Information for families about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Last updated - Monday 6th April at 14:30
To stay updated please ensure you and members of your family who care for your children have downloaded the Meridian App. For instructions how to do this please click here
Re: Coronavirus Covid 19 – Free School Meals Supermarket e-vouchers UPDATE
Over the weekend, the Government announced that e-vouchers for those children who are eligible and currently in receipt of benefits-related free school meals could now be claimed during the Easter Holidays.
There has been no official release from the Government yet about this.
However, I have uploaded the relevant information and have requested vouchers are sent to parents and carers on Wednesday 8th April and Wednesday 15th April, in addition to the dates I sent out on Saturday.
So to clarify, I have ordered vouchers for children who are eligible and currently in receipt of benefits-related free school meals to be e-mailed to parents on the following dates:
Wednesday 8th April
Wednesday 15th April
Monday 20th April
Monday 27th April
Instructions about how to access and redeem these vouchers will be included in the e-mail you will receive.
If you have not received your e-voucher by 5pm on Wednesday 8th April, please e-mail the office and we will look into this for you.
Please do not e-mail before because we do not know the exact time that these e-mails will be sent.
For more information about these vouchers:
Re: Coronavirus Covid 19 – Free School Meals UPDATE
Here is the latest update about Free School Meals for those children who are eligible and currently in receipt of benefits-related free school meals.
We are currently in the process of adding all our Free School Meals families onto the supermarket voucher scheme. These vouchers will start from Monday 20th April and will be sent out weekly via email. We are aiming to set everyone up by tomorrow and will send out further instructions then.
I am pleased to say that during the Easter Break, we have organised for Caterlink to still offer packed lunches to children who are eligible and currently in receipt of benefits-related free school meals.
Please note that choices of fillings for the rolls are subject to availability and there may be changes made if items are not available.
For children that are attending child-care at school, children who are eligible for free school meals will be provided with a packed lunch for the days that they attend.
If you have any questions, please do e-mail email@example.com
Today, the Government announced a national voucher scheme to support families whose children are eligible for Free School Meals. Please note, this does not include children who receive Universal Infant Free School Meals in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (unless your child also eligible for Free School Meals).
Schools can now provide every eligible child with a weekly shopping voucher worth £15 to spend at supermarkets while schools are closed due to coronavirus.
We can also continue to provide free packed lunches from Caterlink during the school closure, although these will not be available during the Easter Holidays (9th – 20th April).
Children will only be entitled to one of the following options: Supermarket Voucher or Caterlink Packed Lunch.
The advice states that schools will be contacted later today with further details and instructions about how to support families who wish to receive these vouchers. Once I know more, I will write to you again about how we will organise this.
For more information: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/voucher-scheme-launches-for-schoolsproviding-free-school-meals
Coronavirus update – Children eligible for Free School Meals.
If your child is eligible for Free School Meals, Caterlink are providing a free packed lunch for those children who are staying at home.
The packed lunch will be:
Sandwich / Roll Fruit
Cake or Cookie
You will need to order any lunches a week in advance via this form: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=7lIh17wpgEq3MHYOiaVCtq7hWRSYyJHpPXsJbOgCtNUQlA1WlI0RUlMS0ZHOTRGUlQwVTQ2RUVLNy4u
To order this week you will need to submit this form by 9am tomorrow morning.
To order during the rest of the school closure, you will need to submit this form by 5pm every Friday for the following week.
To collect the packed lunch, please come to the school kitchen entrance between 12 and 12.30pm. The kitchen entrance is by the gate that leads to the Reception classes.
Please make sure that you are practising social distancing when you arrive to collect.
For those families that are self-isolating, you are welcome to send in an order and for it to be collected by a friend or a neighbour.
Please do not come on site if you are self-isolating or showing any symptoms.
Please note this is for those children who are eligible for free school meals only. If you are not sure if you are eligible, please e-mail the school office.
If you have any questions, please do e-mail the school office.
Applications for Child Care Arrangements
We have received a large number of requests from parents and carers about children accessing child care arrangements in school and we are committed to supporting as many children and families as possible.
However, due to the very high demand we have received and our very limited staffing capacity, we have made the decision to prioritise the key workers eligibility criteria to those households where both parents/carers, or a single parent family, fall into this key worker category.
This is also in line with government guidance for schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
We appreciate that this is a frustrating and challenging time and we are doing our best to ensure that we can accommodate as many requests as possible without compromising the health and safety of the children and staff.
Once our final numbers have been confirmed next week, if we feel we have capacity to offer additional places, we will be back in touch next week.
Please do not bring your child into school unless you have received a confirmation e-mail from the school offering your child/children a child care place. We really do not want to be put in the difficult position of having to turn families away.
Childcare Provision from Monday 23rd March
Drop off will be at 8:45am via the main school office where you will be met by a member of the leadership team to confirm arrangements and places offered. We will also need to know who will be dropping off and collecting children.
Pick up will be at 3:00pm from the main school office. Children must be collected from school by an agreed adult.
If your child is entitled to free school meals, a school meal will be provided as usual. Caterlink will be offering two hot choices for lunch – final menus have not yet been released. Alternatively please provide a packed lunch.
Children do not need to wear school uniform.
Should you require wrap around care please contact CATS club.
During the day, children will complete the learning tasks that teachers have set and then there will be a choice of play based activities for them to enjoy.
Learning Activities for children at home
From Monday 23rd March all teachers will plan daily learning activities and these will be uploaded onto the school website every day during the school closure.
The children need to complete these at home with you. We have created a dedicated web page for this https://www.meridianschool.co.uk/home-learningduring-covid-19 and we will send these activities out via an electronic daily update.
I will send out a weekly update to parents which will include additional optional activities that you can do with your children too.
Hopefully all children have got their login details for SumDog, Times Tables Rock Stars and Numbots – if not, please e-mail us and we will do our best to send you this information.
During this time, we will be receiving e-mails so if you have an emergency question or need emergency advice, please contact the via the office e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
As you will know from my update yesterday evening, we have now been instructed to close the school to almost all children after this Friday until further notice. As advised by the government, we will do all we can to stay open for the children of key workers (e.g. NHS staff, police, others in frontline services) and children with certain needs. We are waiting for the government to publish more information on what this means, but it would help us in the meantime if you could let us know if you think your child may fall into one of these categories.
If you think your job is considered as a key worker, please e-mail the school office email@example.com with the following information:
Your child’s/children’s name/s
Your occupation (if you believe that you fit the key worker criteria.)
Your place of work
We’ll be in touch again as soon as we are sure who this does apply to. All other children will need to stay at home, so we ask that you do not send your child into school from Monday onwards. Please note that this is a national closure – as you may have heard in the news – so while it is a challenging situation, we are not alone. We’ll re-open fully as soon as we can and will let you know when this is in the usual ways – letter, notification and via the school website. What we’ll continue doing while your child is at home Your child’s learning is of course important to us, so we’ll continue to help your child to learn. All teachers will plan daily learning activities and these will be uploaded onto the school website every day during the school closure. The children need to complete these at home with you. We have created a dedicated web page for this https://www.meridianschool.co.uk/home-learning-during-covid-19 and we will send these activities out via an electronic daily update.
I will send out a weekly update to parents which will include additional optional activities that you can do with your children too. We are making sure all children have got their login details for SumDog, Times Tables Rock Stars and
During this time, we will be receiving e-mails so if you have an emergency question or need emergency advice, please contact the via the office e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
If your child usually receives free school meals we will also be in touch with more information about how we will continue to provide this, with support from a scheme that the government has just announced.
What we won’t be able to go ahead with
School trips, after-school clubs
Year 1 Phonics Screening
Year 2 SATs
Year 4 Multiplication Tables Check
Year 6 SATs
Other school events, such as Sports Days and Year Group Assemblies
This is as much as we know right now and we appreciate your continued patience with as we deal with this ever-changing situation. We understand that this latest news will have an impact on you and your family and it’s far from ideal, but we’ll continue to keep in touch with any updates as the situation develops. If you want to get in touch to share any concerns, please don’t hesitate to do so via the office e-mail email@example.com or you can call the school – please be aware that we are experiencing high levels of phone calls during these challenging times
And remember: if you or your child feels ill and you want to know what to do next, please use NHS 111 online and follow their advice about whether you need to self-isolate.
Thank you again for your continued support, and we will be in touch with more information when we can.
Best wishes and please look after yourselves during these tricky times.
18th March 2020
New guidance for households with symptoms
The latest advice for about self-isolation was released to schools yesterday afternoon.
- If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started
- If you live with others and you or another member of the household have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
- For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period
The symptoms are:
A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
A new, continuous cough
The full stay at home guidance for households with these symptoms can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance
Families in isolation
If your family is self-isolation, please do remember to call into the school office every day to let us know what is happening. We have a duty to safeguard all children so if we don’t hear from you, we will call you to find out how everyone in the family are doing. Please help us during these challenging times to call the office if your child is not in school. We have had a few requests for the school to send home work for children in isolation, however whilst the school remains open, we are not able to manage this as well as teach the children who are in school. However, we do appreciate that children will need to continue to access learning activities during this time, so here are some recommended websites that you can use to help with learning at home.
Build a Book Review - https://wherereadingrocks.com/free-resources/build-a-brilliant-book-review/
StoryLine - https://www.youtube.com/user/StorylineOnline
National Geographic - https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/
Maths Games - https://www.coolmath4kids.com/
Science For Kids - http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/
Science Made Simple - http://www.sciencemadesimple.co.uk/news-blogs/bbc-bitesize-ks2-science
iMoves (Being Active @ Home) https://vimeo.com/398010428
On Your Bike - https://readysetride.co.uk/prepare
Please note: Meridian is not responsible for the content of external websites. Therefore in line with our online policy and keeping children safe we recommend children are supervised when accessing external material.
Don’t forget children also have access to Phonics Play, Numbots, Timestables Rockstars and SumDog!
What happens if the school closes?
If the school were to close, daily learning activities will be uploaded onto the school website every day during the school closure and the children would need to complete these at home with you.
17th March 2020
Following the Prime Minister’s briefing late yesterday afternoon, we have brought in additional measures to support the health and safety of all the children and staff in school.
The latest guidance asks for people not to make any unnecessary travel and in light of this, all school trips and swimming lessons have now been cancelled with immediate effect until further notice.
The school is currently in communication with PGL about the Year 6 residential trip to Little Canada on the Isle of Wight in July. We will keep you updated with any further information about this when we know more.
Limiting the number of people in school
We have made the decision to limit the number of people that enter the school building to support children’s and staff’s health and well-being by doing the following:
Commendation assemblies are now cancelled
Parent Open Afternoon is now cancelled
PTFA Spring Disco is now cancelled
Year 2 Parents SATs meeting is cancelled
Volunteer readers have been asked to postpone their support until further notice
We will continue to have professionals visiting in school, such as Social Workers, Health Professionals and SEND Professionals but all will be requested to use hand sanitizer upon entry to the school.
Assemblies and lunch times in the hall.
At the moment we will continue to have assemblies and lunch times in the hall. This may change depending on any further guidance we receive. I will update you if this situation changes.
The children have been amazing at washing their hands every day, four times a day. I am sure you will appreciate that we are all trying our best to ensure that children are washing their hands in school properly to keep them safe without impacting too much on learning time. Without official guidance about the best way to manage this in schools with nearly 500 children, teachers have been trying different ways to support this: using the basins in the toilets, using the sinks in the bay areas
or using several washing up bowls with clean warm water. The leadership team have been monitoring this closely and the decision has been made that going forward the best way to do this is to use the sinks in the bay areas with running hot water. Soap is available in both bay areas and toilets for use throughout the day.
Additional guidance from the Department for Education and Public Health England was sent to schools yesterday afternoon which states that schools should: supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water or hand sanitiser and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues
It was stated that the most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.
Recording school pupil absences
These are unusual times so in terms of attendance and absences, we will be guided by the Department for Education and East Sussex County Council. The most important thing is for parents and carers to keep in touch with the school. If you are keeping your child off school for any reason, you will still need to call the school every day to inform us. The current advice is that if you are self-isolating as a family then this needs to be for 14 days. The advice schools have received from the Department for Education is:
Where a pupil is in self-isolation, in accordance with latest information and advice from Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, the pupil should be recorded as unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances in the register
If a pupil does not attend school, despite the school operating as usual and the pupil is not self-isolating, they should be marked as absent. It is for headteachers to determine whether or not the absence is authorized depending on the individual circumstances
Where a pupil cannot attend school due to illness, as normally would happen, the pupil should be recorded as absent in the attendance register and the school will authorise the absence.
Don’t forget to send in a note on your child’s return to school for our records – thank you.
Further updated guidance for education settings
In addition to the above guidance for washing hands and recording absences, the Department for Education and Public Health England updated their guidance for schools yesterday afternoon with
staff, young people and children should stay at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise
they should attend education or work as normal
if staff, young people or children become unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home
Current advice remains in place: no education or children’s social care setting should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England
The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce would be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to education or children’s social care settings will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.
16th March 2020
What’s the current situation?
The school remains open – this is the current official guidance we’ve been given
All school functions continue to run as normal
All pupils should attend unless they feel unwell – if your child has any of the following symptoms they should remain at home for 7 days: a new, continuous cough and/or a temperature
What we’re doing to protect and support children and staff?
We will call parents/carers of any child feeling ill during the school day to support any decisions about children going home
EMCOR have increased their cleaning schedule, including more regular cleaning of hand rails and door handles and toilets
All children will be supported washing their hands four times a day: when they arrive, after break time, before lunch and after lunch
Teachers are talking to the children about hygiene and supporting any anxiety or worries the children may have
Assemblies to support children in understanding everything we are doing to support keeping them safe
What we need you to do?
If you’ve recently changed your contact details, please inform the school office as soon as possible
Make sure you have downloaded the Meridian school app
Talk to your children about the coronavirus. It’s a scary time and we should make sure children feel supported. BBC Newsround https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround has regular updates for younger children and Young Minds https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/what-to-do-if-you-re-anxiousabout-coronavirus has practical steps older children can take to help with anxiety
Come and collect your child straight away if we ask you to
Support children with the learning activities we will provide in the event of a closure
What happens if the school has to close?
We will only close if we’re either officially advised to do so or we don’t have enough staff to run the school.
In either case, we’ll:
We will alert parents via the Meridian app and school website www.meridianschool.co.uk
We will let parents know about the school re-opening via the app and website
We will send a weekly update letter via the app and website
Daily learning activities will be uploaded onto the school website every day during the school closure and the children will need to complete these at home with you
We will make sure all children have their passwords for online resources
We will let you know about free online learning resources that parents can also access to support learning at home
Please keep in mind that we’re only sending this information to help the school community prepare. There are currently no plans to close.
Key advice for parents
Parents are advised to keep children at home for seven days if they have either
A high temperature, or
A new continuous cough
This will help protect others in your community while you are infectious.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital with mild symptoms.
You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.
The NHS will not be testing people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms.
Please report your child’s absence to school in the usual way and don’t forget to call the office every day whilst your child is absent from school.
These are unprecedented times and I will do everything I can to keep you informed and updated as and when the situation changes.
Report your child’s absence to the school in the usual way.
Follow the NHS advice on symptoms and how to help stop spreading germs
See UNICEF guide for parents on talking to your child about coronavirus.
We also have our Place2Be helpful information for parents, carers and children.