Confirmed case of COVID-19 in school
Dear Parent / Carer,
There has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the school. There are no concerns in regards to any of the staff or pupils at the moment having obtained advice from Public Health England Local Health Protection Team.
We are continuing to monitor the situation and are working closely with the Public Health England Protection team. This letter is to inform you of the current situation and provide advice on how to support your child. Please be reassured that for most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.
The Local Health Protection Team has advised that all students can return to school as normal on Monday 14th September 2020 unless any of your children develop symptoms over the next couple of days or week where they would then need to self-isolate and follow the Government guidelines.
What to do if your child develops symptoms of COVID 19.
If your child displays symptoms of COVID-19, they should remain at home for at least 10 days from the date when their symptoms first appeared and arrange to have a test to see if they have COVID-19.
All other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.
The 14-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.
Household members staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.
If you are able to, 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 a:
- Persistent/continuous or new cough within the last 24 hour period
- high temperature at 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher
- loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell
If your child or anyone in your household does develop symptoms, you can seek advice from NHS 111 at:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/ or by phoning 111.
Further information is available at:
Meanwhile please read our COVID-19 regulations below.
I am sure you are aware of the recent discussions around the wearing of face masks in school.
This has been an issue of much debate and, as Head Teacher, I have to make decisions in the best interests of our school community. Part of any decision-making process is always to look at the guidance available (in this case the World Health Organisation and the Department for Education.)
The World Health Organisation (WHO) produced guidance on this issue recommending that ‘….children over 12 should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults, in particular when they cannot guarantee at least a 1-metre distance from others.’
The Department for Education in England, issued new guidance stipulating that ‘schools will have the discretion to require face coverings in communal areas if they believe that is right in their particular circumstances.’ The latest information has highlighted the benefits of masks being worn.
We have followed all guidance in order to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19 and these measures are contained in our extensive risk assessment, which can be viewed on our school website.
Emerson Park Academy will be adopting the following approach from the start of term:
• The wearing of face masks will be mandatory when your son/daughter is present in internal public areas – for example if pupils were transitioning from one lesson to another, or in a busy corridor.
• At this time, pupil face masks will not be permitted to be worn in lessons due to the other mitigating systems of control put in place as per our risk assessment. The DFE advice is clear that, ‘…It will not be necessary to wear face coverings in the classroom, where protective measures already mean the risks are lower, and where they can inhibit learning.’
• Pupils will be asked to remove their face masks when they are in outside spaces, particularly at break and lunchtime, as social distancing is viable and excellent ventilation is possible.
Please note the following:
• Due to the heightened risk of COVID-19 to adults; all staff have been given individual professional discretion as to whether they wear a face mask in the classroom.
• If possible, pupils should avoid wearing single-use, ‘surgical style’, disposable blue face masks as these need to be treated as hazardous waste and are not intended for continuous use.
• We would ask all pupils to consider wearing a mask in school which is different from the mask they may wear to/from school on public transport.
• Once removed, a mask should be stored in as hygienic a way as possible – government advice is that pupils all use a ‘sealable plastic bag’ – for example a ‘zip-lock’ style sandwich bag.
• Face masks must be plain, not decorated, designed, or multi-coloured. No logos are permissible.
•Pupils in Year 7-11 should wear a face mask which is navy blue or, in the case of disposable masks if these have to worn, light blue (these are widely available).
• I appreciate that it may take some time for you to purchase a mask which conforms to the above requirements. As such, we will be understanding and flexible at the very start of term.
• We will be holding a small stock of masks in school for pupils who forget to bring one into school.
• If there is a specific reason why your son/daughter is unable to wear a face mask as per the guidelines above, please contact their respective Head of Year at the start of term.
There will be separate entrances for Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9) and Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11). Key Stage 3 will enter at the top of the A corridor, the canteen end and Key Stage 4 will enter at the bottom of the A corridor, the basketball court end.
Maintaining social distancing as much as is possible and practicable is one of a plethora of requirements in the guidance that will necessitate a number of adjustments to be made to the routines and processes of the daily running of the school.
The main change will be the staggered end to the school day. Year groups will finish the school day at the following times –
Year 7 3.00pm
Year 8 3.05pm
Year 9 3.05pm
Year 10 3.10pm
Year 11 3.10pm
There are a number of aspects that parents may wish to begin considering in response to the government guidance. I would therefore ask all parents to consider the following:
Contact details - Ensuring that contact details such as phone numbers and email addresses are current and accurate.
Vigilance of illness- Ensuring that any child displaying any Covid symptoms is kept at home and does not attend school. This is one of the four key controls listed by the government in its guidance.
Travel to and from school – The government guidance has explicitly asked school communities to try to walk or cycle or drive to school where possible. Where public or dedicated school buses are used for students to sit in year group ‘bubble’ sections and wear a face covering.
The importance of heightened hygiene – Two of the four key control measures centre around regular hand washing/sanitising and practising good respiratory hygiene by following the ‘catch it , bin it, kill it’ protocol. Please discuss these practices regularly with your child ahead of the September return and where possible, ensure that your child has hand sanitiser and tissues with them on arrival to school each day.
Catering arrangements – Whilst our ambition is to ensure that we are able to offer as full an onsite provision as is practicable. We would ask all parents to consider the possibility that a greater number of pupils may need to bring packed lunches into school, if operational issues mean that we need to adjust the catering provision offered.
The lunch break will be 30 minutes.
A healthy and substantial breakfast before leaving home is essential and recommended for all students.
Preparing students for full opening – Clearly, these last months have had a significant impact on the mental health and well-being of the nation as a whole. We fully understand that a return to school will prove to be a daunting prospect for a number of students and as a school community we will do our best to support students in addressing those anxieties but I would also urge all parents to begin the process of listening to and offering reassurance to our young people.
Our risk assessment for the school for re-opening will be uploaded onto our website. It is important that all students and parents read these updates.
I look forward to implementing these plans and getting back to school in September.
The hand washing video from the World Health Organisation is here.
Useful websites for pupils who are worried
Useful websites to support parents/ carers