Dear Parents and Carers
Today, we had confirmation that a student in Year 8 has tested positive for Covid-19.
Since being told this news this morning, we have been working very closely with the Department for Educationâ€™s public health team to determine what actions the school should take to keep our community safe. We have then checked classroom attendance records and seating plans to identify any student who has been within 2 metres of the student for 15 minutes or more.
This process identified 75 students who, in accordance with DfE instructions, must now stay at home and self-isolate.
We are working hard throughout school to continue ensure the health, safety and welfare of your child and family. We urge students to continue to practise social distancing, good hand and respiratory hygiene and the use of face coverings.
Should your child exhibit the following symptoms, they should remain at home and have a test:
â€¢ A high temperature
â€¢ A dry persistent cough
â€¢ A loss of taste/smell
If in doubt, err on the side of caution and contact the school.
We know that this development will raise questions for some of you and we have tried to pre-empt what these might be and provided answers below.
It is important that we communicate to students with calmness and perspective based upon facts and not upon speculation or conjecture.
I will keep you fully informed of all developments. Please take care of yourselves, your family and each other.
School work for isolating students
To support students during the time they are not in school teachers will be regularly posting lessons on Google Classroom, supported by help video and exemplar work. If students have any questions they should contact their class teachers or tutors for help.
Students will need to log on to their school Google account and follow their timetable for the day.
Why is the school remaining open if there is a confirmed case?
The guidance from the Department for Education and Public Health England is that schools remain open, providing that anyone who has been in close contact with the confirmed case self-isolates for 14 days. This minimises the risk of cross contamination and means a school can remain open providing it also has Covid secure measures in place. We believe we have identified all students who need to self-isolate.
Is the school being deep cleaned?
As part of our Covid procedures, additional cleaning routines throughout the day ensure that high contact areas are regularly cleaned. Each evening, the school is cleaned more deeply than usual to prevent the virus remaining present on surfaces.
Is my child safe?
In order for your child to be at risk of infection, they need to have been in "direct close contact" with an infected person 48 hours prior to symptoms first appearing. This is defined as anyone who:
â€¢ Spends significant time in the same household.
â€¢ Has had face to face contact within one metre. This includes being coughed on, having skin to skin physical contact or contact within one metre for one minute.
â€¢ Has been within two metres for 15 minutes or more.
â€¢ Has travelled in the same vehicle.
All students seated near this student have been identified. We are asking parents of these students to closely monitor the health of their child and if necessary get tested and inform the school of the outcome. If there are further reported cases we will let parents know and identify any further staff or students who need to self-isolate.
Should I keep my child at home if they have an underlying health condition or live with someone who is in a clinically vulnerable group?
Although Covid causes only mild illness for most young people, it can make those with certain pre-existing medical conditions very ill. We appreciate that this is an especially difficult time for families where someone is clinically vulnerable. However, the risk of transmission in school is low and your child is not at greater risk of infection unless they came into close contact with the infected person. I am worried about how my child is reacting to this news.
Should I keep them at home?
Please reassure your child that they have not had close contact with the infected person and that they can minimise the general risk of being infected by following the measures we have described in school. Please do let us know if your child is very anxious so we can support them.
Information from the DfE:
What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID 19
If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19, they must not come to school and should remain at home for at least 10 days from the date when their symptoms appeared. Anyone with symptoms will be eligible for testing and this can be arranged via https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.Â
All other household members who remain well, must stay at home and not leave the house for 10 days. This includes anyone in your â€˜Support Bubbleâ€™.
The 10-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
Household members should not go to work, school or public areas and exercise should be taken within the home.
If you require help with buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, or walking a dog, you should ask friends or family. Alternatively, you can order your shopping online and medication by phone or online.
Household members staying at home for 10 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
If you are able, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.
If your child does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from the nhs.uk website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/. If you are concerned about your childâ€™s symptoms, or they are worsening you can seek advice from NHS 111 at https://111.nhs.uk/ or by phoning 111.
How to stop COVID-19 spreading
There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with COVID-19
Further information is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/