I hope that you and your family are well.
I am writing to keep you informed of our plans for dealing with potential situations that may arise if/when a member of the school community tests positive for coronavirus. ln the event that a pupil tests positive for coronavirus, after having been in school, and may potentially have exposed other pupils to the virus, our plans will be taken directly from the government guidance for schools which may be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools
In the event of RVHS being notified of a pupil receiving a positive test result, after having been in school during the relevant period, we would contact the Department for Education for advice and a dedicated telephone number would allow us to discuss the situation with a public health expert. It is likely that we would reluctantly need to ask a year group (a ‘bubble’) to self-isolate at home for 14 days and we would email the affected parents as soon as possible. We would also email all other parents to advise them of the situation but without identifying any individuals who have tested positive. In some circumstances we may be able to ask a smaller number of pupils to self-isolate by using lesson seating plans and lists of those participating in co-curricular activities to more precisely identify those pupils who may have been in close contact with any pupil who has received a positive test result. The final decision on how many pupils should self-isolate would be made through collaboration with the public health expert. The experience of other schools suggests that the discussion with the public health expert may take several hours to conclude and this can allow time for details, true or otherwise, to circulate on social media. I would be grateful if you would avoid contacting the school in these circumstances and wait for the email clarifying the situation which will be sent as soon as possible.
If pupils are self-isolating in these circumstances then there is no requirement for other family members to self-isolate so parents may be able to continue to attend their workplaces and siblings can continue to attend school. If a self-isolating pupil develops possible symptoms of coronavirus: high temperature, a new and continuous cough or a loss or change to the senses of smell or taste, I would be grateful if you could arrange for a test. If the test result is positive please can you notify school in order that we can ensure appropriate action is taken to keep our school community safe, again in consultation with the public health experts.
The School will provide remote teaching and learning for self-isolating pupils in this situation. The pupils should log into Google Classrooms using their school email account as demonstrated in school and during the summer. Lessons will be set in line with their usual timetable. The remote lessons will feature a mix of live teaching, pre-recorded materials, links to various internet resources and digital materials supplied by the teachers. Pupils may contact staff to ask questions through the messaging facility. We recognise that not all pupils will have suitable IT access facilities at home therefore devices will be available where possible, alternatively work packs will be supplied. All of the digital materials for the lesson will be placed on Google Classrooms, together with instructions for the sequence of lesson activities, again allowing all the pupils to participate. Homework tasks will also be placed on Google Classrooms in the usual way and classwork and homework may be submitted remotely. In some subjects the teachers may decide that it is beneficial to use other IT platforms or resources to support the pupils’ learning and those teachers will provide full instructions to the relevant pupils. If a pupil is ill during their self-isolation then I would be grateful if you would notify the school as we would not expect the pupil to participate in the learning activities. Year teams will also use Google Classrooms with their year group each morning to offer pastoral support to the pupils and they may also message pupils directly. Form Time will feature some whole form discussions but also smaller group or one-to-one discussions as this is often a more productive way to support individuals. Hopefully we will not need to, but should there be a need to self-isolate I will write again, at the time, to all the pupils who are self-isolating, with full details of the procedures for remote learning as well as giving guidance for the safe use of video conferencing. The School’s IT technical support team will be available to help pupils who are experiencing any technical difficulties during the self-isolation period.
I do hope that these plans will not be necessary and that all of our pupils can continue to attend school in the normal way. We continue to encourage and support pupils to maintain the precautions needed to guard against the possible spread of coronavirus: regular handwashing, wearing masks in communal areas, separating different year groups during the day, observing the one-way systems around the school site, separating pupils within the classrooms and sanitising hands and equipment regularly.
Thank you for your support of the School at this challenging time.
Linda Hanson, Headteacher