CoronaVirus & “College Coping” Update
Tuesday, 8th September
- A Pretty Good Start
I don’t want to tempt fate after just two days, but the term has got off to a pretty good start. Not perfect, but good. The vast majority of students have returned with a very positive attitude, and it’s an absolute pleasure to see them. They are adapting well to the new systems. Year 7, who did not have the benefit of any transition activities, have been fantastic. Of course there are individual students who have found it difficult, but fewer than we anticipated, and my colleagues are doing a great job in supporting them.
There were big problems on Monday when only one of the usual three buses turned up. The bus driver deserves praise for saving the situation, but students had a miserable cramped journey in which there was no social distancing possible whatsoever. Clearly, this was totally unacceptable and we contacted Stagecoach. The situation was much better this evening, with three buses, but they arrived 20 minutes later than expected. We are now pushing Stagecoach to return to the timings of the last five years, as this makes separating year groups, student management and your routines at home much more straightforward.
It is proving incredibly helpful if students are well equipped; this reduces risks of contact, having to borrow equipment, wipe it down between use, and speeds up the lesson. We don’t want anyone to be anxious about this: the standard list is a pen and spares (black is best, but blue is fine); a red pen; a ruler; an ordinary pencil or two; and an eraser. We recommend the Casio FX83 GT Plus calculator. After these essentials, anything is good and will help – a gluestick and rounded safety scissors would be very, very, very useful, almost deserve to be in the standard list; a green pen; coloured pencils; highlighters; pencil sharpener; protractor; other colours.
- Face Masks & Coverings
No change, these are still recommended but not compulsory. However, if your child has one or needs one for public transport, it’s a great idea for them to carry a spare. We have had a couple of breakages of ear straps, and some losses. If you wish your child to wear a mask in lessons as well as at other times, or alternatively there is a reason that they should not wear a covering at all, please let us know. We are not judging anyone, it’s just so that my colleagues don’t challenge students and possibly cause them some embarrassment.
- Revised Guidance for Schools
This was published yesterday. Schools were not informed, and unfortunately the DfE do not track changes on the document. This is guidance for schools rather than parents, but I’ve always said I would keep communication as open as possible.