Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Letter from LEA to all Parents

         Deputy Leader of the Council

Cabinet Member for Education, 
Children & Families 
London Borough of Havering 

Main Road, Romford

RM1 3BD email:


Date: 7th December 2020


Coronavirus (Covid-19) 

Councillor Robert Benham

We hope you and your family are safe and well at this difficult time, and thank you for  your continued support to the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Our head teachers and school staff have worked very hard to ensure that children  could return to school since September, and it remains vital for all children to be in  school to help minimise the longer-term impact of the pandemic on their education,  wellbeing and wider development. 

However, you will have seen the worrying news that cases of Covid-19 remain high  locally, and since the end of the national restrictions on December 2nd, you will be  aware that Havering finds itself in Tier 2: High Alert, with a number of restrictions still  in place. 

It is therefore more important than ever that you do not socialise with anyone you do  not live with, or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at  home or in a public place. 

You must also not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a  garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’. 

Whilst we are sure you have welcomed the changes to the social contact restriction  for a short time over the festive period, it is essential that you follow the rules and only  form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three  households. You can only be in one Christmas bubble, you cannot change your  Christmas bubble, and you cannot meet someone in a private dwelling who is not part  of your household or Christmas bubble. 

We know that families could be affected by having Christmas plans cancelled due to  an imposed period of self-isolation following exposure to a positive case of Covid-19  in school in the final week of term. 

The Council does not have the power to close all schools, or ask them to move to  remote learning for the final week of term, and the Department for Education have  made it clear that parents/carers should continue to send their children to school right  up until the end of term. The Chief Medical Officer also provided detailed advice,  setting out that the risk to children of becoming severely ill from Covid-19 is very low. 

However, the Local Authority anticipates that attendance in school will be lower than  normal in the final week of term due to parents/carers wanting to ‘quarantine’ their  family before seeing family members over the festive period that may be more  

vulnerable to Covid-19 than others. As always, the decision whether to authorise any absence rests with the Head teacher to consider on a case-by-case basis. 

Anyone considering withdrawing their child from school for the final week of term would  also need to ‘quarantine’ in the run up to Christmas to have any confidence that they  are Covid-19 free when they meet vulnerable relatives. The available evidence  continues to suggest that the majority of transmission is occurring in the home, and  the mental health benefits of children and young people meeting wider family during  the Christmas period need to be weighed against the possible risk, particularly to  vulnerable relatives. Further information about what is permissible in law over the  Christmas period is available here.  

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-a-christmas-bubble-with friends-and-family 

If your child or anyone in your household has symptoms of Covid-19 (a temperature,  a new continuous cough or loss of/change to taste or smell), you must not send your  child to school, and it is essential that the whole household self-isolates. You must  order a test for whoever has symptoms as soon as possible, and to order a test, please  call NHS 119 or book online at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

Anyone who tests positive will need to self-isolate for at least 10 days, and the rest of  the household for 14 days, in line with the latest stay at home guidance. If the test  results are negative, your household can usually leave self-isolation and your child  can return to school when they no longer are unwell, assuming they haven’t been  traced as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, in which case they will  still need to wait out the remainder of the 14 day isolation period.  

We all need to follow the government's advice to reduce the risk of further increases in Covid-19 infections locally, as a local outbreak may result in further full or partial  school closures at short notice. 

We assure you that our schools offer a safe environment, and the health and safety of  children, their families and staff remains everyone’s first priority during this period.  

Thank you for your continued co-operation at this time, and we wish you a peaceful  Christmas break and New Year. 

Kind regards, 

Cllr Robert Benham Mark Ansell 

Deputy Leader of the Council Director of Public Health Cabinet Member for Education,  

Children & Families

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