The following COVID message was sent out to parents on Friday 16 October 2020:

We held fire on a COVID Update last week as there was nothing really to say and we were wondering if Boris would make some dramatic new announcements on Monday related to half-term, exams, etc. Nonetheless, although there have been changes in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, we remain on the same course.

COVID Cases in School:

Up until today, things were all quiet on the COVID front, and those who had had to isolate had done so without any real illness. However, this morning we were notified of a positive test result and this resulted in 13 Year 7 students being asked to isolate for 14 days. We liaised with Public Health England and the Department for Education and the procedures were exactly like last time. We looked at the previous 48hrs and asked those in sustained and immediate contact to isolate as per the guidelines. We were fortunate that the central family involved were 100% on the ball and made sure we had all of the information we needed.

Certainly, we have seen local cases increase dramatically, alongside the national surge, so it is likely this will not be the last case, and we are very aware that we have a number of parents who work in front-line occupations where the risk of infection is higher. Naturally, all the school cases originate from the local community so the priority remains to be aware of the key symptoms – sustained dry cough, high temperature, loss of smell / taste; aware when we / our child does not have COVID but rather a seasonal cold; and to make sure we all follow the necessary distancing measures. The following chart helps to identify the key symptoms:

 

Remote Learning:

There is no change to our plans for remote learning should it become necessary but over half-term we will pull it together into a more formal set of guidelines and put them on the website. This will mean there is a reference point for any parent who wishes to check how things run. Currently, we set work via school email for the small numbers off school, but should we need to send home larger numbers, such as a Year group, then a more ‘blocked’ approach will roll through.

 

Flu Vaccines:

We have helped our staff to get discounted flu vaccines this week – both to support the NHS but also to keep our staff remaining healthy, happy and in school working with your children. The NHS have rolled the flu vaccines out to all Year 7 children and we had a large uptake earlier in the term. We would recommend all families consider having the vaccine as it will hopefully reduce the risk of infections spreading around the school. Even so, the call is obviously yours.

 

Year 11 / Year 13 Exams:

All formal GCSE/A-Level exams have been put back till after the May half-term – aside from one GCSE English and one GCSE Maths paper. There are still courses where it is not concrete as to what is happening with them so we are currently guessing what we have to catch up. The Y11 mocks take place just after half-term and we would urge all parents to push the revision at home. The mock exams never determine the final grade, but they are a key indicator, so it is vital they are prepared for. There remains a real chance that school assessed grades will stand next summer.

 

We would advise all parents with children due to finish after this summer’s exams to hold fire on booking summer holidays towards the end of the Summer Term – although at the moment only the Moon seems to be on the approved list . The exams will run later, the Leavers’ Assembly too, and the Prom as well. You can read more about the situation with exams here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/54511989

The Y11 Prom is booked for Tuesday 6 July but we would urge everyone not to go mad on dresses, nail extensions, and eyelashes, etc, as there is no guarantee it won’t fall to COVID. The Y13 Leavers’ Meal is provisionally scheduled for Thursday 8 July but nothing is booked yet. More details will follow through the school year.

 

That’s it for now – we’re avoiding going under the roof contractors ladders so that next week escapes any problems – and if there are any developments we’ll email you next week.

Take care.

 

Matt Allman

Headteacher

The Friary School