Tuesday 17th March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
Re. latest updates on COVID-19 or Coronavirus
We hope all St Marylebone families are coping with this highly unusual and unsettling situation. As ever, we are trying to keep you updated as relevant though the guidance is changing daily. Thank you for the messages of support and encouragement many of you have sent.
Last night, the Government’s Health Secretary made a further announcement. His full announcement can be found at this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/controlling-the-spread-of-covid-19-health-secretarys-statement-to-parliament
In terms of attendance for staff and students at school, these are the most important words from his speech to note: “… we are today advising that if you or anyone in your home has a high temperature or a new and continuous cough, then you should stay at home for 14 days.”
If this applies to you, please follow this advice and inform the school of your child’s absence in the usual ways.
Meantime, the latest information from Public Health England for schools can be found via this link:
I have pasted the most important wording for parents and carers below:
Updated guidance for education settings on coronavirus (COVID-19)
Today (Monday 16th March), the Department for Education and Public Health England have issued updated guidance for education settings on COVID-19. This guidance will assist staff in addressing COVID-19 in educational settings. This includes childcare, schools, further and higher educational institutions.
What you need to know:
– staff, young people and children should stay at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise they should attend education or work as normal
– if staff, young people or children become unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home
– clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using your standard cleaning products
– supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water or hand sanitiser and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues
Current advice remains in place: no education or children’s social care setting 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.
As such, school remains open and we continue to do our best to enable learning, support and development for your children. We realise that last night’s announcement will make this very difficult and in many ways, it is hard to follow fully both the advice of the Health Secretary and the advice to run school as normal.
If staff attendance is affected to the extent that we cannot safely and effectively run the school as normal, we may have to close partially if not fully. This might mean, for example, that we can only run lessons for certain year groups. If this is going to happen, we will let you know at the soonest opportunity.
Meantime, te have have had to take mitigating action on the following things:
1. As mentioned last week, we have had to cancel overseas trips. This process can take some time so please bear with us as we work through each trip and make contact with the relevant travel agencies and families. We are also in the process of re-risk-assessing local and national trips and will communicate with families in good time about these.
2. With regret, we are also cancelling the following school events:
– A-Level Dance Showcase: Wednesday 18th March, evening
– Spring Concert, Thursday 26th March
We are cancelling these as they are large public gatherings, asking many visitors and families to come into the School. We will use our energies better in the coming weeks on teaching and learning.
3. We are also cancelling Academic Review Day on Friday this week, 20th March. Lessons will run as usual on Friday. This is because we want to make the most of teaching and learning time and we know we are better able to staff a normal teaching day than, in the event of staff absences, Academic Review Day. Please ensure your child knows that Friday is a normal day of lessons and comes to school ready to learn as usual.
4. This means that the Year 12 UCAS Day planned for Friday will be postponed and Year 12 students will have their normal lessons instead.
The School continues to inform and advise students of the importance of good hygiene, notably use of tissues and hand-washing. Please do the same at home.
In terms of your child’s attendance at school, please use the usual means of informing us. Please note that the School cannot diagnose your child’s symptoms. If your child is unwell and has symptoms that concern you, please follow Public Health England advice.
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
Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas:
The DfE’s helpline for schools, staff, students, parents, carers can be accessed by phone or email:
Phone: 0800 046 8687 Email: DfE.email@example.com
We understand that this is a very unusual and unsettling situation, causing anxiety and alarm for many. It is also a rapidly-changing situation. Learning and study continues as ever here, despite this. The School will continue to try to keep you informed as relevant and meantime, we thank you for your ongoing good communication and support.
You are all in our thoughts and prayers.