16 March 2020
Updated guidance for schools on coronavirus (COVID-19)
Can I take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and thank in particular students who attended school as normal today and have continued with their learning. A special thank you to the staff who have all turned in today to keep “business-as-usual” under difficult circumstances.
I would like to further reassure that the significant additional cleaning processes continue throughout the day and after our young people have left school. This programme of cleaning has been verified as being in line with that recommended by PHE.
Today, the Department for Education and Public Health England have issued updated guidance for schools on COVID-19.
What you need to know:
Current advice remains in place: no school should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.
The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce would be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to education or children’s social care settings will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.
Recording school pupil absences
Where a pupil is in self-isolation, in accordance with latest information and advice from Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, the pupil should be recorded as unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances in the attendance register.
If a pupil does not attend school, despite the school operating as usual and the pupil is not self-isolating, they should be marked as absent. It is for headteachers to determine whether or not the absence is authorised depending on the individual circumstances.
Where a pupil cannot attend school due to illness, as normally would happen, the pupil should be recorded as absent in the attendance register and the school will authorise the absence.
Anyone else not in school will be recorded as unauthorised
The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.
Watch this short NHS film for guidance: https://youtu.be/bQCP7waTRWU
Department for Education coronavirus helpline
The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)
Please note, they are currently experiencing high volumes of calls and appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. They have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends.
Where to find the latest information
Updates on COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Guidance for educational settings: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19
School Learning Resources
There is a wealth of student resources on our School Life pages on the website for students to access at any time to supplement their learning in school.
These are challenging times for us all but if we all work together and support each other I am sure this will help make the situation we find ourselves in a little better. I will continue to provide information and guidance as I receive it.
Mrs C A Twist