Coronavirus (COVID-19) information
24th March, 2020
16th March 2020
I am writing to update you about the school’s current position regarding Coronavirus.
We take the health and safety and wellbeing of our pupils and staff very seriously, and, as such, we want to reassure you that we are following the guidance from Public Health England and the Department for Education (DfE).
The risk is currently low in County Durham, however to minimise the spread of any infection in school, from Monday 16th March 2020:
Pupils will continue to wash their hands regularly supervised by staff,
School visits booked over the next few weeks have been cancelled as a preventative measure.
The school cleaning team are ensuring the highest standards of cleanliness with extra precautions being taken e.g. door handles being sterilised throughout the day.
If circumstances arise where the school must close, we will inform you in our usual way through letter, text message and via our Facebook page.
We are currently making plans for supporting your child’s education, should a closure become necessary and will keep you informed of this.
Durham County Council have asked that the following information be shared with our school community:
Prevent the spread of infection
Make sure you and your children follow these general principles to prevent spreading any respiratory virus:
- Wash your hands often – with soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds, or an alcohol-based sanitiser if soap and water aren’t available
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- If you feel unwell, stay at home and don’t attend work or school
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then place the tissue in a bin and then wash your hands
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home
- If you’re worried about your symptoms, please call NHS 111 – do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment
The most recent UK government advice (12.03.2020) is that anyone with a new continuous cough and a high temperature should self-isolate for seven days.
If you or your children have returned from abroad in the last 14 days, please follow the link below for advice about category 1 and 2 countries.
Symptoms to look out for
If you’ve returned from any of the category 1 or 2 areas or countries, look out for the following symptoms:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Fever (a temperature of 38 degrees C or higher)
- Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with other flu viruses. Please see the link below for information about self-isolation.
- Call NHS 111 immediately for an assessment (or 999 if you require emergency medical attention)
As I mentioned, we are following the guidance from Public Health England and the DfE, but this is being updated regularly in response to the changing situation. We will monitor and follow the national guidance as it is updated and would urge you to do the same.
We have a number of families who have chosen to either self-isolate or keep their children off school. We also have a member of staff who is self-isolating following doctors’ advice. School has carried out a comprehensive risk assessment to ensure the safety of all.
We are in unprecedented times and at present all schools remain open. We are however making plans to support pupils in the eventuality of school closures. We continue to take every preventative measure in order to keep pupils and staff safe.
The advice from Swim UK is that swimming lessons are to continue as normal.
Although we have our own supplies, should parents wish to send in small bottles of hand sanitiser and a moisturizing lotion for their child, please name them. We are happy to facilitate this.
If you have any further concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school office in the usual manner.
Thank you for your support
Mrs. R.M. Veitch
The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.
Department for Education coronavirus helpline
The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)
Please note, we are currently experiencing high volumes of calls. We appreciate your patience at this time and apologise for any wait that you may experience. To ensure that we answer your calls as quickly as possible we have now extended our opening hours to cover weekends.
Where to find the latest information
Updates on COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Guidance for educational settings: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19
Guidance for social or community care and residential settings: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-social-or-community-care-and-residential-settings-on-covid-19
Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
Latest Department for Education information: