17 March 2020 Update regarding COVID-19

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Announcement ‐ 17th Mar 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians

Update on Coronavirus Covid-19

In light of the PM’s briefing yesterday afternoon and subsequent government advice, I wanted to update you as to where we, as a trust, are at.

What has changed in the light of yesterday’s announcement?

Advice on absence:

  • We will now authorise and encourage (for 14 days) self-isolation for any pupil/student who has a cough or a high temperature (above 37.8C)
  • The same will now be true for siblings of such pupils/students, as guidance now suggests that the whole household must self-isolate.  Such absence will now be deemed as authorised absence (classified as “Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances”)
  • If a pupil/student needs to go home from school with a cough/temperature, we will now send their sibling/s home at the same time (again in line with new government guidance).  This will also be seen as authorised absence
  • We will also authorise absence for pupils/students who have a vulnerable (e.g. immuno-suppressed or asthmatic) or pregnant family member/contact in the household in order to avoid pupils/students potentially spreading the virus to them.  The same will be true for students who themselves are vulnerable

What school work can be done if my child is self-isolating?

  • Given the pressure on teachers at the moment, I am afraid they are unable to provide individualised cover work for students who are at home
  • Students at The Cooper School should therefore:
  • Complete work which is provided via Google Classroom
  • Use online resources (such as Tassomai, MyMaths, Seneca, Modern Foreign Language sites, BBC bitesize etc.)
  • They should also, of course, use the opportunity to read (fiction and nonfiction)
  • Children at Glory Farm Primary School should therefore:

Are there further indications about when the school will close?

  • We are working on the assumption that the school will close at some point prior to the Easter holiday.  The government has said that this will happen, “at the right time, in the right way”
  • The governors and I will need to make our own judgement on closure should staffing absence levels reach a point at which we are unable to provide safe levels of supervision
  • We may need to put into place a partial closure (i.e. only certain years come into school).  This will depend on staffing levels
  • I will let you know of any plans to close as soon as possible

Is there an update on arrangements for GCSE and A-Level Examinations?

  • The Secretary of State for Education met Headteachers’ Union leaders yesterday and this vital issue was discussed.  As yet, however, we have no indications of what plans are being made
  • There are some indications that examinations will be delayed though nothing is certain.  In the meantime we are advising our students to continue working as normal and on the assumption that examinations will take place as scheduled

What else is the school doing to provide support?

  • We continue to advise students to wash their hands thoroughly and not touch their faces
  • Cleaning of the site remains a daily priority

Are there things we can do as parents to support our children?

  • It is important that children are not made excessively anxious.  One key area to monitor is students’ use of social media - a very skewed view of life (as well as out and out misinformation) is often presented through the various platforms and this is not good for students’ mental health. For example, it is worth advising children to only check for updates about coronavirus at a certain time every day, and to model this behaviour ourselves.
  • A good source of advice on mental health issues is: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51873799
  • Talk to your children.  I know it sounds simple, but talking things through calmly as a family helps to retain a sense of perspective

Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to maintain a sense of calm; advice and guidance are changing rapidly so rest assured we will continue to communicate any changes with you as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

 

Ben Baxter                                                                                     

Executive Headteacher     

and

Jane MacLachlan

Headteacher, Glory Farm Primary School