LATEST UPDATES - CORONAVIRUS
16th March 2020 - 17.15pm
Following the latest update from the Prime Minister this afternoon we are now required to ask all family members to quarantine themselves for 14 days if any member of your household has the symptoms of the Coronavirus. We are currently preparing homework to send out to those families who are unable to send their children to school because of this latest advice.
16th March 2020
Today we have received a further update from the DFE. The advice is as follows:
Updated guidance for education settings on coronavirus (COVID-19)
Today, the Department for Education and Public Health England have issued updated guidance for education settings on COVID-19. This guidance will assist staff in addressing COVID-19 in educational settings. This includes childcare, schools, further and higher educational institutions.
What you need to know:
- staff, young people and children should stay at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise they should attend education or work as normal
- if staff, young people or children become unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home
- clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using your standard cleaning products
- supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water or hand sanitiser and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues
- Current advice remains in place: no education or children’s social care setting should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.
The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce would be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to education or children’s social care settings will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.
Recording school pupil absences
Where a pupil is in self-isolation, in accordance with latest information and advice from Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, the pupil should be recorded as unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances in the attendance register. Code Y (Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances) should be used in this instance.
If a pupil does not attend school, despite the school operating as usual and the pupil is not self-isolating, they should be marked as absent. It is for headteachers to determine whether or not the absence is authorised depending on the individual circumstances.
The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.
Watch this short NHS film for guidance:
What are we doing?
We are following all of the guidance above to ensure we are doing our very best to keep staff and children well.
- HANDWASHING We have at least four formal points in the day when all children wash their hands as well as insisting on handwashing when noses are blown or children catch sneezes or coughs. Children are washing their hands on arrival, before leaving at the end of the day and when eating at fruit time or lunchtime. Children have been taught to sing 'Happy Birthday' through twice whenever they wash their hands. Soap and paper towel dispensers are checked regularly through the day and replenished as necessary. Alcohol gel is available in all classrooms as a back up to soap and water if required.
- CLEANING All surfaces and door handles are cleaned daily with cleaning products available for further cleaning during the day as required.
- VISITORS All visitors to school are required to use the alcohol gel before going beyond the school reception area. If alcohol gel stocks run out we will continue to request that all visitors wash their hands thoroughly before going into the classrooms. Visitors will be reminded to use the gel or wash their hands before leaving school.
- When messages are left on the answer phone regarding a child's absence we will call for clarification if it is not clear of the reason for absence. If the reason for absence is a high temperature or persistent cough and self-isolation has not been indicated in the message left we will call parents to ensure this happens. Please help us by leaving a detailed message about your child's illness or reason for absence. Please be clear if your child is isolating for seven days.
- CLOSING Whilst the government have decided not to close schools currently, we don’t know what the next days and weeks will bring. At some point, we may close (partially or fully). We are very mindful of the implications of this for parents, and the decision is never taken easily. I can see three main reasons why we would close: (a) the government decides it (b) a case within the school is confirmed, and may require a deep clean necessitating a short term closure or (c) staffing levels become low meaning that we cannot safely run the school. Therefore, please have a think through options in terms of childcare in the event of any of these happening.
- HOME WORK If we were to close for a sustained period of time, we will endeavour to provide learning to be done at home. We will be mindful that not everyone will have access to the internet, or be able to print. We are not sending work home now in the eventuality of closing, but rather if and when we close, we will then email out details of work that can be done. We are thinking through online options as well as practical activities. The ‘home’ work may not be available immediately, as it will take us time to put it all together.
- STAY AT HOME? Government announcements move fast, and establishing exactly what the implications are can be tricky. Current guidance is that only the person who is displaying symptoms needs to self-isolate, and not the whole family. See ‘Stay at home guidance‘ from the government.
- SCHOOL EVENTS We have already cancelled some events and have no further ones planned for the rest of this half term. We will consider the current situation when events are approaching next term and endeavour to give you good notice of cancellation or postponement if necessary.
Thank you for your ongoing support in these uncertain times.