Covid-19 Update - Gateshead Council - 26th March 2021

Dear Parents/Carers

Whilst the number of positive Covid-19 cases being identified in our communities is reducing, those cases are only a small percentage of the people who potentially have the infection as many will not have any symptoms. It is likely that the number of cases remains relatively high; the infection is still being spread; and we know that cases can escalate very quickly if the conditions are right and people mix unnecessarily. With our schools now fully reopened, it is vital that we all continue to do everything we can to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

From the 8th March we have seen a very small relaxation in some of the national restrictions, as part of the Governments’ roadmap out of lockdown. This now means you can leave home and spend time in outdoor public spaces for recreation and exercise with your household or support bubble, if you are eligible for one, or with one other person from outside your household

As part of the next stage from 29th March you will be able to meet outside in groups of up to a maximum of 6 people (the Rule of 6) or with one other household. However, people from different households will still need to socially distance from each other. This will apply in all outdoor settings, including private gardens.

We would like to thank you for your continued support in helping schools to ensure they remain as safe as possible for children and staff, and it is really important that this support continues. However, there have been recent reports of some children attending indoor birthday parties or family celebrations with people who are not part of their household or support bubble. There have also been increasing reports of secondary school pupils gathering in large groups outside of school hours. We would like to remind you that both of these things are still not allowed by law, and risk financial penalties being applied by the Police.

Our schools have gone to great lengths to protect both children and staff and would hate to have to close classes as a consequence of someone taking an unnecessary and illegal risk. Children have missed enough school and we must all play our part in keeping them and school staff safe. Our schools have a responsibility to keep everybody safe and to challenge families who are not following guidance and therefore putting other families and school staff at risk.

We therefore ask that you ensure you, and your children, are aware of the current rules and guidance. Please continue to maintain social distancing at all times, including when exercising, meeting other people from outside your household (where allowed), and when dropping off and collecting your children from school.

We appreciate these remain worrying times and that families are understandably anxious. We know you will do all you can to help keep our schools safe for children and staff, and to enable them to remain open for everybody. If we all play our part, then we should hopefully be able to look forward to a summer with less restrictions.

Thank you for your continued support and cooperation.

Yours sincerely,

Alice Wiseman

Director of Public Health

Steve Horne

Service Director

Education, Schools & Inclusion