12th March 2020
I am writing to update you on the covid19 outbreak. The advice and information I am seeing indicates that we are some 13.5 days behind Italy and so Italy can be used as a rough guideline as to what to expect in the UK. This indicates an increase in cases over the next 2-3 weeks and so it is really important that as individuals we do the right things to keep ourselves and our loved ones as safe as possible and to do our part in trying to limit the spread. We are planning to reach the Easter holidays safely and to open afterwards with the peak having passed but, of course, nothing is certain at the moment.
We have reminded the girls regularly about the importance of washing their hands properly, preferably with soap and water. We have followed WHO advice and advised the girls on social distancing (www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public) and, in general, from next week – Monday 16th March – we are planning to carry on with internal school events that involve our community and are unlikely to carry on with external school events. Very sadly, this means that we will be unlikely to allow the school trips to France and to Spain to proceed although I am waiting to formally cancel in the hopes that the companies running the trips take the decision themselves, in which case we are in a position to reclaim expenses. I know parents have made every effort to afford these trips and would like to make every effort to allow reimbursement.
As of 10 March, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising:
- against all but essential travel to Italy
- against all travel to Hubei Province, in China
- against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China
- against all travel to the cities of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan in South Korea
Any child going to any of these countries during the holidays and Summer half term will be required to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to school and we will need to see evidence of the date of return to the UK please such as a ticket or passport entry stamp.
Ofqual, the body in charge of public examinations which will start some 2 weeks after the beginning of next term have issued the following statement:
We recognise that students, parents, schools and colleges will be concerned about the possible impact of coronavirus on the 2020 summer exam series. Ofqual’s advice at this time is to continue to prepare for exams and other assessments as normal.
Ofqual continues to work closely with exam boards, other regulators and the Department for Education to plan for a range of scenarios, as the public would expect. Our overriding priorities are fairness to students this summer and keeping disruption to a minimum.
It is still many weeks until exams start and we will issue updated advice if necessary, giving schools and colleges as much notice as possible.
The latest updates from Ofqual can be found at www.gov.uk/government/news/updated-statement-on-coronavirus
We are preparing a centre plan for Wychwood which should be available to parents by the end of term.