11th March 2020
Re: COVID-19 planning
I am writing to share the School’s contingency planning in response to COVID-19 with you.
As explained here, COVID-19 is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in January 2020. It is understood that the incubation period of COVID-19 is between 2 to 14 days. The symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a cough
- a high temperature
- shortness of breath
These symptoms do not necessarily mean an individual has COVID-19 as they are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu. Our advice is that if you are worried about your symptoms or those of your son or daughter; please call NHS 111 for advice and guidance. The shool follows the advice provided here https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ , by Public Health England and the Department of Education. This means as a school we have a safety plan, which includes the following:
Day to day safe practice
All staff and students are frequently reminded to wash their hands regularly (using soap and water or alcohol sanitiser); cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue; avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. We have used DfE materials here to remind students of good hygiene and encouraged hand washing:
- before leaving home
- on arrival at school
- after using the toilet
- after sporting activities
- before eating any food, including snacks
Soap dispensers are refilled regularly and monitored during the day to ensure that there is a plentiful supply. During appropriate lessons, teachers are taking the opportunity to educate children about the viruses and the prevention of their spread. All cleaning protocols are completed under the advice of Public Health England.
The school has a well-understood protocol that would be used if it were to be the case that a student, member of staff or any other person on the school site displays symptoms whilst at school.
Current advice does not advocate that there is a need to self-isolate or close the school unless under very specific conditions or directed to do so by NHS England. However, you will be aware from the news that the Government are planning for a range of future scenarios, one of which includes the possibility of a temporary school closure. Whilst I sincerely hope this will not be the case, we have the following plans in place.
Day to day communication
We have remote access to schoolcomms and our school database SIMS and will email parents and carers to keep you updated. This and our website will provide up to date information.
Given this critical time of the school year especially in respect to examination classes, if the school were to close, we have plans to allow students to continue to learn at home. Whilst there is no substitute for being in a classroom with a teacher, we will set work electronically.
Educational Trips and visits
As a school, we will follow all Foreign Office (FCO) and DfE advice. This will ensure that insurances are valid and refunds are payable when necessary. Current guidance advises that foreign travel should go ahead as planned if it is not to a Category one or two country, please see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus . Please note if a parent or carer withdraws their child from a trip that is not cancelled, a refund may not be possible.
If high staff absence does become the case, we will do everything we can to remain open, we will prioritise examination classes and may have to open partially for other year groups. However, this would always be a last resort.
As Headteacher, I am very conscious that students and indeed anyone can become very worried about COVID- 19. We will do all we can in school to reassure students and maintain a calm learning environment.
Current advice is clear that students should attend school and there is no requirement to self-isolate unless under the conditions set out by Public Health England. Therefore, students should attend school as normal.
Recognising that COVID-19 is subject to rapid change, I highlight Government websites, which offer factual guidance and advice:
The Government Coronavirus Action Plan; a guide to what you can expect across the UK –
I do hope that you find our response to COVID-19 reassuring, however you should you have any specific concerns please contact the school office. Alternatively, you can contact the DfE helpline:
The change for Italy applies to travellers who returned from ANY PART OF ITALY on or after 9 March 2020. Travellers should immediately self-isolate, even if asymptomatic, and use the to find out what to do next.
Travellers who returned from areas of Northern Italy that were under containment measures (See map https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/871179/Map_showing_specified_areas_of_Italy_080320.pdf ) between 19 February and 8 March 2020 should self-isolate for 14 days. If they develop symptoms, they should contact NHS111.
Travellers who returned from the rest of Italy before 9 March 2020 do not need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms they should self-isolate and call NHS 111.
Information on self isolation can be found at:
I would like to reiterate that not all family members need to isolate when someone has travelled to Italy. This will be advised on a case by case basis by NHS 111 when they take a full history of the case. At the current time, unless advised by 111 or Public Health to the contrary, other household members can attend their place of work or education. This advice can change though depending on individual circumstances of a subsequent Covid-19 test result emerges.