Letter to Parents/Guardians September 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I write to you from self-isolation; my family’s second time to have to do so in four weeks. Both occasions have related to my son’s cold like symptoms which he has picked up at crèche. It is very frustrating to have to go through the testing process again in such a short space of time but these are the measures that it seems we will all have to follow, if we are to keep Covid-19 case numbers under control.

It is a very challenging environment in school for both teachers and students. Wearing masks is not pleasant. I must commend the students on how well they have commenced the year, aligning with the new procedures which we put in place to help reduce risk. It is a major improvement to their daily experience that we have been able to provide outside time to all students during break this week. We intend to continue facilitating this, weather permitting. We have also managed to start our learning support programme this week which is of great benefit to those receiving it.

I would also like to thank you for keeping us informed as a school community. I understand personally how difficult it is to balance child care and working from home at the same time. It is really important that we all continue to adhere to the principle of “if in doubt, keep them out”. I am aware of small clusters developing in other schools. We are not immune, so everyone must stay vigilant. Students isolating will be communicated with in relation to the work happening in their classes. Students absent due to illness will still be responsible for catching up with school work on their return, as is the normal procedure.

I would appreciate if all parents/guardians could reinforce the importance of maintaining social distancing, particularly on the journey home. The girls are delighted to be able to get the masks off, but everything is for nought if we lose the consistency of the two metre rule. The distancing rules will become increasingly more challenging as fatigue with the measures sets in so it is important that we keep the message consistent.

At the beginning of the year it has become noticeable that a number of students are wearing smart watches. The use of a smart watch is not in line with our AUP policy. It completely undermines the rational for our Mobile Phone policy. Students must have their phone turned off and secured in a pocket of their bag so that they can exclusively focus on their learning. I ask all parents to ensure that smart watches are not worn by students when going to school.

Finally, in relation to our school calendar. I normally avoid making any changes to our calendar as I know how important it is for parents to have certainty about dates and times well in advance. This is an exceptional circumstance. We originally planned to take Tuesday 4th May to extend the May Bank Holiday. We now feel that all of the community would benefit from having a long weekend in the first term. For that reason we are changing the May date to Monday 5th October. This does not affect our statutory 167 days of term time. I apologise if this causes an inconvenience, but I strongly believe it is in the interests of the welfare of the school community under the current circumstances.

I wish you and your family continued good health and wellbeing

Kind regards