Saturday 28 November 2020

Letter to parents re coronavirus - Thornhill School Letter to parents re coronavirus

Posted by Louise Meah at 4:12PM on 16 March 2020

16th March 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

On Thursday of last week, the Government announced that we are moving from the Contain phase of the coronavirus action plan and into the Delay phase, in response to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

To support the delay of the spread of the virus, Public Health England has advised anyone who displays symptoms to stay at home for 7 days, regardless of whether they have travelled to affected areas.  This means people should stay at home and avoid all but essential contact with others for 7 days from the point of displaying mild symptoms, to slow the spread of infection.

The symptoms are:

  • A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
  • A new, continuous cough

You do not need to call NHS 111 to stay at home. If your symptoms worsen during your stay at home period or are no better after 7 days use the NHS 111 online service at http://111.nhs.uk. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

Our Trust have advised that any parents who have pupils with underlying health conditions should contact NHS 111 and seek advice. We will then support any decision made by parents in these matters.  Where pupils are self-isolating, parents should inform school on 0191 500 7981, choosing Option 1 to speak to an Attendance Officer.

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.

Thornhill Academy will therefore be operating as normal but will be adopting several additional measures. These measures are not intended to panic or indeed heighten concern but are to reassure parents, pupils and staff that we are trying to approach this unique situation in a sensible manner.

We are therefore:

  • Cancelling all assemblies from now until the Easter break as these gather 100s of pupils in a warm confined space for a length of time.
  • Common areas such as the BASE and the Restaurant will be sanitised using a Fogging machine which was purchased some months ago from an NHS supplier. The machine effectively vaporises a disinfectant liquid which sterilises as it lands on surfaces.
  • Tuck shops will be closed to reduce hand to mouth transition.
  • The sharing of bottles and cans will be banned, again in an attempt to reduce cross contamination between pupils.
  • Pupils will be encouraged to wash their hands and use only one squirt of hand sanitizer so that resources are maximised.
  • All school trips / visits are to be postponed until Easter.
  • External staff training and meetings will be cancelled in preparation of maximising staff to ensure we can operate as normal as possible without further staffing disruption.  

In the event that pupils are absent from school we will be uploading work onto Class Charts and pupils have been reminded in school of their login details for the system.

We continue to be mindful about the forthcoming Year 11 GCSE examinations. We recognise that this is a stressful time of year without more the uncertainty and disruption being caused. The advice from the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) at this time is to continue to prepare for exams and other assessments as normal.  That latest guidance from the DfE indicates that Ofqual continues to work closely with exam boards, other regulators and the Department for Education to plan for a range of scenarios, as the public would expect.  Their overriding priorities are fairness to students this summer and keeping disruption to a minimum.

In the coming weeks we may need to re address our priorities if staff become absent from work. Year 11 pupils will be given priority access to subject specialist teachers to ensure that they are fully supported as they approach their GCSE exams. We hope that everyone understand and supports this decision if this action is necessary, as other classes may be taught by non-specialists or supply staff.

We find ourselves in an unprecedented situation which is fluid and ever changing, we will attempt to keep you all as up to date as we can and share our actions and intentions as timely as possible. I would like to thank you for your cooperation and support at this uncertain time. We will provide further updates when we have them via our social media platforms, text messaging facility and our website.

 

Best regards

Mr. I. Redford

Headteacher

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