SCHOOL UPDATE

18th March 2020.

Dear Parents,

Further to the Education Secretary’s announcement that schools are to close indefinitely by Friday 20th March 2020, schools have been asked to remain open to support vulnerable students and children whose parents are classified as ‘Key Workers’ (individuals who provide an ‘essential service’ to the community).

To allow us to prepare adequately for what this will look like in practice next week and going forward, we need an indication of how many students and families this would affect. Key Workers have so far been listed as NHS staff, Police, Fire, Food Retail & Supply and Social Care Workers.

The full list of Key Worker classifications will be issued by the government later today, however we would ask those parents who fall into the category of Key Worker and require access to support to complete a short questionnaire by 7pm this evening.

Key Worker Support Questionnaire

Please be assured that as soon as the government has clarified what is meant by ‘vulnerable pupils’, we will contact individual families to offer our support.

Once again, we wish to reassure families that our priority is to mitigate the impact of the school closure for all pupils and will continue to do everything we can to help support our childrens’ education, fitness and social and emotional health during this crisis.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs J.A.T. Nairn

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17th March 2020.

**GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCE CLOSURES**

Dear Parents,

As I am sure you are all aware, the Education Secretary has today announced that schools, colleges and nurseries in England are to close from Friday 20th March 2020 until further notice, as part of the government’s ongoing strategy to tackle the coronavirus pandemic that we are all facing.

Our senior management team and the school’s governing body have been working together to prepare for such a closure with the primary aim of providing continuity of education for all students and will be sharing with parents more detail regarding our learning plans as soon as we possibly can.

The government tonight also confirmed the cancellation of the public examinations due to take place in May and June and our hearts go out to all the students who have been working so hard to prepare for these examinations. Whilst this decision will have been given great consideration, students affected will understandably be feeling both uncertainty and huge disappointment and it is important that they have a clear picture of how they will be affected. We currently await further clarity regarding the fine details and though staff will not be in a position to respond to individual emails, we hope to circulate practical information tomorrow.

The Prime Minister has asked that we try to support the families of key workers and vulnerable children, therefore we will, as a first step, be gathering information from parents in the form of a questionnaire. Your assistance in providing this information as quickly as possible, would be greatly appreciated.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you once more for your collective support and will continue to keep you updated with regular information and updates during this very difficult time.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs J.A.T. Nairn

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17th March 2020.

**SCHOOL TO RE-OPEN**

Dear Parents,

We have today been advised by Public Health England and Salford LEA that the school should re-open. The Department of Health has confirmed that there is no testing for the virus unless a person is admitted to hospital and, as of today, we are unaware of anyone attached to the school community or their immediate families who has been admitted. The school will therefore re-open tomorrow morning (18th March) in line with government guidelines and will remain open whilst safe levels of staffing and supervision can be maintained.

The following practical steps will be taken to minimise the spread of the virus as far as possible:

  • All students will be reminded to wash / sanitise their hands before and after breaks and before and at the end of each lesson
  • All events scheduled to be held outside of the core school day will be cancelled until further notice. This will include early and late / after school club and all events in the summer term
  • Uniform change (Seniors) – Blazers will no longer form part of the school uniform and should be replaced with a school jumper or jacket (to aid washing)
  • Uniform change (Prep) – All children to come to school wearing PE kit / jogging suit, with trainers, wellies and football boots when possible
  • We require all lockers to be emptied and PE kits taken home for washing
  • Lunchtimes will be staggered to avoid mass gatherings.

I understand that this raises many pressing questions from you, our school community that I am unable to answer. The government’s advice regarding social distancing is clear but virtually impossible to enforce in any school. We would therefore urge you to seriously consider your own particular family circumstances and health and follow government guidelines regarding self-isolation as appropriate. We will fully sympathise with any families who feel they must take the action to self-isolate or indeed with to avoid social gatherings and, if this difficult decision is made, the absence will be classed as an exceptional event and not recorded as an official absence on school records.

Our academic focus is understandably on our Year 11 and Year 13 students, for whom the burden of uncertainty is severe and we will do our utmost to ensure that they have the support and backing they require in order to face their GCSE and A-level examinations with confidence. As a school we are doing everything possible to provide continuity of education both when the school is open and remotely during any closures and work will continue to be set via our various remote applications (Google Classroom, email, MILK and Prep Blog) so that any disruption to the education of your child can be minimised. This policy is applicable to all our students and children as details in the letter sent to you last Friday.

The situation is fluid and fast-moving and we appreciate all the messages of support that we have received. Bridgewater School is a special and unique school community and we will continue to protect this community in every way possible.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs J.A.T. Nairn

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16th March 2020.

**IMPORTANT UPDATE**

Dear Parents,

Thank you for your patience and support in what is an ongoing, national issue. At Bridgewater we always put the health and safety of our students and community at the heart of everything we do. This is why we have tried to keep you updated with the most current information that we have.

As regards to the issue of a suspected case of COVID-19 in school, at present these are only suspicions and that member of staff is now recuperating away from the school. Unfortunately we may not know the outcome of any testing for a few days yet.

Earlier today we authorised a state-of-the-art deep clean of the school site involving an outside agency that specialises in such matters and are confident that we cannot have done more to prepare for re-opening.

However, following the decision to re-open, we have received notification of students and immediate family suffering from other symptoms and, following contact with Public Health England and the Coronavirus Specialist Response Service at 111, have been advised that as a matter of caution we should remain closed tomorrow (Tuesday 17th March 2020), whilst Salford Health Authority conduct a review with the school. 

We want to work with our whole community to continue to offer the best possible education in a safe environment and we will continue to monitor all advice given by the government and our regulatory bodies. I would again like to thank you for all of your support on what is a difficult period for the school and indeed the country as a whole.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me directly on nairnj@bwslive.co.uk.

Regarding remote working, please refer to our previous guidance, sent on Friday 13th March. Staff will set timetabled work to minimise disruption as much as possible by 9am tomorrow morning.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs J.A.T. Nairn

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16th March 2020.

**UPDATE**

School will be open as usual tomorrow, Tuesday 17th March. If your child will not be in school for any reason, please ensure you inform us of their absence by 9am via email at absencereporting@bwslive.co.uk or by telephone from 8am on 0161 794 1463.

Additionally, children in Kindergarten through to Prep VI are asked to come to school in their Bridgewater P.E. kit / jogging suit until further notice to enable them to access outdoor facilities with ease.

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16th March 2020.

**UPDATE**

Thank you to our school community for your patience and understanding regarding this morning’s decision to close the school to enable a deep clean to take place. This will be fully completed today and the school will re-open tomorrow morning 17th March. The deep clean will be carried out by an industrial cleaning specialist using an ozone generating machine which will be used to sanitise the whole school site.

We continue to take our guidance from the Gov-UK website and current government guidelines regarding self-isolation, can be found here.

Thank you for the many messages of support regarding our actions this morning as we appreciate that this is a difficult time for everyone and we must all work together for the good of the community.

The school will continue to act in what is in the best interests of the health and well-being of students, staff and the wider school community.

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16th March 2020.

**IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT**

We have this morning taken the decision that the school will close to pupils, effective immediately, as a precautionary measure to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

A member of our academic teaching staff has informed the school that they are displaying a number of symptoms associated with the Covid-19 virus. The health and well-being of all our students and staff is, of course, our number one priority. We have therefore decided to close the school to students with immediate effect. This allows us to undertake a deep clean and to assess the situation further.

We know just how much disruption this will cause for all families and guardians. We have not taken this decision lightly. We hope that by taking this measure now we can ensure that all of our Bridgewater community are safe and well.

We will send updates as soon as they become available.

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