 year olds will start in the next couple of weeks. You will be informed of which day your child’s school will have the vaccination team on site.

Do you need to get consent from the young people with complex health conditions before the vaccine is given?

Yes, young people will need to understand what the vaccine is for, and understand what is going to happen to them. As a parent/carer you can give consent, however if your child indicates that they do not want the vaccine, further work will be done with you to see how this can be carried out without causing distress to your child.

Children cannot be ‘held still’ for the vaccine.

If your child wants to have a vaccine, and they are thought to be able to give consent then they can consent for themselves.

How will the young people be supported to understand that they are having a vaccine?

No-one likes to have an injection, so it is very important that your young person or family member understand what is happening, so that they start and complete their course of injections.

The young people can be given a simple explanation similar to the ones attached:

Easy-read-A-guide-to-your-COVID-19-vaccination-for-people-with-a-learning-disability-and-their-carers.pdf

COVID-19-vaccination-for-children-and-young-people-aged-12-to-15-years.pdf

COVID-19-Conversations-Accessible.docx

You can click on these links to read the document.

How to prepare children and young people before and during a vaccination

Before the vaccination:

  • Ask your child how they feel – keep your face and body posture relaxed too - think calm!
  • Allow your child to ask questions regarding the vaccination if they can (This will help to reassure them that nothing bad is going to happen).
  • Ask your child if they want you to be with them –  if it is at school, some children like to be with school staff and some want family!
  • Ask your child if they want someone to talk to them during the injection.
  • Ask your child if they would prefer quiet.
  • Ask your child if they want someone to hold their hands for comfort

Make sure your child is wearing clothing that makes vaccination as easy as possible E.g. short sleeves if they will tolerate this. If you can, support them to practice pushing up their sleeves or explain that they will need to take of a long sleeved jumper.

During the vaccination – relaxation techniques

  • Use breathing exercises – show you child how you breathe deeply and calmly - don’t forget to breath yourself!
  • Show your child how to sit in a comfortable position, relaxing jaw and shoulders if they can do this
  • Take a long, slow, deep breath in and breathe slowly through the mouth. Repeat 5 times.

Distraction Techniques – thinking of something else!

You could choose with your child things they could do to keep their mind off the vaccination such as:

  • Listen to favourite music
  • Read a book or magazine
  • Play games on their phone or tablets.
  • Watch video on iPad
  • Talk to somebody (ask if the phone or video call is possible)
  • Hold hands
  • Counting 1-100
  • Recite songs or rhymes

After the vaccination your child will need to sit quietly for 15 minutes so you might want to take a timer with you, so your child will know when they are free to go.

What about if my child is 16 years or older?

If the young person over 16 year finds it difficult to understand the vaccine explanation, a professional who works with them will carry out an assessment of their capacity to understand about the vaccine.  This might be done by a Social Worker. This is called a Mental Capacity Assessment.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/making-decisions-for-someone-else/mental-capacity-act/

The person carrying out the Mental Capacity Assessment will consider questions like the ones below:

  • Can the person understand the information?
  • Can the person retain information long enough to make the decision?
  • Can the person weigh it in the balance?
  • Can the person communicate a decision?

 You can also find out more here:

https://www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/mental-capacity-act.

What happens if the person does not understand about the vaccine and their injection?

If the Young Person over 16 years is not able to fully understand the reasons for the injection, then an ‘In Best Interests’ meeting will be held. This is to see if having the vaccine is the best way forward for the young person. This will be called by professionals who work with the Young Person, yourself if you are advocating on their behalf, and your health care professional or social worker.

How soon will I be protected from Covid-19 after I have had the vaccine?

It is important to remember that after the vaccine you still need to follow the government guidelines on staying safe. Your immunity will not start to develop until 10 days after the vaccine has been given to you. The vaccine is supposed to reduce the severity of the illness and may not stop you catching it completely.

You can find out more about the vaccine for yourself and family members on:

https://www.eastlondonhcp.nhs.uk/ourplans/covid-19.htm

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-resources-for-children-and-young-people

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-resources-for-children-and-young-people/information-for-children-and-young-people-on-what-to-expect-after-covid-19-vaccination

COVID-19-vaccination-A-guide-for-children-and-young-people.pdf

VMM 16th September 2021