17th March 2020
We would like to update you following the latest advice relating to the illness COVID-19 caused by coronavirus. Following Public Health Wales and Welsh Government advice, I would like to reiterate that our school is currently open to pupils and staff. Unless your child is showing symptoms or lives in the same household as someone who is showing symptoms they should continue to attend school. The risk to children remains lower; unless there’s an underlying health condition the same as with most other viruses. The most common symptoms are a new continuous cough and/or high temperature.
Parents and carers are naturally worried about the implications for their children and families. We would like to reassure you that our primary concern is to implement any necessary measures to protect children, staff and visitors in our school. We are in constant communication with our cluster feeder schools, Public Health Wales and the Local Authority regarding the health and safety of pupils in our schools.
Proactive steps taken so far to prevent infection
- Assemblies have been postponed for the foreseeable future.
- All extra-curricular sporting activities have been cancelled by relevant sports bodies.
- In line with the Foreign Commonwealth Office advice the Welsh Government has advised against all overseas education trips for children under 18 at this time. Therefore the school trip to Florida in the Easter holidays has regrettably been cancelled.
- All of our teaching staff are preparing online resources through our school’s ‘Study Zone’.
- We have altered the focus of staff meetings, and staff after school training sessions, this week and have allocated this time for staff to focus on the development and refinement of online resources for pupils’ home learning.
- In the event of school closure in the future, staff will be able to contact pupils using HWB Teams and through the HWB email system. We would remind all pupils to check in advance with our ICT staff that they have the necessary log in details to access HWB. Log in details have been provided to all pupils in school and are in the front of pupils’ planners but it is crucial that they are securely stored and remembered.
- School staff are alert to the risk of infection and are taking measures to help keep children healthy. At this time, these measures include encouraging children to wash their hands regularly and to cough or sneeze into tissues, disposing of them in a bin thereafter. It would be extremely useful if you could reinforce the key themes at home – you can find links here https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-educational-settings-guidance
- All toilets in school have soap dispensers and hand towels for use. These are checked each day to ensure they are full. We are encouraging pupils and staff to wash hands regularly.
- We have a number of hand sanitisers around the school which we encourage pupils to use regularly.
- Posters have been put up around the school highlighting the importance of taking the appropriate steps to minimise the risks associated with virus.
- We are taking additional precautions with our cleaning routines to ensure surfaces and objects are disinfected regularly with many areas being cleaned daily.
- From Tuesday 17th March we have restricted access to the school site to essential visitors, staff and pupils only. The Year 10 revision open evening that was planned for 17th March unfortunately has been postponed until further notice.
- Communication regarding pupil issues should continue to take place via email or telephone.
As we continue to follow UK, Welsh Government and Public Health Wales advice, the Council has advised us that all schools should remain open as normal. The situation is being kept under continuous review and we will inform you immediately if anything changes. We are now formulating plans to mitigate the impact of school closure on the continuity of learning for children. In the event of school closure, we have plans in place to ensure your child will have access to a range of learning activities that you can use at home with your child. We will continue to update resources and communicate this with you as the situation across Swansea and Wales changes.
To ensure the continued health of our staff and pupils, we would request that anyone with symptoms should stay at home for at least 7 days. If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home. After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine. However, if anyone in your home develops symptoms, they should stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms start, even if it means they are at home for longer than 14 days. This is in line with the most recent Public Health Wales and Welsh Government advice.
We will authorise any pupil’s absence taken for self-isolation or symptomatic consistent with a new continuous cough and/or high temperature. Our understanding is that NHS 111 will give advice regarding the need for testing and possible hospitalisation if the severity of your symptoms worsens during this self-isolation period.
Advice for children
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds.
- When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use your sleeve if no tissue is available.
- Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards.
- Bring disposable tissues to school and follow the advice “Catch it! Kill it! Bin it!”DO NOT
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
- Do not share any food or drinks with anyone else.
Advice for parents and carers
- Speak with your child about good hygiene as above.
- Visit the following sites for the latest information:
- Update the school about any illness in your family or any concerns you have about contact with the coronavirus.
- Update the school regarding any travel plans.
- Stringently follow the guidelines on self-isolation with your children.
- Please use social media responsibly. If you have any queries please contact the school directly rather than posting information on social media.
- It is only natural that your child may ask about coronavirus. A useful link to support parents/carers about how to talk to children about coronavirus is below:
- Be drawn into speculation or believe false information on social media.
If you have any concerns, please contact the school immediately. The health and wellbeing of pupils and staff is our greatest priority. Please be reassured that we will do whatever is necessary to protect the interests of our school community and we will keep you updated at each stage.
Apologies for the lengthy letter however at this time I am sure you will agree communication is crucial in a rapidly changing situation. Many thanks in anticipation for your ongoing support and understanding.
Mr. G. Rees Headteacher