Following a confirmed Coronavirus case on 15th September, a further case has been confirmed this evening on 16th September. These cases are considered to be unrelated by the Public Health team, with whom we have been in close liaison.
This is of concern to our whole community and unfortunately mirrors the local and national picture in this second week of school reopening. While those in education are making every effort to keep members of the community safe, cases will occur and schools will do their best to contend with them following advice from health professionals.
We understand your worries and are doing our very best and meeting the requirements as outlined in the guidance for schools. However, as has been explained in our guidance and that of the government, we cannot maintain 2m distancing for everyone at all times, neither are we expected to. Instead we are required to separate populations in school as much as we can. In many secondary schools this is expected to be year groups.
Difficult though it is for families, when cases occur we are duty-bound to send home some students for a period of 14 days. This is defined by the government and is an attempt to slow the infection rate of the disease and prevent another national lock-down. The students identified to go home are carefully considered - we have to be certain that any student remaining in school has not had "close contact" with the confirmed case. Students in the same class as a "confirmed case" will often be considered a close contact, especially with full classes now back in school.
Providing work for those at home is a key priority but it cannot always be live online learning. In some cases a proportion of any teaching group remains in school. Some families do not have the facility to access online learning and it is not always the most effective method for delivery. Teachers in school are attempting to deliver to class, deliver to home and are working under pressure in different rooms every lesson and without easy access to specialist materials. We will do our very best but ask for parents to show an appreciation of the challenges faced. We understand how difficult it has been for students to be away for so long and we are upset that we are having to send some home again. We recognise that sending students home can have a detrimental effect on their education and are working hard to mitigate this as much as we can.
On any occasion where students need to be sent home every family to whom this applies will be contacted. The assumption should be that if not contacted, your child can and should attend school, following the guidance and rules already in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
These are really difficult times for us all and we will continue to follow advice, review our provision within the bounds of national restrictions and try to help.
The Minster School