This is a place to find news and updates about COVID-19 and implications for our schools.
WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Service
The government has launched a coronavirus information service on WhatsApp which aims to provide official and trustworthy information and advice about COVID-19 via an automated ‘chatbot’. The service will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting. It will also allow the government to send messages to all opted-in users if required. To use the free service, simply add 07860 064422 to your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ to it in a WhatsApp message.
Local Information and Support
Starline, a national home learning parent helpline that has been set up in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Led by a partnership of education and parenting organisations, the helpline provides parents and carers the opportunity to ask questions about home learning which will be answered by qualified teachers with substantial experience and expertise. It is open six days a week and can help with questions about strategies for home learning, curriculum topics, managing behaviour and wellbeing at home, and support for children with special educational needs. The number is 0330 313 9162 (charged at the same rate as a standard landline call).
For those of you who are keeping your children at home, we are aware that there are a lot of links to free educational resources available at the moment. Though these are useful, they can also be overwhelming. Your child’s teacher will send out work daily. This is intended to be easily accessible and sufficient to keep your child busy and occupied for part of the day.
Please try not to do too much. It is important to try and structure your daily routine but this doesn’t mean filling it with ‘school work’. Try to get children up, showered and dressed at a sensible time; children can make their beds and tidy their rooms. It might not be perfect to start with but they will get better with practice!
Do some exercise together. Joe Wicks, the Body Coach, is doing daily PE lessons on YouTube at 9am. It’s a good workout! Then sit down to complete some school work. Try to have lunch at the same time every day – could you make it together? Stephen Fry, President of Mind, has spoken about ‘slowing things down’ and taking your time to do tasks; now could be the time for your children to become more independent in the kitchen!
In the afternoon, could the children play outside? Build obstacle courses, make dens, practise their ‘keepie-uppies’! Could they go on a nature trail around the garden or do some bird spotting? Inside are there jigsaws, board games, colouring activities they could complete either independently or with help?
Easier said than done but try to limit screen time – perhaps timetable it as part of the day. Don’t feel guilty about letting your child have screen time though: you need time for yourself too.
Instead of getting overwhelmed looking at educational resources available, perhaps have a look at some of the mental health/ mindfulness resources listed below. These are for adults and children.
Children are incredibly resilient. What they will remember about this time is how they felt and it is us, as adults, who can impact this. They need to feel love and calmness; if we are stressed because we feel that we should be ‘educating’ them constantly they too will feel this pressure.