Dear Parents and Carers,
Following yesterday’s change of advice by the government for people showing symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19) I thought it would be timely to remind all parents of the protocol for reporting absence if your child is unable to attend college for any reason. In the event of an absence it is the parent’s/carer’s responsibility to notify the college with the reason for absence as soon as possible (but no later than 9.30am) by phoning the college on 01237 477611 and using option 1. There is the option to leave this information in a message, if the lines are busy or if you ring outside of college hours. It is important that the college are contacted every day a student is absent.
With specific reference to COVID -19 the guidance from the government is that if your child has symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, they need to stay at home and not leave your house for 7 days from when their symptoms started. Under these circumstances there will be no need to contact us daily after the first day call. Your child will be recorded as ill for seven consecutive days (including the weekends). Please contact us on the eighth day if they are still unable to return to college.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:
· a new continuous cough and/or
· a high temperature of 37.8°C (100°F) or more
It is essential for the wellbeing of our whole community that this advice is followed. Please read carefully and follow the stay at home guidance below.
Please be mindful that college staff cannot give medical guidance or advice, we can only point you towards the latest information from trusted sources. The NHS 111 online coronavirus section can be found at https://111.nhs.uk/service/COVID-19/
I am aware that this is a particularly worrying time for our students who are sitting public exams this summer. The latest response from OFQUAL (the regulatory body for examinations and qualifications) is to continue to prepare for exam and assessments as normal (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/updated-statement-on-coronavirus). Please be reassured that the college does have an Exams Contingency Plan in place which is prepared annually to deal with exceptional circumstances. It is also worth reminding all students sitting external exams that the national exam contingency date is Wednesday 24th June 2020. This means that any exams could be rescheduled up to and including this date. We also have contingency plans in place to support teaching and learning if the school was to be disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.
Lastly, the most important action we can undertake at this time is to encourage frequent hand washing. In particular:
· before leaving home
· on arrival at school
· after using the toilet
· after breaks and sporting activities
· before food preparation
· before eating any food, including snacks
· before leaving school
Please be reassured that Bideford College will continue to follow all the latest guidance and I will update you when any changes occur.
Dr Claire Ankers