CV&CC Update 3rd November 2020: More Questions than Answers
Tuesday 3rd November
Student attendance last week is 93%, which is really very good. Nationally it was last reported as 85%. We remain fortunate that staff absence remains very low, currently entirely unrelated to covid, and therefore single-day or short absences. There have been no positive cases (yet) among students or staff, although there have been a handful of positive tests among parents or household members resulting in students self-isolating for 14 days. Since half-term there have been seven students absent, one with a negative test and six because of household members. With these low case numbers, we are therefore able to continue to provide a broad and largely normal taught curriculum.
Local covid infection rates would still place us firmly in the national “Medium” or lowest tier (and Tier zero for schools). According to the NEU covid map East Devon has risen to 80 cases per 100,000; Broadclyst, Cranbrook, Stoke Canon and area has fallen to 144/100,000 which is around 15 actual cases; Pinhoe is also down to 125, and Exeter to 137. The BBC, with slightly different dates, has 99 cases for East Devon and a lower figure of 116 for Exeter.
National Lockdown but No Government Guidance Yet
Apart from the commitment in the Prime Minister’s announcement to keep schools open during the national lockdown starting on Thursday, there is no detailed guidance for schools as yet. This is hugely disappointing and frustrating, as I am regularly answering questions from students, parents and colleagues with “I don’t know”.
In fact, we don’t know much. We know that the GCSE Autumn Exams will not be affected. We can make a few guesses from the major principles of the announcement about reducing unnecessary travel and minimising contact, but that’s about it. Here are some of the things we don’t know at the moment:
- Will any new guidance for schools overrule national guidance, or will it be the other way round ?
- Will we (and all schools) be in Tier 1 of the schools’ guidance from Thursday, meaning face coverings are mandatory for students and staff, except in lessons ? (There are 4 Tiers for schools, 1 being the least serious. Not to be confused with the overall three Tier system)
- Will schools and colleges be moved into Tier 2, which would mean the introduction of two-week on, two-week off rotas in secondary schools? (probably not Clyst Vale as local covid rates are comparatively low)
- Will the general guidance on Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people also apply in education settings to students and staff ?
- What will be the situation for people who live with those who are CEV?
- What are the implications for any planned trips and visits ? (fieldwork, Duke of Edinburgh, Ten Tors training)
- Can after-school clubs and activities continue ? (Our location means extra parent pick-up journeys)
- Who will be permitted to visit schools ? (We assume health and SEND specialists, but what about people leading activities, or even exam invigilators ?)
- Will all meetings need to be virtual/remote or by phone ?
- Will there be tighter rules on gatherings in schools ? (assemblies now dicontinued; what about mock exams ?)
- What about people aged 60+ who are to “minimise contacts” ? (13 colleagues are 60 or over)
- Will fines for absent students continue ?
When we receive guidance and things become more clear, I will of course do my best to keep you updated !
Please be Polite to Clyst Vale Staff
We have had a very small number of phone calls in which parents have been frustrated by the covid regulations, especially testing and isolation periods; inevitably, these affect their work and life, and their response has been angry and abusive to my colleagues. There is no excuse for this: my colleagues did not make up the regulations and government guidance !
NHS Covid-19 App
- The new NHS COVID-19 app is available to download.It’s free and will help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) by supporting the NHS Test and Trace service.
The Basics (from the NHS web page)
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.
What to do if you have symptoms
If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:
- Get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
- Stay at home and do not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.
Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get your result.