Update on coronavirus situation – 17th March 2020

Dear parents,

As we are all now very concerned about the next few months and the impact of the Coronavirus on everyday life, I would like to assure you that as a school we are following all of the government guidance and outline some of the changes we have made today in response to last night’s announcement by the Prime Minister.

This is a fast-moving situation, though, and by the time you get to read this email the situation at school may have changed. For that reason, please can I ask you to check that the school has up-to-date contact information for you and ask you to monitor our website and social media accounts for news.

At school, we will be changing some of our routines, but stressing to students that learning continues as normal. The main changes for students and parents today will be:

  • Large events will be postponed. This means that the parents’ evenings this week and next week will NOT go ahead.
  • PD Days this Wednesday and next week will be cancelled and normal lessons will take place instead.
  • Assemblies will not be held in school.
  • Foreign trips will not be going ahead at Easter and we do not anticipate that trips in the UK will take place either.
  • We will be changing our procedures around student access to our medical room so that it fits with government guidance.

In the light of the new guidance on social distancing (below), we are expecting more and more people to be self-isolating over this week.

Please help us by explaining to your children that people who are self-isolating don’t necessarily have the Coronavirus. If you make the decision for your child to be isolated, please ensure that your child does follow government guidance regarding self-isolation. Please would you inform the school immediately by phone, letting us know their expected return date, and then ask your child to log-on to Show My Homework, where teachers will put work for each of their classes. Please let us know if you are unable to access Show My Homework from home.

As increasing numbers of staff will be required to be self-isolating, then we may choose to put some classes together in the Hall at times. The reason for this is that it will allow us to keep the school open but make sure that students are kept a safe distance away from each other. We will aim to keep this as a last resort, preferring to try to run normal lessons in specialist rooms.

It is important that we all emphasise to our children how important it is not to put other people at risk. We will be explaining that the very young, very old and people with underlying serious health problems are the most vulnerable to the virus. For this reason, they should think about their contact with people in these groups and make sure that they maintain the best hygiene routines to help protect others.

In these unprecedented times, it is important that we all pull together as a community and focus on kindly and compassionately taking care of one another. As yet, there have been no government decisions regarding exams and so we have been told to continue to prepare students as if GCSE exams are going ahead; I am hoping that there will be further government announcements to reduce some of the uncertainty for year 11 students and their families in the coming week.

You have my assurances that we will be doing our utmost to keep the school open but I anticipate that there will need to be some partial closures for particular year groups once staffing levels start to fall; this may happen as early as tomorrow. We will try to inform you as early as possible about any partial school closures, but please do check our website and social media accounts regularly as we may have to make decisions about closures for particular year groups in the early morning of the actual day.

Thank you for your continued support.
Nys Hardingham