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Covid-19/ Coronavirus Update 16.03.20

Dear Parents and Carers

We are mindful that the current situation is developing and causing some worry and uncertainty. I can reassure you that we are continuing to monitor the information available in relation to the risks around Coronavirus and the advice that is being shared with school and the public.

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As we have stated previously, we will remain vigilant in managing any risk in school. We will also continue to support pupils and staff about best practice in terms of hand washing and hygiene in relation to coughs and sneezes etc. Personal hygiene is widely communicated to be the most effective way to tackle the spread of Coronavirus.

For latest national information please refer to the following: 

•       the NHS website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

•       the Government website  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-forthe-public

The Department for Education have launched an information help and advice line:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Email:  DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk

The opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm.

Current advice from the government is for educational establishments to remain open. We are mindful that this advice may change in the coming weeks. If a full closure of schools is announced, we will communicate arrangements for this to all students, parents and carers via email, text and on our website. It is therefore vital that we have your current contact and emergency contact details on our system. If any of your details have recently changed, please do contact the school office via email or phone to update us.

The most recent advice from the government is for people with mild symptoms to self-isolate for 7 days. Over time we anticipate that this may affect a number of pupils as well as a number of staff. This may have an impact on how we operate at our school and normal routines and organisation may change as a result. This means we may need to make cover arrangements at short notice and that usual timetables may be affected.

If your child is ill or self-isolating, please do inform us in the usual way, however we would appreciate a message as early as possible on the first day of absence, to assist us with our planning.

Information regarding the possibility of school closures

We are also planning how best we can continue to support your child’s learning in the event of a prolonged school closure. We will communicate with you separately about this, should the need arise. For obvious reasons, arrangements will be very different in these circumstances and because this situation would be unprecedented, we ask for your patience and support as we try to get things right for everybody. Primarily, we will aim to provide activities to support learning through electronic communication wherever possible and we are planning how best we can do this. We will also be updating our school website to ensure the links to online learning resources are expanded and up to date.

It would be helpful if parents and carers think about how to prepare for this so that wherever possible, children can have some access to a desktop PC or laptop and internet connection and a space to do some learning activities at home. If a screen and keyboard is not possible, access to the internet via a mobile device will at least enable parents / carers to download messages and tasks to share with children.

Unless our school closes, please continue to report pupil absence in the usual way.

As a school, we would like to keep our day to day activities as normal as possible. We will keep all additional activities under review and we may need to postpone or cancel some events such as parent consultation evenings, school trips (including residential trips), meetings and visitors to school. Our default advice is to assume events that have been scheduled are ON unless we have specifically communicated they are not. Unfortunately, some decisions may need to be taken at short notice. If this is the case, we will try to provide as much advance notice as possible for any changes to planned events.

You will appreciate that our school offices are dealing with a large number of questions and queries at the moment, so please be patient and check the information you have received from us. Please also email non urgent questions to the office rather than calling, wherever possible.

As a school we will continue to monitor messages from the DfE and Public Health England and we will communicate with you further, as and when it is necessary. If you are aware that your child has come into contact with a person who has been diagnosed as having Coronavirus, please let us know urgently.

With many thanks for your continued support.

Richard Preece

Executive Headteacher / CEO

Torfield & Saxon Mount Academy Trust

Consultant Headteacher, St Mary's School & College, Bexhill On Sea