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We have received a number of emails today advising us that advice re Covid 19 has changed. We want to reassure our parents that we receive regular updates from the Department for Education, Public Health England, Essex Local Authority and our own professional associations. There is a very clear recognition that this is a very fluid situation and we are having to make significant decisions on a daily basis.
Our regular update will cover as many of the queries we are getting as possible, but please understand that we will not be able to answer them all personally.
- The updated government advice regarding the over 70s and other vulnerable groups, self-isolation for 14 days and no unnecessary travel or social gatherings have all had a significant impact on schools. Today we had 20 staff unavailable and almost 300 children not in school. Government has decided that schools should remain open and we will continue to remain open insofar as we can.
- However, should we reach a point where it is not safe to keep the school open we will make a decision to close, or partially close. If we partially close, this will not be “business as usual”. There will be a reduced educational offer, some year groups may not be in school and we may have to collapse classes. If this happens, families will need to take responsibility for their children.
- In light of the above, we will be updating and strengthening our “studying from home” advice on a regular basis, which will be on our website. Showmyhomework remains a key part of this strategy.
- Government advice makes clear that there is no evidence that wearing of masks helps avoid contracting the virus or, indeed, protects others. Covid 19 may or may not be an airborne virus but if people wear masks because they are coughing they should be self-isolating. In a school context, the wearing of masks increases concern and makes the school even more difficult to manage.
- We have had students returning from abroad and one more visit is expected to return this week. Again, we will follow government advice. They should only self-isolate if they show symptoms or have been in contact with anyone showing symptoms. In any case, all of our students remain at home for one day following their return.
- Visits in the summer term are now under scrutiny including Year 7 to Ebblinghem in Northern France and the Lower Sixth study visit to the UN in Geneva. It is imperative that we take decisions in a timely manner in order to ensure we can activate our insurance policy. We will keep you updated.
- Assemblies have continued this week in order to emphasise some key messages including hand washing, proper regard for elderly and vulnerable relatives and support for those with the virus or suspected of having it. We have also tried to reassure young people who are less likely to contract the virus but who may also be carriers of it.
If you are self-isolating or your children are, we wish you well. Do have a mind for your own well-being. We are all anxious at this time. We will be putting some advice and guidance together with regard to managing mental health in these challenging circumstances.
Please note that some of this advice may be out of date by the time you receive or read it.