UPDATE - Coronavirus

Dear F2E Interns and Parents/Carers,

As you’re probably aware, the government’s guidance on the coronavirus has changed from the ‘contain’ phase to one of delaying the spread of the virus. We’re getting in touch to let you know what we’re doing in light of this, and what we expect from all of you, to help make sure our academy community keeps safe and calm.

We’d like to reassure you that at Forward2Employment (F2E) we’re taking all of the necessary steps to protect our community and are continuing to follow official guidance from the government, Public Health England and the Local Authority. We are following all guidance as it is issued each day to ensure that we make informed decisions.

What’s the current situation?

  • F2E remains open for the education element only - due to the Royal Mail and Henry Schein instigating Social Distancing measures in line with Public Health England guidance, we have made the difficult decision to remove our interns from these places of work. Interns are to remain home on these days. Students will, however, still be expected to attend the Joiners Building, in Chatham Dockside to access their education. Royal Mail Interns will continue to attend on Mondays and Henry Schein students will continue to attend on Thursdays. We have had to make this decision to prioritise learning within the classroom and abide by the social distancing guidelines.
  • We have made the decision to postpone and cancel F2E Parent celebration events until further notice.

When to Self-Isolate and those at increased risk

In line with Public Health England guidance, we are asking that if you or anyone you live with has the following symptoms you must follow guidance to stay at home:

  • A new, continuous cough and/or
  • A high temperature

If you or anyone is unwell or is self-isolating, report this as you would normally by contacting your or your son/daughter’s F2E Job coach.

The advice is that those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. This group includes those who are:

  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
    • chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
    • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
    • chronic kidney disease
    • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
    • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
    • problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
    • a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
    • being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)
    • those who are pregnant

Additionally, adults who may also be at particular risk due to having complex health problems such as:

  • People who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
  • People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment
  • People with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
  • People with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)

Should you fall into this high risk group, we ask that you consider carefully whether it would be best to reduce their social contact and isolate at home. We will fully support any decision you feel you need to make for the best interests of your own health and safety or that of your son/daughter.

Access to learning

Should the F2E education element close or partially close over the next few weeks, or should Interns be absent due to their own circumstances, it is important that they have access to academic work.

Interns who are studying for an examination course will, wherever possible, be given work that supports coursework or their exam materials. Where this is not possible, or relevant, Interns can access a variety of materials:

  • Interns also have an IXL login where they can access English and mathematics activities. Recently students have been given a Times Tables Rock Stars login and again this can be accessed to help develop skills. Login details are in your child’s planners.
  • A list of websites available to all Interns to assist their home learning can also be found on the F2E website. Parents and carers would need to look at sections of these to assess their suitability for individual students.  Which can be found here: https://www.forward2employment.co.uk/page/?title=Websites+to+Assist+Home+Learning&pid=40

At this stage, F2E is getting daily updates, and as yet although nothing definite has been put into place with regards to public examinations, please be reassured that the examination boards are monitoring the situation and will ensure that those Interns whose studies are disrupted by closures will not be penalised through the examination system. Again as soon as we have full details we will publish these on our website.

What we’re doing to protect and support Interns and staff

  • All staff have been made aware of concern countries and are vigilant to identify any of our students returning from infected areas.  If this is the case PHE advice will always be followed.
  • Staff are aware of the symptoms of Coronavirus and if anyone is spotted with these we will follow the latest PHE advice and inform parents.
  • Interns are being reminded of the importance of good hand and respiratory hygiene.
  • Interns have received additional lessons on hygiene, the virus and how to deal with anxiety during their tutor periods.
  • Additional hand sanitisers, and tissues have been provided across F2E within the Joiners building and our cleaning schedule have been further increased in line with the published guidance.
  • If there is a confirmed case of Coronavirus within the F2E, we will inform parents immediately through Text/ Email /phone call.

What we need you to do

  • Come and collect your son or daughter straight away, if we ask you to (we’ll contact you if they become ill with either a temperature or a new, continuous cough).
  • If you’ve recently changed your contact details, please inform F2E as soon as possible via Email
  • Talk to your son or daughter about the coronavirus. It’s a scary time and we should make sure children feel supported. BBC Newsround has regular updates for younger children and YoungMinds has practical steps older children can take to help with anxiety.

What happens if F2E has to close?

We’ll only close if we’re either officially advised to do so or we don’t have enough staff to run F2E safely. In either case, we will make our decision as early as is possible to give you as much warning as we can and will communicate with you in one or all of the following ways:

  1. Through texts or calls made home to you.
  2. With an announcement on the F2E website: www.forward2employment.co.uk
  3. With a post on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Forward2Employment
  4. Like us on Facebook to be notified of posts.

Please keep in mind that we’re only sending out this information to help the academy community prepare. There are currently no plans to close.

If you have any questions

Please consult with the Job coaches, if you have any questions about our response to this issue. For other queries please contact:

  • NHS, if you want to know more about the symptoms of coronavirus. If you think you or your child may have the symptoms, do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home.
  • Department for Education’s coronavirus helpline: 0800 046 8687, if you have any questions about the government’s response to coronavirus in relation to schools
  • Government’s travel advice, if you want to know whether any upcoming trip or holiday you’re taking abroad should go ahead

It’s a tricky time and we know you’re worried about the impact this might have on our community. It’s important we keep each other safe and talk about these events to help with any anxiety.

Thank you for your continued support. We’ll keep you up to date with any changes to the current situation.

Yours faithfully

Mrs E Halton

Head of Forward2Employment