Coronavirus: An update
Please see below a letter about Coronavirus from Mr House.
4th March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
With the increasing concerns about the COVID-19 strain of the Coronavirus, and confusion created by conflicting information, I felt that it would be a good time to write to you and share some information about the virus and what steps the school is taking.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses common across the world in animals and humans; certain types cause illnesses in people. For example, some coronaviruses cause the common cold; others cause diseases which are much more severe such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), both of which often lead to pneumonia. The COVID-19 strain of the virus has not previously been seen in humans and has been classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a new disease.
How serious is it?
Based on current evidence, the main symptoms of COVID-19 are a cough, a high temperature and, in severe cases, shortness of breath. Among those who become infected, some will exhibit no symptoms. Early data suggests that of those who develop an illness, the great majority will have a mild-to-moderate, but self-limiting illness – similar to seasonal flu.
So far the available data suggests that the risk of severe disease and death is higher amongst elderly people and people with underlying health conditions (in the same way as for seasonal flu). Illness is less common and usually less severe in younger adults. Children can be infected and can have a severe illness, but based on current data overall illness seems rarer in people under 20 years of age.
The infection is not serious for most people, including children, and most people will get better with enough rest, water to drink and pain medication.
Current advice to help prevent the spread of this disease is:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use a sanitiser gel
- Catch coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues
- Throw away used tissues (then wash hands)
- If you don’t have a tissue use your sleeve
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- What steps is the school taking?
We will be educating the students about COVID-19 through a combination of science and cultural lessons, this will help to dispel misconceptions about the disease and help them to understand positive steps which they can take to minimise the risk to themselves and others.
Tutors will be discussing COVID-19 with the tutees and facilitating positive discussions. We will also have tutors giving information to the students as we have it, which will allow us to communicate any changes to the pupils en masse on a daily basis.
The attached poster will be displayed prominently around the school, to reinforce these messages with students.
We have ordered automatic soap dispensers for the toilets, which will be installed shortly, so that students do not need to touch any part of the mechanism to release the soap. This will also prevent the issue which we have experienced recently with the springs in the soap dispenser buttons failing if they are pressed too hard, preventing them from dispensing.
As a precautionary measure we will also be suspending the hand shaking part of the greeting when students enter the building, until this period of concern has passed.
Please be assured that the school is taking the situation extremely seriously. I have assigned a member of the senior leadership team to monitor the situation and review government communications, so that we can respond to any changes promptly, but in a measured way.
Nick House, Headteacher
You can see the poster below which is a reminder to staff and students and is being displayed around school.