Daily Update 18th March 2020
- Government Guidance
There has been no change since Monday 16th. If a student or one of his/her family has coronavirus symptoms, the family should self-isolate for 14 days.
The specific guidance for schools and educational settings was significantly changed on 16th March; link below. Schools are expected to remain open, and to liaise with Public Health England as issues arise. The standard advice is that if a person is not displaying symptoms of coronavirus, nor are her/his family, then it is ok for them to attend work/school unless s/he has an underlying health condition.
A detailed letter setting out various scenarios for temporary, part- and full- closures was sent to parents on 16th March, link below.
- Should I send my child in?
Students with the symptoms of coronavirus should not be sent in, and should be isolated at home for fourteen days. The specific symptoms are a raised temperature/fever and/or a “new, continuous cough”. This also applies if a member of the family has such symptoms.
Please do not send your child in if you have any doubt about her/his health, especially covid symptoms. Through staff absence, we have a reduced number of First Aiders, and we do not have the facilities to deal adequately with several students simultaneously presenting with possible covid symptoms.
If your child is absent for any reason, please contact Student Absence in the usual way. Please be clear as to whether your child has covid symptoms, or is poorly with something else. If your child has covid symptoms, s/he should be isolated with the rest of the family for fourteen days. If a child presents at school with possible covid symptoms and is sent home, we would expect that the family would follow government advice and self-isolation.
- Is Clyst Vale likely to close?
If the government instructs schools to close, then yes. Between now and then, the answer depends entirely on the extent of staff absence. I anticipate that the College should be open to all year groups for the rest of this week; there is a risk of a part-closure on Friday 20th March. Next Monday, 23rd March is the most difficult day to predict, as there could be a number of changes over the weekend. We would alert parents to any part-closure as early as we can, but this may not be until 07.30-07.40 on the day itself. Depending on how strict the definition of “school closure” would be, we are also exploring worst-case scenarios in which a skeleton staff could keep the College open for students of parents in the NHS and emergency services.
The Government expectation remains that schools should stay open, and that students should continue to attend if they are free of the symptoms of coronavirus.
Student attendance yesterday was 75%. There are no “confirmed” cases among students or staff of covid-19 because testing is now only for very serious cases, and fortunately there have been none of these. Several students were sent home yesterday with possible coronavirus symptoms. All are self-isolating at home.
On Monday and Tuesday staff absence was no worse than some days in winter cold season, so we could run a full timetable, albeit with some covered lessons and some cancelled Sixth Form lessons. Parents should note that the AtHoS of both Red and Yellow Schools are self-isolating; please phone or e-mail as normal, but be aware that someone else is likely to respond.
- Setting Work for Absent Students
At present, I am not expecting or requiring my colleagues to set work for absent students. My colleagues are setting and teaching their classes in College, increasingly picking up further teaching and other duties as colleagues fall ill or self-isolate, and have their own coronavirus worries; I hope that parents understand this. However, where teachers have a little spare capacity they may send some work, especially to students in exam years. Ironically, teachers who are not ill but self-isolating at home are in a better position to do this. Also, on our website we have published a list of on-line learning sites which students may access (Curriculum tab, “Independent Study Links”).
- Cancelled Events (to end of term)
In order to reduce the number of gatherings in College, the number of visitors to the College, and to try to preserve the energy of my colleagues if we face high levels of staff absence, the following events have been cancelled (or postponed):
18–24th March Year 10 Mocks
18-20th March Year 12 Geography Fieldwork to Swanage (postponed)
19th March Sports Award Evening (postponed)
20th CTP and meningitis vaccinations (Year 9)
23rd March Year 7 Visit to Paris (postponed but rearrangement tbc)
24th March Parent Forum Meeting (postponed)
We are also cancelling all assemblies, careers interviews, and all after-school sports fixtures at least until the end of this term.
Next week’s Science Fair is being postponed until after Easter.
External lettings have been cancelled until the end of April.
Cancelling so many wonderful activities and opportunities is hugely disappointing, especially for the students; Year 7 have been hit especially hard.
- Activities Still Running
After-school revision sessions
Sports clubs immediately after school (subject to change)
Sixth Form “lesson 6” s
Year 7 Parents’ Evening on Thursday 23rd April (although in doubt)
- Public Examinations
Despite increasing press speculation about the exams being pushed back, there is still no change to the position regarding the summer’s public exams. Ofqual’s most recent statement from 6th March has not been updated:
“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.
We continue to work closely with exam boards, other regulators and the Department for Education and we have met to plan 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.
It is still many weeks until exams start and we will issue updated advice if necessary, giving schools and colleges as much notice as possible.”
KEY LINKS AND SOURCES OF INFORMATION
This link is to the letter to parents and carers outlining Clyst Vale’s contingency plans for different scenarios with regard to school closure. Some of its specific content has been overtaken by the Prime Minister’s announcement of March 16th, but the possible responses to the different scenarios remain relevant.
The following link is the government’s advice to schools, last updated on 16th March.
The next link is Devon County Council News Centre: Health and Wellbeing (Coronovirus advice) page:
Department for Education Coronavirus helpline:
Phone: 0800 046 8687 Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)
Should you have any specific queries regarding Covid-19 and Clyst Vale, please call the main switchboard on 01392-461407 and ask for Mrs Ann Hopkins (College Manager).
Thank you for your support and understanding at a very challenging and rapidly-changing time. We are doing everything we can to provide some normality for students and to help calm fears.
Kevin Bawn, Principal