Corona virus Information Update
The picture concerning COVID-19 is changing very rapidly. Government advice is updated daily and there is a great deal of media speculation and social media conversations which do not help in providing clarity. There has been much discussion about the possibility of school closures, despite the fact that if schools are forced to close, then challenges will be presented to the country as well as to individuals and families. As long as the government advice is that schools remain open to serve our young people and their families, we will do everything we can to comply. However, it is clear that closure is a possibility, either because of a change of official advice or because we are unable to safely staff the school/ As a result, we have been reviewing our plans in the event of closure.
Even if we are forced to close, we have been planning, as far as we are able, for the ongoing education of students. Our primary sources of advice are from the Department of Education and Public Health England. We will continue to update our website with the most recent advice.
Recent government advice
The most recent government advice is that anyone who lives with someone who has a cough or a temperature should stay at home for 14 days. This advice may have an impact on your decision to send your child to school. We would recommend that you err on the side of caution and if your child has symptoms, no matter how minor, you should keep them off school. If your child is off school would you kindly contact immediately. Likewise, if they display symptoms in school, we will contact you and ask you to collect them and keep them at home for 14 days, We have also shared this information with staff and any visitors to the site.
We are doing everything we can to keep school as safe as possible, including through additional cleaning and protective measures, and by working with students to make sure they follow sensible hygiene advice. We are also supporting their mental health by remaining calm and positive, and trying to make their school day as normal and reassuring as possible.
Reporting Student Absence
With immediate effect and until further notice, please report student absences via firstname.lastname@example.org as opposed to by telephone. In the subject header, please list the student’s name, form group followed by ‘Reporting Absence’. Please then give a brief description of the reason for absence in the main body of the email.
The government are under increasing pressure from the media to close schools in line with the governments of other European countries. There are two potential scenarios. Firstly, it may become impractical and unsafe to run a full school timetable should levels of staff absence become too great to manage. We recognise the impact of school closure so will not take any decision lightly. We will be providing some distance learning materials to support the learning of students who are at home.
The second scenario will be if and when we follow government directive to close schools. We understand the impact this will have on our most vulnerable students and on families where parents are needing to work, particularly those responding in a health care or emergency setting. We will aim to provide a mixture of activities they can do unsupervised such as reading, access to some online learning and some directed work from teachers.
School Trips and Enrichment activities including after school clubs
Advice from government is that school trips and additional activities should be curtailed. All trips are cancelled until further notice. We are currently trying to arrange the refund of deposits. We have ended all additional activities, including meetings, visits, sporting fixtures and clubs. Given the issues we may have with staffing and the importance of planning for possible closure, we believe that this is the wisest course of action. After school clubs including homework club will be suspended from Thursday 19 March 2020. Students will leave school at 15:15 from this day.
This is a time of uncertainty and challenge. Our first priority is the health and welfare of our children, their families and our staff. One of the difficulties in planning is that we do not know if and when the next steps will happen and we do not know if, or for how long we will be closed. What I can assure you of though is that staff at Derby Cathedral School will roll their sleeves up and do all they can to support you and your family.
Dr P Heery