To all parents, staff and students of Kingsbridge Community College. Update on the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus – Monday 2nd March 2020
You may have heard today on the news that Churston Ferrers Grammar School is closed due to a potential case of COVID-19. There has been no change to the status of pending test results at KCC today. Two members of staff and two students who have been tested are absent from school and remain in isolation. There have been no new cases reported of self-isolation today.
We will continue to provide updates as and when we receive them.
We continue to take the advice from the experts:
The advice from Public Health England and Department for Education How is the infection passed? There are 2 routes by which people could become infected:
secretions can be directly transferred into the mouths or noses of people who are nearby (within 2 metres) or could be inhaled into the lungs
it is also possible that someone may become infected by touching a surface or object that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes (such as touching a door knob or shaking hands then touching own face).
What are the symptoms?
There are three symptoms which are a fever, a cough or a shortness of breath. You do not need to have all three symptoms to be regarded as symptomatic.
What should schools do about students and staff who have returned from designated areas? People who have returned from Category 2 specified countries/areas in the last 14 days, are advised to continue with their everyday life. They are only advised to stay at home and self-isolate if they develop symptoms. Pupils, students and staff should continue to attend school or university, including their siblings attending the same or a different school
What if any of those people develop symptoms that are associated with the virus?
Public Health England say that the person should contact NHS 111 for advice. They should do this rather than visiting a GP. Whilst awaiting that advice, the person should stay at least 2 metres away from others, preferably in a room on their own with an open window. In an emergency they should contact 999 as usual. The advice may be to be tested for the virus, in which case the person should remain out of contact with others until the results are returned.
What action should schools take if a member of staff or student has symptoms?
If anyone has been in contact with a suspected case in a childcare or educational setting, no restrictions or special control measures are required while laboratory test results for COVID-19 are awaited. There is no need to close the setting or send other learners or staff home. Public Health England have confirmed at the time of writing that no school has been instructed by them to close.
What if that person tests positive for the virus?
If there is a confirmed case, a risk assessment will be undertaken by the educational establishment with advice from the local Health Protection Team. In most cases, closure of the childcare or education setting will be unnecessary but this will be a local decision based on various factors such as establishment size and pupil mixing.
The advice from Public Health England and Department for Education is categoric in stating that it is not necessary to close the school in response. We do think it is sensible to increase our normal cleaning regime in order to support national efforts to contain the virus and stop it spreading, so that is what our cleaning teams are doing with immediate effect. We will continue to be vigilant, respond rapidly to any signs of symptoms, and review our response in the light of any changing advice.
I am acutely aware of the conjecture and speculation that is currently visible on social media. Please be rest assured that in between published communications we are in constant contact with the health experts that are the only body that can advise us at this time.
With best wishes.
Tina Graham Principal