17th March 20
Following my update of 16th March, the government has since implemented further stringent measures that have been communicated through the Department for Education and Public Health England (PHE). Social Distancing guidance, that applies to us all, has also been issued – with specific restrictions for vulnerable groups. There is no longer any reference to the government’s travel guidance from affected areas (the reference to Category 1 and Category 2 areas have now been withdrawn).
If we become aware of a child or staff member who has a high temperature or new continuous cough while at school they will be sent home and the situation will be dealt with in accordance with the government guidance for education settings. The new guidance provides that if anyone has a new continuous cough or a high temperature self-isolate in their home with all family members for 14 days from when the symptoms started. These families are advised to follow the government’s stay at home guidance. It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in our community. The current situation is that those who have mild symptoms are not being tested. Within the latest guidance is also clear direction on ending isolation.
As the whole family should stay at home for 14 days if any family member has either a new continuous cough or a high temperature, we anticipate this will result in increased staff absences and reduced pupil attendance. We remain conscious of the impact on the running of the school if a significant number of staff become absent due to self-isolation and we will continue to factor this into our ongoing risk assessment and contingency planning to cover this where possible. It may be necessary for us to amalgamate classes where staffing levels require and where we have the flexibility to do this. We know that school closure is a possible option within the ‘Delay’ stage of the government’s action plan and that this may well be implemented at any time and so our contingency focus remains to ensure we are ready to support your children in every way we can in this eventuality.
After the latest news from the Government, the BBC have postponed the Young Choir of the Year semi-finals that we were due to take part in this weekend in Coventry with the hope to reschedule the recording before the end of the summer term; assuming any government restrictions are lifted and the BBC and all choirs agree with the alternative plan.
Pupils and staff remain as buoyant as ever and we have been so encouraged by acts of kindness and offers of support – a mark of our strong community during these challenging times for us all. Equally, those families or individuals that have needed to self-isolate as a precaution are in our thoughts and prayers.
Without wanting to sound repetitive, please do keep encouraging children to wash their hands! It’s nearly as good as the ‘elbow bumps’ that we have been witnessing around the school but we can still do more!
I look forward to staying in touch.
With my kind regards