Long blog below…sorry!
Just like everyone else, we await latest guidance regarding the virus. Please bear with us – we are not medically trained and cannot make decisions for you and your child but just like when you have to make a decision about whether to send your child to school when there is snow and ice, we will abide by your decision and mark any absence accordingly. Nothing is more important than your family’s health and well being.
Latest advice from Highland Council:
There are currently 2 confirmed cases in Highland at the time of writing (16 March), however, this is a rapidly changing situation and the Council is no longer working in a “Business as Usual” state. The health, wellbeing and safety of our employees, those in our care, Highland communities and our partners is our utmost priority and we will continue to follow guidance and advice from the Scottish and UK Governments, the NHS and the World Health Organisation.
We are working closely with our Resilience Partners, which includes NHS Highland who the lead agency for a health incident.
The senior management team are meeting daily to plan, to consider all the implications and to respond to national recommendations and directives. Some of these are covered further in this briefing.
Each Service in the new structure is also developing updated Business Continuity Plans as a priority, to ensure our essential and statutory services are covered. There will be a reduction in some services to the public.
The UK and Scottish Governments have made announcements yesterday and made the following key decisions:
- No closure of all schools at this time – local decisions to be made based on circumstances
- International school trips and inward school visits are to be cancelled
- No public events/gatherings of over 500 due to potential impact on emergency services
As there is no policy to close all schools across Scotland, the Council will be making decisions on a case by case basis, in line with national guidance and local circumstances.
The Government has issued advice against all overseas education trips for children under 18. This is because trip leaders would face significant challenges in making arrangements to ensure children’s welfare, should adult supervisors or children be required to self-isolate. Consequently specific guidance has been issued to schools on Friday.
On the basis of scientific advice, the Government is currently not recommending widespread school closures for public health reasons – however, this position will be kept under close, regular review. The SQA at this time has advised there are no changes to the exam timetable. Planning is being undertaken to ensure that exams can take place as scheduled.
Anyone can register with the Community Reserve Volunteer Service, which enables volunteering. redcross.org.uk/reserves
We cannot provide individualised homework for every child while continuing to plan and prepare for children still at school however see below for suggestions for what you can get your child to do if you are self isolating. We thoroughly recommend keeping you child in the usual school routine of bedtime, getting up and doing learning activities, taking breaks, etc and to be reading every single day.
Spelling grid – Dojo your child’s teacher to get the list of spelling words for the week.
Learning Activities – we cannot provide work for every child at home while providing learning opportunities in school but we have a few suggestions to apply your child’s knowledge and learning so far. Many can be done without supervision but it would be good to keep evidence of your child’s learning which can be handed in to school when you feel appropriate.
Ideas from Parentzone for how to talk with your child about the virus.
Our school trip to Glencoe is still on, at the minute, as Glencoe is officially still in Highland but we remain vigilant and will keep everyone updated. The MacRobert Cross Country event this week has been cancelled. The Easter Experience trips for nursery and P1 have been postponed this week. All training across Highland for staff has been postponed until further notice. We try to remain calm and vigilant as you are, too.
Aileen Mackay, HT