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Headteacher’s letter 16 March 2020

16 March 2020

Dear Parents and Carers

Coronavirus Update 6

Updated Self-Isolation Advice:
You will be aware that the updated advice released this evening is that an entire household should self-isolate for 14 days should one or more members of that household develop a new continuous cough and / or a high temperature.

We ask that families contact us in the normal way to report any absence. Schools have today been instructed to record self-isolation absences with a special code to reflect these very unique circumstances.

As I wrote in my letter to students on Friday, students (and parents and carers) should not worry about being at home or ‘getting into trouble’ for being off school. We trust students and families to make the right decision and you have our full support at all times. Be safe.

The Impact of Staff Absence
The updated Government advice also applies to members of staff of course. So far, we have not been affected by staff absence, but we have to be mindful that this may affect us in the days ahead. We envisage managing the absence of a small number of teachers with cover lessons in the normal way. This routine approach would have to change if teacher absence levels were to rise sharply.
We do not have any plans to ask particular year groups to remain at home at this time. However, if teacher absence levels were to rise considerably then this would become a possibility. In this scenario, Years 10 to 13 lessons will be prioritised over lessons for our youngest students for obvious reasons.

After School Activities and Events
We are looking at our planned after school activities and events on a case-by-case basis. School clubs, practices or boosters can continue as normal for now. In some instances, we shall postpone (e.g. sports fixtures) but may have to cancel others (e.g. public performances). The direction of travel towards great social distancing will of course apply to ensure the health and safety of students and staff. If you are unsure about a particular activity or event then please contact the member of staff in charge right away.

And finally…
These are unprecedented times. We may have to make major decisions at relatively short notice. Should this be the case, I wish to emphasise that we understand the huge impact decisions like partial or full closures always have on parents and carers. Such decisions are never be taken lightly and I apologise in advance if this occurs.

Meanwhile, your children continue to be brilliant. Ironically, my own Year 9 class were learning about the response and the spirit of the British during the Blitz today; making obvious parallels about how we try to deal with crises and worries today. It was a poignant lesson at this moment in time.

Elsewhere, we are just getting on with our lessons and looking out for one another.
Yours sincerely
Barry Doherty

Headteacher
PS Let me remind you of the telephone helpline (0800 046 8687) or the email that may be used by adults and students: [email protected] The Government’s key website for all other information and updates on the virus remains: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

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