Head teacher writes to reassure parents after Covid-19 case at school
Spen Valley High School is working closely with Public Health England (PHE) and Kirklees Council following a confirmed positive case of Covid-19 within the school community.
In a letter to parents which was posted on the school's website today (Thursday, May 20), head teacher Hayley Clacy said the school was doing all it can to ensure that all the necessary precautions are taken to protect the community.
Ms Clacy said: "In line with the advice from PHE and Kirklees local authority we are contacting any members of the school community who will need to self-isolate and we will be in touch with you directly if required.
"The school remains open and unless you have been contacted directly it should not affect your child and they should continue to attend school.
"I can reassure you that the systems we have in place (such as staggered timetables, separate break and lunch zones and sanitising stations in every classroom) are in line with local and national guidelines. More information about our systems is available on the school website."
In a separate letter to parents, Ms Clacy gave an update on the school's self-isolation policy and asked parents to encourage their children to continue to wear a face mask and abide by social distancing guidelines outside of school.
"This past week has seen even more positive cases of Covid-19 in our local area; particularly amongst the 11-18 age range," she said. "This has been reflected in the number of cases we have seen at school.
"As always, we have been in contact with Public Health England and the Infection Prevention Control Team who are monitoring our situation on a daily basis and will advise us of anything else we need to do.
"At the moment the only change they have suggested is, where there are any new cases we extend the range of students that we send home to isolate beyond the previously identified two metre rule.
"We have discussed with lead clinicians if our recent cases may be related to the new Indian variant but this is not believed to be the case at the moment. However, we are aware of its presence in Kirklees.
"I am always extremely grateful for the support shown to us by our families but I know that you are becoming frustrated with this situation and the ongoing need to self-isolate so many of our children.
"Some of you may be asking if we are doing enough to manage the risk and the simple answer to that is, ‘yes’, we are following all guidance and have daily conversations with lead public health advisors who are confident that we are doing everything we can. Indeed, we even asked one of IPC Team to come into school and observe our procedures.
"However, whilst we continue to employ a wide range of preventive measures and hygiene controls in school we are concerned that this is at a time when national restrictions are easing.
"Therefore, whilst we can manage the situation here in school, we ask that you continue to encourage your child to wear a mask, socially distance and sanitise their hands outside of school and when they are required to self-isolate that they do so.
"We also hope that as the vaccination programme is rolled out it will reduce the spread of infection.
"We know that when students are self-isolating, students and parents prefer us to deliver ‘live’ lessons rather than just post work online. This is not always possible, and can often only be done by putting those students who remain in school into a class together. This is kept within their year group bubble and is the only way we can release a member of staff to deliver
the ‘live’ lessons.
"I know that it is no consolation but we absolutely share your frustrations; we want all of our students in school not just so we can teach them, but so they can socialise with their friends and enjoy all the other aspects of school life that help them develop as young people.
"If we make the decision to send your child home, please remember this is under the advice of the Public Health professionals and not something we are choosing to do. In fact, the actual process of dealing with positive cases is incredibly time-consuming and staff are having to manage this on top of their normal workload.
"I am incredibly lucky to have a team of very professional and hard-working staff who are dealing with this both in school and during their evenings and over the weekends.
"As always, we are committed to supporting you and your child in any way we can and we welcome your continued support as we navigate this difficult situation. I will of course keep you updated with any new developments."