18 March 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Correspondence 3
Please note that this information is correct as at 2.00pm today. We are being told that an announcement from the Government on school closures is ‘imminent’ and this may obviously have an impact on our plans. If this is the case I may need to send you a further update later.
If you do not receive any further communication from me today I can confirm that the arrangements for tomorrow will stay in place - Year 7 and 9 not to attend College. All other Year Groups to be in.
Dear Parents and Carers
The College continues to be a calm and orderly place despite the significant impact of so many students and staff being absent. I must acknowledge the fantastic commitment of our staff who are in College today, both teaching and support, who are covering classes, duties and really ‘going the extra mile’ to support our students. At times like this the strength of the Collingwood community shines through!
Today we had 25 teaching staff and 12 support staff absent from College which is an increase of 9 teaching staff and 4 support staff from the previous day. These absent staff are correctly following government advice and my obvious worry is that, as this virus spreads, these numbers will continue to increase. Student attendance was approximately 60% in Years 7, 9 and 11 today and the high number of student absences represent those that are self-isolating as well as a number taking precautionary measures due to underlying health issues. I can confirm that we still have no confirmed cases of coronavirus.
I repeat that it remains my firm intention to try to keep the College open as far as possible and we will do this until such a time that the government instructs us to close or it becomes operationally impossible for us to continue which includes partial closures. I must inform you, however, that as staff absence numbers rise the feasibility of us being able to continue is becoming much more difficult. I have this morning written to Mr Gove, our local MP and Government Minister, outlining our situation (and other local schools) stating that the present situation is unsustainable.
Partial Closure for the remainder of this week
We have modelled the likely situation for tomorrow and believe that we can continue with our original plan:
Thursday - Years 7 and 9 not to attend College. All other Year Groups to come into College.
The situation for Friday is looking much more uncertain and I will inform you tomorrow of our plans as soon as I have a clearer picture of staff absence patterns.
Key Public Sector Workers
A reminder to parents and carers working for essential services such as the NHS, the Police and the Fire Service, and in care homes that your children will still be able to attend College even if their Year Group is not attending that day. In such cases please contact your Year Manager.
Requests for work at home
Students will have received emails from our staff as to how those who are self-isolating can access work to complete at home.
No further updates have been received and we are proceeding on the basis that the published timetable will be kept to.
This remains as:
Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:
- a high temperature
- a new continuous cough.
If you live with other people, you should all stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms. This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home.
Thank you for your ongoing support and the many positive messages you have sent in regarding how the College is handling this situation.