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Advice on Coronavirus – Latest updates

Information for Boarders’ Parents, Guardians and Agents

Letter to Parents, Guardians and Agents – 18th March 2020

Dear Parents, Guardians and Agents,

In the last couple of hours, we have been told that schools in Wales will close by Friday. We had been expecting this and so will put in place our contingency plans to support our pupils remotely. We will now action the following steps:

  • Preparing all pupils, in an age-appropriate way, to ensure they have the textbooks and materials they need to work at home.
  • All boarders need to return home as soon as possible. If you have been unable to change your child’s flight, international boarders should stay with their guardians from Friday evening. Please liaise with your child’s boarding house parents or housemaster as a priority so that we can work together to sort out any issues.
  • From Monday, we will put in place our temporary remote learning plan. You will be contacted by your child’s Headteacher shortly with more detailed information.
  • If we are unable to reopen as planned on 21st April, you will receive a structured educational programme for your child, including the necessary online resources.
  • We continue to press exam boards to brief us on their contingency plans for this summer’s GCSE/IGCSE and A level exams. We will inform all Year 11 and 13 students as soon as we know anything.
  • We will advise on amended fee structures as soon as we have a handle on likely disruption and timescales.
  • Finally, we understand that this will have an enormous impact on our parents’ ability to work. Recognising how many medics we have amongst our parent body; we are currently in discussion with Public Health Wales to see if we can provide any care in school to help them continue to deliver vital healthcare services on the frontline.

We are striving to provide as much support and normality for your children as we can under these challenging conditions. We do not underestimate the enormity of the situation that we face as a nation and I would like to thank you for your on-going support.

With my very best wishes,

James Murphy-O’Connor – Principal

Download full letter (PDF – 148kb)

Letters to Parents re Remote Learning – 18th March 2020

Letter to Parents re Remote Learning – 18th March 2020

Monmouth School for Girls Remote Learning (PDF – 130kb)
Monmouth School for Boys Remote Learning (PDF – 199kb)

Letter to Parents, Guardians and Agents – 17th March 2020

Letter to Parents, Guardians and Agents – 17th March 2020

Dear Parents, Guardians and Agents,

I would like to provide you with the following update post the Cobra press briefing this afternoon:

  • Firstly, could I please urge all parents not to send their children into school if they have a new, persistent cough and/or a high temperature.
  • If any family member has these symptoms, the entire household must now self-isolate for 14 days. We have had a couple of cases of pupils faking a cough to be sent home, please stress to your child the impact this could have on the whole family needing to self-isolate for a fortnight.
  • Could all international boarding parents please make the necessary arrangements for their children to return home as soon as possible. Travel arrangements should be discussed with your child’s boarding house parents or housemaster in the first instance.
  • We are still awaiting confirmation on arrangements for this summer’s public exams, which are likely to be disrupted. On this basis, we are now suggesting all Year 11 and 13 international boarders return home and the schools will update families as soon as we are briefed by the exam boards.
  • All pupils and staff with underlying health issues, as outlined by the government, have been advised to stay at home to minimise their risk.
  • We have contingency plans to email work to all pupils who are already absent. We will provide greater detail on our plans to deliver remote learning in the next couple of days as we audit the numbers of staff and pupils currently away from school.
  • All school trips and fixtures will be cancelled from Friday.
  • Additional practical measures have been put in place including staggering meals, staff serving all pupils where possible, staff ensuring hand sanitisers are used before and after every meal.

We understand these are very worrying times for our entire school community. We also recognise the important role schools play in enabling our healthcare workers, emergency services and supply network to function as normally as possible for as long as possible.

With my very best wishes,

James Murphy-O’Connor – Principal

Download full letter (PDF – 144kb)

Letter to Boarders’ Parents, Guardians and Agents – 17th March 2020

Letter to Boarders’ Parents, Guardians and Agents – 17th March 2020

Dear Parents, Guardians and Agents,

The government’s advice for self-isolation changed at 5pm yesterday. We are now facing 14 days quarantine of ‘households’ should anyone show any of the following symptoms: a new persistent cough and a high temperature.

You will appreciate that this would be very hard to manage within our boarding community where we have up to 40 pupils, staff and their families living together in each boarding house. The isolation period would also take us beyond the end of term which could impact on existing travel arrangements. In addition, the three-week activities camp over the Easter holidays has been cancelled in light of changing government advice and the likely imposition of all but essential travel in the UK and Europe.

The schools will help and support any parents who wish to bring forward their travel arrangements before the end of term. Many of our overseas boarders have already returned home keen to avoid many of the travel restrictions which now look increasingly likely.

The schools are remaining open and we will of course continue to offer the best care possible to all our boarders still with us. Teachers are gearing up to provide teaching support online for those students who have left early or will be self-isolating under the revised government guidelines aimed at protecting those with underlying health issues.

We are looking at how we keep our whole school community safe and would ask you to liaise with your child’s house parents or housemaster to discuss making new arrangements for collecting your children.

With best wishes,

James Murphy-O’Connor – Principal

Download full letter (PDF – 141kb)

Letter to Boarders’ Parents, Guardians and Agents – 13th March 2020

Letter to Boarders’ Parents, Guardians and Agents – 13th March 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We had stressed that this was a fast-moving situation but few of us could have predicted quite how fast. Since yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister, travel advice and requirements to self-isolate have changed.

It is hard for us to keep pace with the changing advice and so we would like to direct you to the government website which spells out their guidance on when to self-isolate at home:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

In addition, there is a new link on the government website for the latest travel advice
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

This includes the following key points:

  • There is no longer a list of restricted countries with a requirement to self-isolate for 14 days from a Category 1 area or 14 days if symptomatic from a Category 2 area, with the exception of Northern Italy.
  • Everyone with a new persistent cough and/or a high temperature should self-isolate for 7 days.
  • Overseas boarders returning to school should delay their return by 7 days if they become symptomatic. Should they become symptomatic while in school, they would then be isolated in either the medical centre or another designated space for 7 days.

As Covid-19 spreads rapidly on both sides of the Atlantic, there may be more flight restrictions as countries close their borders to delay and reduce the predicted peak in numbers. Please call your child’s houseparent or housemaster if you wish to discuss travel options with them. We would fully understand if you decide your child should leave before the end of term. In those cases, we will grant authorised absence and provide some additional online teaching support.

Again, I would like to reassure you that we are assessing on a daily basis which elements of our educational programme are deemed higher risk and we will take action accordingly. Wherever possible, our aim is to postpone not cancel activities.

We have also been contacted by several parents with children who have significant underlying health issues. Please contact our senior school nurse, Mrs Louise Goodwin, to talk through any medical concerns you may have.

A reminder that all letters about Covid-19 will be posted on our website: www.habsmonmouth.org/coronavirus

James Murphy-O’Connor – Principal

Download full letter (PDF – 152kb)

Letter to Boarders’ Parents, Guardians and Agents – 12th March 2020

Letter to Boarders’ Parents, Guardians and Agents – 12th March 2020

Dear Parents, Guardians and Agents

Impact of Coronavirus restrictions on our boarding community

Today, I have written to all staff and parents about additional measures being imposed to help slow down the spread of Covid-19 as the UK and many parts of Europe move from the containment to delay phase.

We fully appreciate that any disruption to the schools’ calendar or travel arrangements will have the greatest impact on our boarders. Many families from mainland China and Hong Kong will have been separated since the 5th January and are now questioning what plans to make for the Easter holidays which are just two weeks away. As the rise in Coronavirus is now affecting large parts of Europe and new cases have declined sharply in the Far East, we need to re-evaluate our original advice to avoid travelling to previously restricted countries.

We understand some parents may wish to bring their child home before the end of this term to avoid possible travel restrictions or the need to self-isolate for 14 days. As a family of schools, we have been following government advice and keeping up-to-speed with any developments. Given the current uncertainty but increasing likelihood that tougher measures will be imposed, we urge all our overseas parents to make contact with their child’s houseparent or housemaster to discuss their individual plans for the remaining weeks of term and Easter holidays.

Our boarding team will support you with any changes to your child’s travel arrangements and our academic staff will put in place remote learning if needed. We cannot predict what the full impact of Covid-19 will be, but we believe that the health and wellbeing of each and everyone of our school community should drive our decision-making.

We will be imposing a 14 day self-isolation policy before day or boarding students can be readmitted to school for the start of the Summer term if returning from a Category 1 country, or showing symptoms from a Category 2 country. The full list of countries that pose an increased risk can be found here: COVID-19: Specified countries and areas with implications for returning travellers or visitors arriving in the UK

All letters about Covid-19 are posted on our website: www.habsmonmouth.org/coronavirus

James Murphy-O’Connor – Principal

Download full letter (PDF – 160kb)