Thank you for the positive responses we had to yesterday’s letter. After updates from the government the Senior Leadership Team have met this morning to update our guidance.
At this stage, the English Government have not informed us that they are intending to close schools, however, this is an ever-changing situation which is very new to everybody and as a result, we are putting plans into place to respond to a variety of scenarios.
We are aware that many within our school community may be classed as vulnerable. We are advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. To this end some staff may not be in school, this group includes those who are:
• aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
• under 70 with an underlying health condition (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
• chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
• a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
• those who are pregnant
• People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
• People with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
The Government guidance has also changed regarding isolation.
How long to stay at home if you have symptoms
• Anyone with symptoms should stay at home for at least 14 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.
• But, if anyone in your home gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they’re at home for longer than 14 days.
• If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
• If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
• Please see the NHS website for more information
What are the symptoms of the Coronavirus?
A new/persistent cough and/or a high temperature.
What constitutes a high temperature?
- The guidance is currently very ambiguous. The guidance for a fever is 37.8C or higher. Current NHS guideline state that you feel hot to touch on chest or back School will use a head thermometer if concerned.
What is considered a new or a persistent/continuous cough?
- There is no specific guideline. According to the Public Health Advisor, if a dry cough has developed within the past two weeks and is regular in the sense that it is noticeable from others that you have a cough, this is a good indicator of a ‘persistent cough’. The early symptoms can easily be confused with other winter bugs including colds and flu which makes this difficult.
What do I do if my child or a family member has either of these symptoms?
- NHS UK states that you stay at home for 14 days if you have either of the above symptoms.
- If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.
What will the school do if they notice my child has one or more of these symptoms?
- The school will call to discuss the symptoms with you and refer you to the current guidance.
Keeping up to speed with the latest advice
Use the NHS 111 online service if: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
- Advice to schools is publicly available and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19
Please be aware the staff are incredibly busy dealing with the additional workload this is causing. We will return all calls but this may take more time than usual. Thank you for your understanding.