Recent communication from the Principal
Half Term Update – October 2020
Thank you for your patience over what has been a challenging term for everybody. In terms of Covid-19, we had no cases for around the first 5 weeks of the school year, but then more recently, community transmissions have come into school and there has been some evidence of within school transmissions between our older students. At the point of writing to you, we have had 16 positive cases of Covid-19. Our tracing system has then identified on average 20 ‘close contacts’ per case. This was done through checking seating plans and the 2 metre radius of each case, as well as friendship groups i.e. those students likely to have been within 1 metre for more than a minute. Most of the cases are in Year 11 as things stand. Whilst confirmed cases amount to only around 1% of the school body, it has meant that around 280 students have had to self-isolate.
I have been in discussions with three other local secondary schools and our numbers, worrying as they are, compare favourably with those schools. So whilst there is nothing positive about the virus or the disruption it is causing, we are not out of kilter with the experience of other secondary schools.
Parents have been extremely understanding despite the obvious frustrations of lost school time and also the worry about the virus itself.
Please rest assured that we are operating completely within Public Health England Guidance and Local Authority Infection Control advice.
We expect that the next half term will be even more disruptive and challenging. To help with the anticipated increase in self-isolation when it comes, we are currently working on a new development to our Remote Learning plans. We will be piloting Microsoft Teams Live Learning (MTLL) with one year group initially. Look out for further details on this. All students will receive training on how to access MTLL and parents will be provided with important information. If the pilot is successful, we will extend the MTLL experience to more students.
For this first half term, the school re-opening philosophy has been ‘business as usual with adaptations’. For next half term, given the expected trajectory of the virus, the approach will be one of ‘protecting core education for all’. This will lead to some operational changes to school business in order to ensure that we can deliver higher quality live learning for those forced to self-isolate.
The half term break should give us at least some reprieve and we expect a full complement of students back straight after the break.
Please remember that if your child has any symptoms, you must not send him/her into school. Please also remember that if you have concerns you should message me directly. I would ask all parents to avoid using social media to comment on perceived issues at school. It is always better and more helpful to raise your concerns directly with me.
Finally, a note of caution to parents of children who have had to self-isolate once already. It may well be that your child returns only to become another ‘close contact’ of another positive case after half term. It is a real possibility that children will experience continued disruption and I can only apologise in advance. However, it really is essential that we follow the letter of the medical advice from the Local Authority and central Government. This is our best chance of stopping within school transmissions of Covid-19.
I wish you all a good half term break.
Principal, Salendine Nook High School.