Coronavirus – information for parents and carers

Updated 17 March 2020

This page contains a range of information in relation to the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus (COVID-19). As you will appreciate, this is an unprecedented time and we will work together with you to ensure that the health and wellbeing of our communities and the education of children remain at the forefront of our decision making.

What is the current risk level?

The risk to the public has been raised to high. The UK government has outlined their response to the outbreak and continue to provide regular updates to the public. You can visit the website below for access to a wide range of information:

www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

The government has made clear that there is no immediate plan to close schools nationally, however this position may change. We will closely monitor this and update you as the situation changes. If you have any concerns in relation to our academy’s position, then please do not hesitate to contact us via email.

What do I do if I or someone I live with has symptoms of coronavirus?

The government has also updated its advice in relation to what you should do if you feel you have coronavirus symptoms. You can access this information on the NHS website:

www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

The government have also provided detailed guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection. You can access this on the government website:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

We are also putting in place a number of additional measures to help limit the impact of our activities on the spread of coronavirus:

Cancellation of all academy trips

Across Diverse Academies, we have collectively taken the decision to cancel all trips – whether in the UK or abroad – until the end of April, in the interests of the safeguarding and welfare of our students and pupils. This decision is based on the latest government advice and our own assessments, which have taken into account the associated risk of travel and the staffing required to ensure the safety of all participants.

We are currently investigating all options in relation to the cancellation of academy trips, including the possibility of postponement to another time or the recovery of costs. We will update you as soon as we are able to.

Any trips planned beyond April remain under review.

Cancellation of academy events

As of 13 March, we are restricting the movement between academy communities, including meetings and events planned within our academy, until further notice – for example parent evenings, performances or guest speakers. Where possible, we will reschedule these for a later date or find alternative ways of communicating.

Please note: in order to ensure we continue to deliver on our duty of care to our students and pupils, it may be necessary to continue to hold some face-to-face meetings. We will review each situation on a case by case basis.

Summer examinations and assessments

We know this time of year is also a particularly challenging time for many of our students and pupils who are preparing for their summer examinations or assessments. Ofqual – Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation – advise that we should continue to prepare for exams and other assessments as normal. Ofqual are working closely with exam boards, other regulators and the Department for Education, and are planning for a range of scenarios. They state that their ‘overriding priorities are fairness to students this summer and keeping disruption to a minimum.’

We will keep you up to date with any developments and intend to follow the advice given by the government and relevant bodies.

Reminder – have we got your up to date contact details?

We should have two points of parent/carer contact information for your child – this should include an email address and phone number (preferably a mobile number). If this requires updating, please let us know. For GDPR purposes you must do this in writing – therefore please email the academy (see ‘Contact us section’) or provide us with a hardcopy written letter.

Helpline

The Department for Education have launched a helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows.

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk

Opening hours – 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

If you are worried about any symptoms, please call NHS 111. Please let us know if you or any member of your immediate family have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity.

Help prevent the spread of viruses

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​There are simple things we can all help to prevent the spread of viruses by:

  • covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • putting used tissues in the bin immediately
  • trying to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Also, we can’t stress enough the importance of regular hand washing:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – using hand sanitiser gel (60% alcohol) if soap and water are not available (additional supplies of hand sanitisers have been distributed to all academies and head office). This is particularly important after taking public transport.
  • Pupils/students, staff and visitors should wash their hands:
  • before leaving home
  • on arrival at school
  • after using the toilet
  • after breaks and sporting activities
  • before food preparation
  • before eating any food, including snacks
  • before leaving school

Commonly asked questions

What happens if a parent/carer, child, member of staff or visitor tests positive for coronavirus?

If there is a confirmed case of coronavirus amongst our academy community, we will immediately undertake a risk assessment and follow advice from the Public Health England local Health Protection Team. A decision on whether it is necessary to close will be based on this assessment and the decision communicated to all parents and carers immediately.

What will happen if the academy closes?

In the event of a partial or whole-school closure, we will communicate with all parents and carers directly with any specific arrangements as a result. We are likely to use our academy website, email, text and/or our parental/student communication apps to distribute learning resources and work that can been done from home, where possible.

In preparation for a closure we are:

  • ensuring the safeguarding and welfare of our students is core to our decision-making
  • reviewing staff-student ratios in the event of significant staff absences, to support the continuation of teaching and learning where possible
  • considering the impact of students with prolonged absence and the potential need for support plans
  • monitoring situations where individuals within our academy community are suspected of having contracted coronavirus, including observing the need to self-isolate where appropriate and/or advised to do so
  • and keeping up to date with the latest government advice.

What if I am planning to take my child abroad?

If you and/or your family are planning a trip abroad, please ensure you are aware of the current advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office before you depart. The government has also set up a dedicated information page, see: Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19). We ask that you do not intentionally put yourself and others at risk.

Further information

As the situation develops, more information continues to become available. Here are some trustworthy sources of further information:

We are monitoring the situation carefully and adhering to all advice from the NHS and the Department for Education. We will continue to update you as and when we receive any further information or advice

Published: 13 March 2020

Updates:

  • 17 March 2020 – information added on what to if you or someone you live with have symptoms of coronavirus; links to further information added
Diverse Academies Trust