Tuesday 17 March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I am writing to update you about Coronavirus and the most recent guidance our schools have received about the virus and how to keep all pupils safe. The situation is developing constantly and Government advice can be updated / changed at short notice.
Stay at home guidance
The current advice as published yesterday in the Government’s ‘Stay at home: guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus’ https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-homeguidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection is:
If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
These main coronavirus symptoms are:
new continuous cough and/or
People who are considered to be in ‘vulnerable groups’ should strictly follow the social-distancing advice which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-socialdistancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-andprotecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults
Vulnerable groups include pregnant women, people aged 70 or older and those of any age with certain, chronic conditions (which are all listed at the above website).
The guidance is now not to ring NHS 111 but to seek information on www.111.NHS.uk
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection
This is the current guidance on when to return from self-isolation:
‘You should remain at home until 7 days after the onset of your symptoms. After 7 days, if you feel better and no longer have a high temperature, you can return to your normal routine. If you have not had any signs of improvement and have not already sought medical advice, you should contact NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.
The cough may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared. A persistent cough alone does not mean you must continue to self-isolate for more than 7 days’
Possible School Closures
Although Government guidance is not currently recommending that schools close, it is possible that school closures may become part of the Government’s response to the spread of the virus. We will, of course, follow Government advice in this. Staff in our schools are planning distance learning resources, which will be available via school websites or learning platforms such as Google classrooms or Microsoft teams, should schools be directed to close.
In the event of school closures, it will not only be the educational issues that we are planning for. We are currently working on plans to support those young people who are entitled to free school meals, and we will be issuing advice on keeping children safe if they are not in school also.
GCSEs / A-Levels / SATs
There have been no further Government updates at this point. I have emailed the Department for Education again this morning hoping to find out more about the Government’s plans for SATs and A-Level / GCSE examinations; I will keep you updated if and when I hear more.
In line with Government guidance, we will be trying to maintain business as normal as far as teaching and learning is concerned at the moment. We will monitor the developing situation very carefully and will keep you informed.
Please understand that a number of events – including Parents’ Evenings, Easter celebrations and other such gatherings – will be cancelled between now and Easter.
Anyone visiting schools, for whatever reason, should not do so if they show any of the symptoms described above. We would also advise anyone in ‘vulnerable groups’ not to visit our schools. This would include the elderly, pregnant women and those with underlying health concerns.
School visits abroad
The latest guidance states that schools are advised not to run visits abroad. There are currently no further details about dates and destinations. In accordance with this advice, our schools have cancelled all such trips. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep in touch with you as it develops. Thank you for your continued support in these challenging times. As ever, the health, safety and well-being of pupils and staff are our highest priority.
Chief Executive Officer, St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Multi-Academy Trust