16th March 2020
As you know, we are experiencing extraordinary times. As a Catholic community, it is a time to truly demonstrate our Catholic values and virtues especially: compassion, love, selflessness, tolerance, wisdom, courage and self-control. We need the whole community to pull together to support each other; I have no doubt we will do this.
The government is now advising that all foreign trips are cancelled The advice does not apply to trips planned within the UK but we will, of course, continue to respond to government advice and take appropriate risk assessments before embarking on any visit.
In line with government advice, pupils/students and staff are asked to stay at home for 7 days if they have either a high temperature (37.8 degrees and above) or a new, continuous cough. This will help to protect others in the community while they are infectious. The government has advised that, if a person has these symptoms, they should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. They do not need to contact NHS 111 as the NHS will not be testing people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms. The government is clear that, if a pupil/student or a member of staff is in self-isolation, they:
We ask you to use your judgement and thank you, in advance, for your co-operation regarding the above. Absences will not be authorised if a child is simply kept at home without displaying any symptoms or is seen in public as this does not follow the government guidelines.
The key advice remains as follows:
We have, and will continue to, teach pupils/students how to wash their hands correctly. Soap and sanitisers are available throughout the school and staff are being proactive in ensuring that children are protected.
You will be aware that schools in many countries have been closed. The UK government has not taken this action. Indeed, media reports indicate that schools may be forced to stay open even when Principals think there is good reason to close. However, this could change and we are developing contingency plans to deal with such a situation. The following is planned in the event of forced closures:
Subject to IT availability and performance, Year 6 will be expected to login to live streaming of lessons. They will be trained on how to do this in the coming days/weeks. Staff will take registers and contact will be made with parents if a child is not in the streaming session. This may be extended to other Years if we have more time to plan for forced closures; we will keep you informed.
Work for all Year groups/classes will be set on Purple Mash, the pupils have log ins for this. This MUST be completed and emailed to the teacher. Email addresses will be sent to parents and pupils/students. Obviously, the work will be age appropriate. Any links to videos etc will be on the platform.
Teachers will mark work and return the work via email within 7 days. Some staff will use voice technology rather than written comments. Pupils/students will be expected to respond to the marking as normal. Younger children especially may need further help from parents but we will be mindful of this.
If you do not have access to a computer/smartphone or internet availability, please contact school by 20th March and we will try to support you. If you have more than 1 child in Year 6 and they do not have their own computer or smartphone, again, please contact school and we will try to assist.
It is very important to stress that, even in the event of a forced closure, your child will need to continue to work as if they are in school. If your child is unwell, please telephone school in order for us to record the absence on the first day of being ill. They will then be exempt from the above work. We will notify you of any change to school telephone numbers if the need arises.
I hope you recognise that the above actions are being taken in the best interests of your child. We would not want them to be disadvantaged by this awful situation and will try our hardest to ensure this is the case. This is a very different scenario to one-off closures (such as snow days) as every indication is that, if schools do have to close, it will be for weeks if not months. We hope this will not be the case.
Once again, I thank you, in anticipation, for your support in these extraordinary times.
Please continue to remember all coronavirus sufferers and their families in your thoughts and prayers.