COVID-19 update for all parents and carers
19 March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
COVID-19 update for all parents and carers
May I begin by thanking you for your support through this last week. Students have again been fantastic today, as have staff as we have stepped up the pace of work to prepare for the weeks ahead in light of yesterday’s announcement.
As we now approach a more challenging time for all of us, there are a number of matters I would like to address with you here.
School closure arrangements
You will be aware that tonight the government has announced that schools in England will close on Friday until further notice. We are open tomorrow as usual but will close to students at 14:30. A number of you have contacted us because you are a ‘key worker’ and our welfare team has been contacting those who may qualify for a place in school from Monday because they meet the Government’s vulnerability criteria. We shall be contacting tomorrow the parents of students who will continue to be educated on site to share information about the arrangements that we will be putting in place. I can confirm however, that we have well-developed plans for a provision that will be good quality, safe and enjoyable to students.
Continuity of learning
It is very important that students remain engaged with their learning. We have therefore launched remote learning for students via ITSLearning. All departments are now uploading appropriate work and assignments for all students. From Monday, we will also increase the functionality of ITSLearning to allow written communication to take place between students and their teachers. As a reminder, students can access ITSLearning via the College website and can also access it via a mobile app.
Some departments are providing work via other platforms, including Seneca and HegartyMaths.
All this will enable continuity of learning, even if students are at home. If students need support with accessing ITSLearning or have any other general queries relating to learning at home, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our expectation is that during the College day students should seek to work productively from home, undertaking tasks set for them by different subjects, and completing and uploading assignments as appropriate and if requested by teachers.
Reports and internal examinations
There are a number of assessment and report deadlines approaching. It is important to ensure a reasonable level of continuity despite the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in, whilst balancing this with the constraints that the current situation places on us as a staff team. As such:
- Year 10 reports will now be published on the later date of 24 April.
- Interim assessments for Year 7, 8 and 11 will continue as planned, being published to parents on the 2 April.
- Year 12 assessment week 4 will not take place this year.
- Year 9 exams will continue this week for those students who are in school but the reporting cycle will be paused until further information relating to the impact of COVID-19 is known.
We have today, taken the difficult decision to cancel all educational visits that were due to take place this academic year. The exception to this is Operation Walacea which is a visit we may be able to postpone and re-schedule. Parents will receive a full refund for all visits. While this decision will be disappointing for many students we are confident that it is the right thing to do in order to bring clarity at this stage for families given the complexity of the next few months.
The next few weeks promise to be challenging but they have the potential to also be rewarding and enriching. As routines bed in for students at home and at school we shall look for ways to maintain a sense of community for all students, albeit in a more virtual sense.
May I also make clear that we would be keen to continue to support young people who benefit significantly from the pastoral care offered in College and as such, would encourage you to contact us via the website as indicated above if you would like a member of the student welfare team to arrange to speak with your child at any time during this period of school closure.
This is a time for action and compassion, not a time for fear. It is a time to be wise, not a time to be carefree. It is a time to grow, serve, love and learn, however unusual or challenging the circumstances around us. May I extend my thanks and admiration to those who are truly on the ‘front line’ of fighting this virus and caring for those who are most vulnerable. I can assure you that we will do all we can to support you and your children over the coming weeks and months.