As you will be aware, things are changing daily with regard to coronavirus (Covid-19). At the moment, schools are remaining open and our priority is, as always, the health and safety of students and staff. We are following advice to make sure that children are kept safe. We will use the school website to update you on any advice or information about what this entails. It is a complex and changing situation and your support and understanding is much appreciated. For medical advice and general advice about coronavirus, the government is updating its advice daily and you can check this here: https:///www.gov.im/coronavirus .
School trips planned between now and end of June are cancelled as all non-essential travel is stopped. Given the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days on return to the Island, we strongly recommend that you do not travel off-Island over Easter unless you really need to. With regard to advice regarding self-isolation, we follow the advice for all members of the public. The advice can be found here: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-is...
I appreciate that some children will need to self-isolate due to other family members being vulnerable and where social distancing is not possible. If your child has health issues which makes him/her vulnerable, please follow medical advice and if necessary keep your child at home. Children who need to self-isolate will not be able to return to school until the required timescale (14 days) has been completed. There is a separate absence code for this.
Please do not send your child to school if he/she has a persistent cough or a temperature. They should stay off for 14 days. For any other absence, normal guidelines apply.
We are working on providing work for children online. Most children have access to both Itslearning and Google classroom. It would be very helpful if you could check with them that they are able to access these at home. Please let us know if they are not able to do this. In the event of a school closure, these will be the main means of setting work for children to do and they also enable children to return work for marking. BBC bitesize, linguascope and GCSEpod are also useful for students. Further information on this will be forthcoming should the need arise.
Any decision to close the school will be taken at DESC level. We will endeavour to give as much notice as we can. In the meantime, we are managing with the help of some additional support teachers to cover for staff who are not able to be at work, as they are self-isolating themselves. Your understanding and support of them will be hugely appreciated, as they may not have the same expertise as the teachers for whom they are covering. We are hoping that, with their help, we will not have to send any groups of children home. This will be monitored daily and we may need to merge classes to help manage.
We have been advised that assemblies can still happen. We will use these to help keep children informed of the situation, as uncertainty and lack of communication leads to increased stress for them. Most additional activities are no longer running as you will be aware.
For students in Y11 and Y13, this is a particularly difficult time. I held an emergency assembly for them yesterday morning. Most of the exams (SQA, WJEC, AQA etc) are no longer happening. CIE at the moment is looking at whether the exams will run or not. The absolute priority for all the exam boards is that students should get a fair deal and not be disadvantaged. We expect an update in the next day or two as to what this will mean. At the moment, the best advice we can give them is to complete all coursework, and work with their teachers to collate good evidence to support any predicted grade, should that be the decision going forward. I will update you when we have more reliable information. Universities are also determined that students should not worry and that places will be available for them.
We are in unchartered territory but I know that, as a community, we will pull together and come through it. Thank you for your support and understanding.
Ms S Moore