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Covid Update from Deputy Head

6th November 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope you are well and, if you live under lockdown conditions in the UK or elsewhere in the world, that you are managing to remain positive as well as safe. I am sure I join you in hoping the current UK lockdown will truly be the last such significant imposition on our lives and that we can look forward to a new year that, more than ever, will bring renewal and opportunity. We remain fortunate to be in an area of the country where there are significantly fewer cases than the national average, but we cannot afford to relax our vigilance.

When I wrote to you on Saturday, I gave you the ‘headline’ news about the impact of the second lockdown on the King Edward’s Witley community. I have some further detail about this and other new school measures in the fight against COVID:

The second Exeat of term is due to start on Friday afternoon, 20th November and end on Sunday evening, 22nd November. This Exeat will go ahead but the School will remain open for boarding pupils. This follows the government’s guidance for schools to support parents and pupils in limiting movement between different ‘households’, and I strongly encourage all parents of boarders to assist us with this by keeping your child at School. We will send out the Exeat forms in due course, as normal, but your child’s Housemistress/ Housemaster would appreciate knowing as soon as possible if you intend to take up this offer for your child. We will publish a modified programme of sports and activities, to which all pupils (not just boarders) may sign up, in due course. This will provide your child with some structured time and plenty of opportunities to relax, unwind and catch up on sleep.

I wrote to all pupils recently to inform them that from Monday 9th November, it was compulsory to wear a face covering:

  • in all inside spaces except classrooms if appropriate social distancing is not possible or if it is not being maintained. This includes communal areas of the Houses.
  • on public transport (bus and train) or in School minibuses and taxis
  • outside, if you are with others and unable to maintain social distancing.

This applies even when they are with others in their social grouping. However, we do not oblige everyone to wear a face covering in classrooms because it may hinder the teaching and learning process.

There will be lanyards available for pupils to indicate that they are exempt from the requirement to wear a face covering or to use alcohol disinfecting solution; your child’s Housemistress/ Housemaster will have a stock of these available on request.

Please would you remind your child, especially if they are a day pupil, to go through the temperature scanner at Piccadilly each morning on entering the School?

In this phase of the fight against COVID, our school measures are aligned very closely with governmental guidelines. Accordingly, it is even more important that all members of the community comply with the rules. I very much hope not to have to take action but in the case of wilful or repeated infringement of clear guidance on groupings, hygiene measures, social distancing or other COVID precautions, it may be necessary to issue sanctions to signal clearly the importance of keeping everyone safe and to deter others from similar infringements.

Finally, to end on a positive note, I am delighted to report that we will take delivery of a 15-minute turn-round Antigen Testing Machine, early next week. We expect this will drastically reduce the numbers of pupils and staff required to undergo precautionary isolation, by giving us a quick and reliable COVID-19 diagnosis for anyone presenting with indicative symptoms.

With best wishes,

Yours faithfully,

David Corran

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