Coronavirus - Covid-19 Update
Covid-19 Pastoral and Wellbeing information for pupils and parents from the School Counsellor
Please click on the PASTORAL & WELLBEING link below to access the NEW Pastoral & Wellbeing page on the School website.
Curated by the School Counsellor Mrs Varney, it contains documents with useful pastoral and wellbeing information for pupils and parents, particularly relevant during the Covid-19 crisis. They include a list of contact details for organisations who offer specialist support.
Covid-19 Update to School community at 16th March 2020
You will be aware that, as a school, we have been careful to follow the guidance from Public Health England (PHE), the Department for Education and other national agencies with regard to steps that we should take in response to the current Coronavirus outbreak. To date this advice has focussed predominantly on basic hygiene and public awareness measures.
The latest government guidance as at 16th March 2020 is that anyone displaying symptoms consistent with Coronavirus (COVID-19) should self-isolate for seven days. Specifically, the guidance is to stay at home for seven days if you have either:
- a high temperature or
- a new, continuous cough
Following announcements from the Government last week the existing advice remains that there is no need for schools to close, and that staff or students returning from prescribed overseas countries and those who have been in contact with confirmed cases, should self-isolate.
We continue to have no confirmed cases of Coronavirus within Ewell Castle School and Public Health England continue to advise that in most cases, even if there is a confirmed case within the school community, closure of the school is unnecessary.
Members of Ewell Castle School community with compromised immune systems or underlying medical conditions
We do however recognise that there are members of families within our community who are immunosuppressed or considered high risk, should they contract the virus. If this applies to your child or a family member, and you feel that it would be prudent to keep your child at home at any stage during the virus outbreak, please let Mr Leigh know in the Senior School and Ms Noble in the Prep School and it will be recorded as ‘other authorised circumstances’. Pupils in this situation are being contacted directly.
Students in Years 11 and 13 are seeking understandable reassurances regarding the forthcoming examination season. There is natural anxiety from students, staff, parents and carers as to the impact the outbreak may have on the examination season, but our approach, until advised otherwise, is that examinations will run as planned. The advice from both the Department for Education as well as JCQ, the examinations regulator, is that schools should continue to prepare for public examinations as normal. It would not be appropriate to speculate at this stage what alternative arrangements might be put in place. We are also not in a position to make unilateral decisions, and so continue to follow whatever guidance is provided, whilst making representations to the relevant bodies.
We are aware that scenario-planning is taking place behind the scenes by the awarding bodies and Department for Education to assess how to keep as much normality as possible during the examination period if school closures are required by public health bodies. In this planning, the need to ensure consistency and fairness for this year’s students will be at the forefront of any thinking. We expect more public announcements on these plans shortly and will, of course, update students and parents/carers when further information is available.
In the meantime, we are looking to reassure our students that their energies are best directed in preparing fully for these examinations by consolidating their knowledge and skills, through regular revision.
Nonetheless, given the latest advice, there is an increased risk of staff absence and ultimately this will mean that there will be insufficient numbers to provide safe and appropriate levels of supervision. In such cases, the school will aim to prioritise continuity of lessons for year groups preparing for public examinations. In that regard, please note the latest notice from Ofqual which states - All exam boards have set 24 June 2020 as a contingency day, in the event that a change to timetable is needed. Students sitting GCSE or A Level exams should be available from the date of their first exam up to 24 June. If there is any change or extension to this date, we will notify relevant students and parents immediately.
In the context of such a constantly evolving situation, we are in the process of planning of contingencies for either the partial or full closure of the school as follows:
We have advised all students to ensure that they have ready access to relevant books, folders and textbooks at home, so that, in the event of a school closure, they can continue with their studies as far as is practically possible.
· In the event of partial or full closure, teachers will set work for each class in so far as is possible. In some instances, students will be expected to submit completed work.
If your child will be unable to access these online tools, we ask that families make the school aware by contacting Mrs H Blake, Deputy Head Academic via email firstname.lastname@example.org in order that we can look to provide alternative appropriate support.
Prep Breakfast and After School Clubs
These will continue as normal until further notice.
Senior School Co-curricular Clubs and activities
These will continue as normal until further notice.
Trips, Visits, School Events and Meetings
The Prep School have already communicated with parents/guardians regarding forthcoming Prep School trips and visits. We will continue to make decisions on a case by case basis and will inform you as soon as decisions have been taken. The Senior School Parent Year Group Ambassador meeting tomorrow evening and Principal’s Breakfast this Wednesday are postponed until further notice. Regarding sporting activities, training sessions will continue as usual but the vast majority of Senior School fixtures are to be cancelled until further notice. Further information will be shared by the Sports/PE Dept with the relevant pupils as soon as possible.
Silas Edmonds - Principal