We continue to follow the daily advice from the Government with regard to school closure and at this time we are still being asked to remain open. We are also receiving daily updates from Public Health England and the DfE. We have plans in place for a full shutdown and if this takes place, we will continue to ensure that learning takes place. However, we must also be prepared for the running of the school to be impacted due to the measures announced relating to self-isolation. Whilst we are doing all that we can to keep the school open, if staff absence rises beyond a certain level, we may have to partially or fully close the school in advance of Government advice.
To date we have been doing the following:
- Keeping facilities such as toilets well stocked for our students
- Keeping large gatherings to a minimum
- Reducing external visitors to school
Advice on Absence
We will now authorise and encourage (for 14 days) self-isolation for any student who has a cough or a high temperature (above 37.8C)
The same will now be true for siblings of such students as guidance now suggests that the whole household must self-isolate. Such absence will now be deemed as authorised absence (classified as “Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances”)
If a student needs to go home from school with a cough/temperature, we will now send their sibling/s home at the same time (again in line with new government guidance). This will also be seen as authorised absence
We will also authorise absence for students who have a vulnerable (e.g. immuno-suppressed or asthmatic) or pregnant family member/contact in the household in order to avoid students potentially spreading the virus to them. The same will be true for students who themselves are vulnerable.
What school work can be done if my child is self-isolating?
Complete work which is provided via Show My Homework.
Use online resources (such as Tassomai, Hegarty Maths, Seneca, Modern Foreign Language sites, BBC Bitesize etc.).
They should also, of course, use the opportunity to read (fiction and nonfiction).
Are there further indications about when the school will close?
Is there an update on arrangements for GCSE and A-Level Examinations?
What else is the school doing to provide support?
Cleaning of the site remains a daily priority.
Are there things we can do as parents to support our children?
It is important that children are not made excessively anxious. One key area to monitor is students’ use of social media - a very skewed view of life (as well as out and out misinformation) is often presented through the various platforms and this is not good for students’ mental health. For example, it is worth advising children to only check for updates about coronavirus at a certain time every day, and to model this behaviour ourselves.
A good source of advice on mental health issues is: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51873799.
Talk to your children. I know it sounds simple, but talking things through calmly as a family helps to retain a sense of perspective.
We have already had to cancel some trips / visits and will continue to contact you separately as we review each trip.
Support for Families
Safeguarding support is available from the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/business/information-providers/multi-agency-safeguarding-hub
Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to maintain a sense of calm; advice and guidance are changing rapidly so rest assured we will continue to communicate any changes with you as soon as possible.
Dr Annabel Kay