Parent survey of online learning at home

Hello all,

Just before we broke up for the Easter holidays, we included a link on the blog to a parent survey so that we could gather your views about our online learning at home during school closure. We will use this information to help shape the school’s provision of online learning at home for as long as this is planned into Term 4.

I would be grateful if you would complete the survey if you haven’t already done so by 3.00pm on Wednesday April 8th. Your views are important to us in helping to shape the learning that can be provided for your children during this time at home.

https://forms.gle/VVT9zTCFJzmDnQC19

Thank you, Mrs Snedden

Your Views Matter: Theatre Survey | Burger king logo, Inspiration

Council to provide school meals throughout Easter break

Highland Council will continue to provide school meals through e-vouchers to families throughout the school Easter break. This is to recognise the particular difficulties many families will be experiencing due to the Coronavirus emergency.

This innovative and easy-to-use service is being delivered digitally through the use of e-vouchers which will ensure over 4,000 school children will continue to receive support for school meals while schools are closed. Families who are already receiving free school meal provision do not need to apply as the Council will automatically provide barcoded e-vouchers to eligible families.

The impact of Coronavirus has caused additional hardship and this process will ensure that the most vulnerable children can get food. Those who have been impacted, and haven’t yet claimed free school meals, are being encouraged to apply for free school meals as soon as possible on the Council’s website at this link.  This will enable these families to benefit from school meal provision through the Council’s e-voucher scheme. Arrangements are also in place to support vulnerable families who are receiving free school meals.

Highland Council continues to investigate other ways of providing food across the Highlands for vulnerable groups within the rapidly changing environment. This includes working closely with High Life Highland, Eden Court and our many partners including the Third Sector.

Cllr Alister Mackinnon, Budget Leader, said: “The provision of food for many families is vitally important now, more especially than ever. We have taken the decision to continue the provision over the Easter fortnight to make sure children and families have what they need”.

“The e-vouchers can be used in various supermarkets and staff are working really hard to extend this important scheme so that it reaches all families, especially those who live rurally, recognising that transport is not easy at the present time”.

Help and support to apply for free school meals and benefits is available by emailing  welfare.support@highland.gov.uk.

A helpline number has also been set up for anyone who is struggling and needing urgent help during this crisis. The single line number – 0300 303 1362 – will connect callers to relevant Council specialist teams and will operate Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm. All calls are free.

Keeping Well

As the first week of the holidays and second week of staying safe at home come to an end,  we hope that everyone is well and enjoying some rest and peace over the holiday time. Highland Council has shared guidance about keeping mentally well over this time, and I will share this as a link below. We do not have any specific information as yet about the new term, but will provide an update as soon as we hear from the authority. This decision will in turn depend on national guidance in response to the coronavirus. We hope that you and your families are keeping well and look forward to being in touch with you again once term starts, either in person or through our provision of online learning at home. Please remember to email if you have any concerns or queries that we can help with. With best wishes, Mrs Snedden

meg.snedden@highland.gov.uk

MENTAL HEALTH GUIDANCE HC April 2020

Spring Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

Council Update for Remote Communities

03 April 2020

Council reassures people living in remote communities that they will not be left behind

Highland Council has moved to reassure residents in the more remote areas of the region that they will not be forgotten and every effort will be made to provide the support they need.

The Council fully appreciates how concerning a time this is for those living in remote areas and is working hard with a range of agencies to ease those concerns.

Highland Council is working closely with partners within the Highlands and Islands Local Resilience Partnership and Local Community Hubs to ensure critical supplies reach the most remote areas of Highland.

The key roles of the 10 Local Community Hubs include working with community sector partners and responding to requests for support from communities, co-ordination of the distribution of food to our most vulnerable and at-risk clients and the co-ordination of the delivery of medicines and prescriptions, working with the Community Pharmacy Network.

Each Local Community Hub (LCH) is supported by Highland Council staff and they are supported through the Virtual Regional Community Hub, which receives all requests for support and offers of support from community groups and allocates them to the LCHs.

Chief Executive of Highland Council, Donna Manson, said: “We fully understand how concerning the current situation is for all of our residents, but particularly for those living in the more remote areas of the Highlands.

“I would like to reassure you that we have plans in place to ensure essential supplies, and emergency health care, will reach you and we are working with our partners to enable this to happen.”

Individuals and Community groups who have concerns, needs or who can offer help, can call our free help line on 0300 303 1362.

Information about the “shielding,” of our most vulnerable members of the public can be found here – www.highland.gov.uk/shielding

Highland Council Change to Waste and Recycling Services

03 April 2020

Change to waste and recycling services aims to protect staff

From Monday, a number of changes have been made in line with national guidance, to how we collect waste in order to protect staff, during the Coronavirus emergency.

To protect our staff, and prevent the spread of Coronavirus on our waste collection routes we have improved social distancing measures in line with guidance and in discussion with union reps.

From the start of next week, Monday 6 April, we will start to reduce the number of staff in each waste vehicle cab to a driver and one other person, with the third operative travelling in a separate van to carry out collections.  Crews will also have access to soap and water, alcohol-based sprays or wipes, gloves and other materials for them to maintain a high standard of hygiene.

This will obviously result in routes taking longer to complete. In addition, due to the current high level of staff absence across our teams, we may need to suspend some services at short notice. Any such changes will be publicised on the Council’s website and social media channels.

Chair of the Communities and Place Committee, Cllr Allan Henderson said:

“We are operating in unprecedented times. Although every effort will be made to minimise the impact these changes will have on the completion times for routes, keeping our staff safe and looking how to best manage our limited resources has to be our priority.

“I ask everyone to be understanding as changes are made. We all have a role to play and people can greatly assist by following the COVID-19 waste and recycling guidance we have publicised to keep our teams safe.”

To help keep the collection service operating as smoothly as possible, householders are being urged to do their bit to help by regularly cleaning bin handles and lids; washing their hands before and after touching bins and presenting bins with lids closed and with no side waste to avoid the crews unnecessarily needing to touch bins and bags.

The guidance requests that people leave their bins out, by 7am on their regular day of collection. If your bins are not emptied by 5pm please take them off the street and present them again on the next scheduled collection day. Regular updates will be provided on the Council’s website and social media.

If any households are self-isolating then they should make sure that all waste items that have been in contact with individuals with symptoms, for example, used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths, are disposed of securely within disposable bags. When full, the plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied. These bags should be stored for 72 hours before being put out for collection. Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

If your refuse bin is full please store excess bags safely in a shed or garage until your next collection.

The refuse collection crews are unable to pull out bins from gardens for households that are self- isolating. Please see the guidance on what to do with your rubbish whilst self-isolating.

If your bins are not emptied by 5pm please take them off the street and present them again on the next scheduled collection day. Regular updates will be provided on the Council’s website and social media.

The Highland Council’s waste and recycling crews across the Highlands have been bolstered this week by the many messages of thanks and support from households.

Cllr Henderson added: “I cannot praise our crews highly enough for the terrific job they are doing at such a challenging time for us all. I know that the support members of the public have given really means a lot to them.”

Currently the Council’s Bulky Uplift and Garden Waste service has been suspended until further notice. All Highland Waste Recycling Centres are closed and textile Bank servicing by charities across all sites has stopped. Commercial rubbish and recycling collections for businesses premises are operating as normal across the region.

Carron McDiarmid, Executive Chief Officer for Communities and Place added: “Due to significant staff shortages, the council is prioritising statutory household rubbish and recycling blue bin collection, including food waste collections in Inverness, services.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the bin collection crews for going above and beyond in helping to maintain these essential services that we all reply upon and also thank the public for their understanding and patience during what is an incredibly difficult time for everyone.”

She continued “We understand the concerns that the public have about the welfare of our staff and can assure them that the way we will work from now on has changed to protect their health.”

More information on how to manage your waste during the lockdown can be found by visiting:  www.highland.gov.uk/recycle

For further information, latest coronavirus developments and changes to key Council services visit www.highland.gov.uk/coronavirus

Highland Council Local Business Support

Supporting local businesses during COVID-19

The Highland Council is working hard to release business grants to eligible local businesses as quickly as possible.

The Council has received over 2,000 applications since the scheme was introduced last week and has set up systems to process these applications quickly while ensuring the necessary information is received.

A first batch of grant payments, totalling around £185,000, will be with businesses by Friday with further payments next week.

Any businesses which might be eligible for the small business grant or retail, hospitality and leisure  grant should go to Highland Council’s website for  further information at

https://www.highland.gov.uk/coronavirus

…and see ‘Updates for Businesses’.