16th March 2020
Following on from my letter last Friday, I am writing to update you all further on some changes to our current arrangements in school in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Please be assured that all of the decisions we are taking have been carefully considered in line with the latest advice from the government through the Department For Education and the Department Of Health And Social Care. They are also taken with the best interests of the children and staff firmly in mind.
We have taken the decision to cancel or postpone a number of planned events in the coming days and weeks. These include the Year 3 and 4 performance of The Selfish Giant, our upcoming Celebration Assemblies, the School Council cake sale, the PTA film night and our upcoming Parent Consultation evenings.
In terms of the performance and assemblies, we are conscious that this will avoid potentially large gatherings in the school hall involving individuals from across the local community, some of whom could well be more vulnerable to the virus. Similarly, large numbers of people attending school in the evenings for parent consultations would greatly hinder the daily work of the cleaning staff in school. If you have any urgent matters that you wish to discuss with your child’s teacher you can still contact them in the usual way.
Within the school day, we have made some similar changes. Whole school assemblies have been removed from the timetable until further notice to avoid up to 400 children congregating in the hall at one time, and we are asking any children with packed lunches to eat in their classrooms until further notice to reduce the numbers of children in the hall at lunchtime.
We are also working to limit the number of visitors to the school to those with essential business only at the moment but this may increase to all visitors in response to any additional advice we receive. I’d like to thank everyone for their understanding in this matter especially given that many people have volunteered to help in school. On that note, I’d also like to thank all the individuals who have so kindly supported us and offered to help in any way they can over the past few days. This community spirit is greatly appreciated.
We have received a large number of phone calls today from concerned parents asking us our thoughts on whether they should keep their children off school. As a school we are following the official guidance from the government and can only refer everyone to that same guidance. We are not able to offer any advice beyond that. The advice can be accessed here:
Recommendations on self-isolation are made with the wider community in mind as well as the individual so it is important for anyone self-isolating to ensure that they stay away from others as much as possible in order to avoid further spread of any symptoms.
Could we ask that any messages left for the office around absences are as clear as possible so that we can correctly record the absence on our systems.
Finally, for now, I would like to thank everyone for their understanding during these unprecedented times. I am conscious that the government is now committed to providing daily updates and our arrangements may change in light of this. At time of writing, there has been no update from them so far today.