Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update: Friday 13th March

13th March 20

Dear Parents,

Since my email of 12th March and following the outcome of yesterday’s Whitehall’s Cobra Coronavirus emergency planning meeting, I write to update you on our follow-up response. It is now a requirement for anyone with a new, continuous cough or high temperature (guidance is at least 37.8C), however mild the symptoms, to self-isolate for seven days. Please be aware that there are members of our school community that are immunodeficient and we request that all members of our school community follow this advice.

We are mindful that school closure remains a possibility, even though current advice is for schools to remain open. In the event of a site closure there will be a range of operational challenges for us; some of which will impact on children and families. We are carrying out a great deal of contingency planning at this stage including planning for services interruption such as catering, transport and after-school club activities. In light of yesterday’s government requirements, please be aware of the additional measures we are putting in place from next week:

  1. External activities. We have made the difficult decision to cancel or postpone all non-essential co-curricular trips, visits and events for our remaining two weeks of the Lent term that include the following:
    • Year 5 Winchester poetry morning to Winchester;
    • Year 3 trip to Winchester treasury visits;
    • Year 1 trip to Marwell Zoo;
    • The Great Big Dance Off;
    • Reception trip to Longdown Activity Farm;
    • Swim Squad training at King’s School pool;
    • Sporting fixtures against other schools, although Sports training and internal clubs and activities will continue as normal;
    • BBC Choir of the Year competition. Access to the general public for this event is no longer permissible in order to reduce the audience size. Choir supporters and their families only are now invited to attend.  Performing choirs will now not join each other on stage or backstage at any point and separate rooms will be allocated to each choir. We are carefully monitoring arrangements for this event.

I know that you will be disappointed by this outcome, but I hope that you understand that the well-being of our community is our absolute priority. We will be ensuring, however, that we will be providing some creative alternatives for some of these activities to take place within the school site.

  1. Educational continuity. To be fully prepared in the event of school closure, academic departments are setting in place provision for remote learning that is subject appropriate for each year group.

o    Children will be able to access their own personalised learning space through Your child’s login will be sent home next week if this has not been already shared with them during their Digital Learning lessons over the past fortnight. Those who are able will also be able to communicate with their teachers through Outlook in this forum.

o    Each week Year group teachers will upload a weekly academic program onto OneNote. We will ensure that children have plenty of activities to complete; some on a computer and others away from the screen. We are mindful that parents, working from home, may need access to home computers and we also want to ensure that we are doing all we can to help keep children physically and mentally healthy.

o    From next week we will be advising children to take relevant books and files home where necessary so they have access to school materials should we need to switch to remote teaching. In the event of a School site closure, there are certain resources that children will also need, that you can prepare in advance:

      • a comfortable, quiet place to work throughout the day;
      • a computer, with access to the internet;
      • a printer for printing hard copies of resources distributed via OneNote, so that they can complete the work required by hand and reduce the amount of time in front of a screen. If you can arrange for printing to take place that would be helpful, but we acknowledge that not every household has a printer.
      • If a pupil wishes to handwrite work and have their work assessed you will need to use a scanner (either on a mobile, tablet or a computer) that can create PDF files, which can be uploaded to OneNote.
      • pens, paper etc.

o    Learning for academic subjects will be undertaken more easily by children. However, we are realistic that there will be some subjects for which remote learning will not be so straight-forward. In these circumstances, we would commend any activity that will contribute to your child’s Duke Award Scheme for those children who participate in this.

o    If you need any support during a School site closure, please email your child’s class teacher as the first port of call and we will do everything we can to assist as quickly as possible. If you need to contact a specific member of staff, instructions can be found on page 38 of our printed termly calendar.

Finally, thank you for continuing support with our thrust at Prince’s Mead for regular and thorough hand-washing; washing hands more than usual, for at least 20 seconds, using soap and warm water or, as a second-choice, a hand sanitiser. We continue to taking additional steps to support the health and well-being of our community, primarily through extra cleaning and widespread provision of hand sanitisers.

Thank you for your patience whilst we continue to plan for all eventualities and I look forward to staying in touch.

Yours sincerely,


Peter Thacker