Coronavirus update from our schools
The information included here is to ensure that you are well informed and will know what to do if you have any concerns about the current Coronavirus outbreak and our schools.
Coronavirus/ COVID-19 Update – March 23, 2020
All schools have been instructed to close until further notice as of Monday 23 March, 2020.
However, as advised by the government, we intend to open for the children of key workers and those children identified as vulnerable. Key workers are defined as those who are maintaining essential public services during the Covid-19 response. The definition of key worker will be flexible and dependant on the circumstance and requirements over the course of this critical period. There will be flexibility shown on the definition of key workers to ensure all those who need support receive it. The list is not prescriptive. However, to give some guidance the following outlines the broad categories of what would be defined as a key worker;
• Health and Social Care. This includes doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, home carers and staff required to maintain our health and social care sector
• Education and childcare. This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who will remain active during the Covid-19 response
• Public safety and national security. This includes civilians and officers in the police (including key contractors), Fire and Rescue Service, prison service and other national security roles
• Transport. This will include those keeping air, water, road and rail transport modes operating during the Covid-19 response
• Utilities and Communication. This includes staff needed for oil, gas, electricity and water (including sewage) and primary industry supplies, to continue during the Covid-19 response, as well as key staff in telecommunications, post and delivery, services and waste disposal
• Food and other necessary goods. This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution and sale, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (e.g hygiene, medical etc)
• Other workers essential to delivering key public services
• Key national and local government including those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the Covid-19 response
The aim is to keep the number of pupils coming into school to a minimum and children who do not fall into these groups should remain at home from Monday. Please see the individual school websites for further updates.
This week the Department for Education have launched a new helpline to answer questions about Coronavirus related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:
- Phone: 0800 046 8687
- Email: DfE.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday).
In addition, updates on Coronavirus can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus, and guidance for educational settings at www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19.
The guidance states that if students or staff are feeling unwell with symptoms of Coronavirus, they are advised to contact the NHS Helpline 111 and to keep away from others and stay at home to stop the infection spreading. The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has the Coronavirus:
- Fever/ High Temperature
- Dry Cough
- Difficulty in breathing/ shortness of breath
To prevent the spread of Coronavirus, students are reminded to:
- wash their hands more often for 20 seconds with soap and hot water.
- In addition to handwashing before eating and after sneezing, pupils should also wash hands after using toilets and after travelling on public transport.
- cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue before throwing it in a bin (‘Catch It, Bin It, Kill It’)
- to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Parents are requested to:
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home
- If you’re worried about your symptoms, please call NHS 111 – don’t go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment
- Reaffirm with your sons/daughters the importance of hygiene as listed in the student reminders above
If any students and their families have specific concerns about Coronavirus and any ongoing or underlying medical conditions, they should speak to their GP or their specialist healthcare professionals to seek advice and guidance on how to minimise the risks. Otherwise the general NHS guidance applies.