23rd February 2021
Dear parents and guardians,
Many of you will be aware of the UK Prime Minister’s announcement today of a “roadmap” for the release of restrictions imposed by COVID. The first and most important aspect of his plan is that all pupils will be able to return to School on Monday 8th March. Face-to-face lessons will recommence on that day as well as most outdoor sport and activities. King Edward’s will suddenly begin to feel much more like the School we all know and love. I know that staff share my relief and joy at the prospect of seeing the School come back to life as your children return; we are acutely aware of the emotional stress of isolation from friends and from the natural rhythm of learning in School.
I wanted to write to you immediately to give you the outline of King Edward’s response to the government’s announcement. I hope you will understand that as yet, therefore, I do not have answers to many questions that you may have about the details of our plan for a return to School. I intend to write again with further information and detail as soon as possible and at any rate by Wednesday evening, 24 February. I shall also write separately about exams and assessment arrangements after the exam boards’ update expected on Thursday 25 February.
In order to facilitate a “clean” start to face-to-face learning on Monday 8th March, King Edward’s will invite all day pupils to come in to School in the days immediately preceding the School opening on 8 March, for a COVID test. This will limit the chance of the virus being brought into the School through asymptomatic transmission. Pupils will be tested for COVID twice further in the first week back, then twice weekly for the rest of term and beyond. Further detailed instructions will follow.
The situation for our boarding pupils is not yet clear, because the UK government has not provided answers to some of the key questions about international travel to the UK and about quarantine arrangements. If government guidance permits it, we plan to open a “quarantine House” for any international boarder who wishes, and is able, to quarantine in England and then to take advantage of the 5-day “Test-to-Release” quarantine scheme. This will require your child to arrive at King Edward’s between Friday 26 February and Sunday 28 February. In order to take up this opportunity:
I am sure you understand that I am unable to confirm these arrangements until the government has determined whether schools may provide quarantine accommodation. I hope to have that information within 48 hours.
I do expect to offer similar quarantine arrangements in advance of the start of the summer term; again, I shall provide details of this nearer the time.
I regret that we will be unable to provide the ten-day isolation period for those arriving in England from the 30 countries on the “red list” and anyone transiting those countries. Unless your child has the right of residence in the UK, they will not be able to travel to the UK from or via those countries at all.
There are already exciting plans for a careers, leadership, life-skills, personal finance and creative programme for the Upper Sixth next term, culminating in social events to bring them together finally to say goodbye and to set the seal on a difficult year. I shall update parents and pupils about this in March.
With my very best wishes,
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