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Updated guidance for education settings on coronavirus (COVID-19)


Dear Parent/Carer
RE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) - MAT Update
I would like to begin by thanking you all for your continuous support during this very challenging period. The impact of Coronavirus is continuing to have far reaching effects upon our community and due to the guidance we are receiving on a daily basis, we feel that it is important to keep you updated on how we are responding. The current situation as of 18th March 2020 across all phases of the Multi-Academy Trust, is that we have no known suspected or reported positive cases of COVID19.
We continue to review daily guidance from the Department of Education and Public Health England and our priority remains to ultimately ensure the safety of our students/pupils and school community during these unprecedented times. As a Multi-Academy Trust, we continue to follow all government advice and are building robust contingency plans with students/pupils at the forefront of all decisions made. With this in mind, we would like to inform you of the following information;

GNSA Primary Phase: Will remain fully open

Nanaksar Primary School: Will remain fully open

GNSA Secondary Phase: Years 10, 11, 12 & 13 will remain open

As of tomorrow, Thursday 19th March 2020, school will be closed to Years 7, 8 and 9 until further notice.
These students/pupils will have work set at home for them on a daily basis, through Google Classroom and other virtual learning platforms. We have had to take this difficult decision as a result of staff shortages. This has proved necessary despite our desire to remain fully open. This decision has not been taken lightly and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Where your child is eligible for Free School Meals, the school will make every effort to deliver meals required directly to you. Please contact the school office if this applies to your child.
Throughout the Multi Academy Trust all phases, including Years 7, 8, & 9, will remain open to the children of all front-line key worker, NHS, or other priority emergency services. Please can the parent/carer of any student/pupil in this position contact the school office, if they will still be attending school.
The school will also remain open for the children of our staff during this period, so that we can continue to remain as operational as possible.
For any Year 1 through to Year 13 students/pupils at GNSA or NPS who are self-isolating, home learning will be provided to your child through Google Classroom and virtual learning platforms.

For the continued benefit for all of our school community, we are updating our website with Public Health and Government advice and information. In addition, we urge parents/carers to watch a special Coronavirus update airing on our exclusive GNSA Talks program on the Sikh Channel at 9:00pm this evening.
We request that you continue to follow the Public Health England guidance when sending your child to school and follow the advice of NHS 111. In line with this guidance, if your child has any underlying health issues and you feel that taking responsibility for them remaining at home and self-isolating is the most appropriate action, then the school will support your decision. Please notify us of this as soon as possible and continue to report all absences to the school office.
Moving forward, I can assure you that we are monitoring events daily and have plans in place for the education of your children in the event of any further school closures. We are doing our very best to keep the remainder of the school open and will keep you updated - in line with guidance received from the relevant authorities. In the event of a government order for full school closure, each phase will share further information with you on how home learning can be accessed. In all instances, we remain committed to the safeguarding of all our students/pupils and continue to offer this support online alongside our virtual learning platforms.

Thank you for your continuous support during this difficult and unprecedented time. We are extremely grateful to you all for your understanding and for working in partnership with us during this period of uncertainty.

Today, the Department for Education and Public Health England have issued updated guidance for education settings on COVID-19. This guidance will assist staff in addressing COVID-19 in educational settings. This includes childcare, schools, further and higher educational institutions.

What you need to know:

  • staff, young people and children should stay at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise they should attend education or work as normal
  • if staff, young people or children become unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature they should be sent home
  • clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using your standard cleaning products
  • supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water or hand sanitiser and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues

The updated guidance can be found here:

Current advice remains in place: no education or children’s social care setting should close in response to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.

The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the impact of closing schools on both children’s education and on the workforce would be substantial, but the benefit to public health may not be. Decisions on future advice to education or children’s social care settings will be taken based on the latest and best scientific evidence, which at this stage suggests children are a lower risk group.

Recording school pupil absences

Where a pupil is in self-isolation, in accordance with latest information and advice from Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, the pupil should be recorded as unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances in the attendance register. Code Y (Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances) should be used in this instance.

If a pupil does not attend school, despite the school operating as usual and the pupil is not self-isolating, they should be marked as absent. It is for headteachers to determine whether or not the absence is authorised depending on the individual circumstances.

Where a pupil cannot attend school due to illness, as normally would happen, the pupil should be recorded as absent in the attendance register and the school will authorise the absence. Code I (Illness) should be used in this instance.

Handwashing advice

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.

Watch this short NHS film for guidance: