UPDATED CORONAVIRUS ADVICE

Please note that there is new guidance from the NHS regarding what to do if you or anyone in your family has either of the following symptoms:

  • High Temperature
  • New, continuous cough

This advice is that children and adults should self-isolate for a period of 7 days if they have either of these symptoms. Guidance about this and how to self-isolate can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Please do let us know if your child is not attending school because they are self-isolating, or indeed, if they are suffering from any other illness. There is no guidance or reason to keep children away from school if they are not ill. If we are concerned about your son and daughter’s symptoms during the school day, we will contact parents at the earliest opportunity.

Both the 111 service and the Department for Education have advised us, that the school should not provide information regarding any cases of self-isolation. This is a blanket measure and the overwhelming majority of people who self-isolate will not have the coronavirus. There is no need to notify 111 or the Department for Education of these cases. However, please note that we would notify staff, students and parents, Public Health England and the Department for Education if a member of our school community had a confirmed case of Covid-19.   We would of course follow all advice regarding the right course of action to take in that eventuality.

Preventative Measures

The Government’s advice to Schools remains to continue the practice of hand washing to prevent the spread of all kinds of virus’.  The poster can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/869250/Coronavirus_advice_for_educational_settings_poster.pdf.

There is also advice regarding Catch It / Kill It / Bin It for coughs and sneezes.  The information can be found here:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/south/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2017/09/catch-bin-kill.pdf

We are of course publicising all of the preventative measures around the school site and in tutor sessions. We will also be preparing a session for all year groups to learn more about the virus, the risks and preventative measures and the scientific basis for the formulation of Government advice.

 

Specific Advice

The DFE has opened a helpline for schools, which can also be accessed by parents and students.  We have already used this to request guidance on specific scenarios and find this to be incredibly helpful.  However – the wait times on the helpline are now significant. The details are as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

We are also grateful for parents continued communication with the school and encourage you to contact us with anything you feel we need to be aware of, or if you have any questions that you feel we can help with.

 

Travel Advice

The latest advice for returning travellers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

Again, please do let us know if there is anything that you believe we should be aware of.

 

School trips

We welcome the announcement from the Government that International school trips abroad are now not advised.  This provides clarity on what has been an incredibly uncertain time and ends the difficult situation that schools have had in trying to negotiate refunds with tour operators without any central direction.  We trust that our tour operator & insurer for the Italy Ski Trip will now refund all monies paid. We will be in touch with parents of children booked on the ski trip in due course.

There are no restrictions on domestic trips and we are planning for the Year 7 residential trip and the Year 9 Go Ape trip to go ahead as scheduled.

We are seeking clarification regarding the Berlin Trip scheduled for the Summer.  If this is also covered by the new Government advice, we will be seeking full refunds from the Tour Company / insurer and will communicate with parents of children booked to go in due course.

 

Face Masks

Please be advised that our policy in all aspects of dealing with the Coronavirus will always to be follow the advice given by DfE/NHS/PHE, and their guidance to educational settings surrounding the wearing of face masks is as follows:

“Face masks for the general public, pupils or students, or staff are not recommended to protect from infection, as there is no evidence of benefit from their use outside healthcare environments.”

For this reason, we request that students refrain from wearing face masks in school.

If students or staff feel unwell or display symptoms of a continuous cough or high temperature, they should self-isolate at home.

 

Contingency Planning

Parents will already be aware that school closures have been mentioned in the media as a future strategy in attempting to halt the spread of the Coronavirus.  Although this remains only a possibility at this stage, I want to ensure that we have plans in place to ensure students can receive appropriate work to support their learning, even if schools are closed.

If Wollaston School does need to close at any point, we will use the homework module on Go4Schools to set work for students. This will follow students’ usual timetables and ensure that they do not miss curriculum content. Please can parents therefore ensure that they are able to access the Go4Schools service with a log in and password.  If you do not have access, or if you have any technical queries, please email Miss S Francis, franciss@wollaston-school.net or Mr C Rowland, rowlandc@wollaston-school.net.

Form tutors will be working with students to ensure that they are also able to access the Go4Schools system themselves. Thank you in advance, for your support, and I must stress that we are not aware of any current plans to close Wollaston School. This decision is one that would be taken by Public Health England and the Government, if they deemed this necessary.

 

Public Examinations

We are continuing to support all of our examination students through this period of uncertainty and we stress that it is vitally important for students to maintain their focus on their studies, as currently the examinations will commence in May as planned.   Thank you to parents for your continued support and reassurance that you provide to your children.

Ofqual (the examinations regulator) have released a position statement, which is as follows:

We recognise that students, parents, schools and colleges will be concerned about the possible impact of coronavirus on the 2020 summer exam series. Our advice at this time is to continue to prepare for exams and other assessments as normal. It is still many weeks until examinations start and we will issue updated advice if necessary, giving schools and colleges as much notice as possible.

We continue to work closely with exam boards, other regulators and the Department for Education and we have plans for a range of scenarios, as the public would expect. Our overriding priorities are fairness to students this summer and keeping disruption to a minimum.

 

A reminder that the government are continuing to publish updates on the following link https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public.