Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions
Have there been any positive cases of Covid-19 at St Ursula’s? To date, seventeen students have tested positive for Covid-19 and three members of staff. (15/1/2021)
What are the key Covid-19 symptoms?
The key symptoms can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/ If your daughter has any of these symptoms, she should stay at home and get a test. If anyone who your daughter lives with has these symptoms, she should also stay at home whilst they get tested. In either scenario, you should contact the school before your daughter returns to school.
My daughter has a temperature, but she feels fine once she has taken medication, can she attend school?
No. If your daughter has a temperature or any other Covid-19 symptoms, we ask that she stays at home and gets a test. Please do not try and ‘manage’ her symptoms and send her to school – even if she feels well. Remote work will be set for your daughter via Google. Instructions regarding how to access the remote work will be emailed to you once we have received confirmation that your daughter is isolating.
My daughter does not feel well. I don’t think it’s Covid-19; it seems like it’s just a cold. Should I send her to school?
We ask that you only send your daughter to school if she is well. If she is unwell, she should stay at home even if you do not think she has Covid-19. She could have another virus such as a cold or flu – in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people until they are better. Once she is better, she can return to school. Whilst she is at home, if her symptoms match any of the key Covid-19 symptoms, she should get tested for Covid-19.
What happens if my daughter develops symptoms whilst she is at school?
If your daughter develops symptoms whilst at school, she will be sent to our Covid-19 First Aid room. Here we will take her temperature and assess her symptoms. If we believe she needs to go home, parents/carers will be contacted and she must be collected immediately. Parents/carers should then book a test.
What happens if someone in my daughter’s class develops symptoms during the school day?
If someone in your daughter’s class develops symptoms during the school day, the individual will be sent to the First Aid room where they will be assessed. If we believe that the student may have Covid-19 symptoms, students will be removed from the classroom so that it can be cleaned. All students will also be asked to sanitise their hands.
My daughter was unwell and we thought it might be Covid-19 so we got her tested. The test was negative, but she’s still not well, should she come back to school?
No – if your daughter still does not feel well, she should stay at home until she feels better. She can then return to school.
My daughter was told self-isolate for 14 days. She feels fine; can she return to school before the 14-day quarantine ends?
No. Public Health England are clear that if an individual is told that they should self-isolate for 14 days then they should not return to school or work ahead of this time. If your daughter develops symptoms herself during the period of time she is isolating, she should get a test. You should call the school with the results of this test.
If my daughter is required to self-isolate by Public Health England, does everyone in my household need to isolate?
No – only your daughter will need to isolate. However, if your daughter or anyone else in your household starts to develop symptoms, then your household will need to isolate. The person in your household, who is displaying symptoms, will also need to book a test.
If we have been in contact with a parent/child that has been asked to self-isolate by Public Health England, are we also required to self-isolate and then track those we’ve subsequently had contact with also?
The advice to self-isolate from Public Health England is only for those who have direct contact. If you think you have had direct contact, you should self-isolate. Similarly, if you develop symptoms, then you should self-isolate along with your household and let the school know as soon as possible.
Some people at St Ursula’s will be self-isolating because they have been a direct close contact of someone who has tested positive outside of school. If the people that have been asked to self-isolate get tested and it comes back negative, are they allowed back into school before the 14 days is up?
No. Public Health England have been clear that even with a negative test, the individuals must remain self-isolating for 14 days in case they develop symptoms after the test was taken.
Responding to confirmed cases
What will happen if you have a confirmed case?
As soon as we are informed, we will contact Public Health England. They will work to identify who the individual who has tested positive has had direct contact with. They will then inform the school who needs to self-isolate. As soon as we have this information, we will inform the parents/carers of the students who Public Health England instruct to isolate for 14 days. We will then update our wider community.
If you have a confirmed case of Covid-19, will you confirm details of the infected person/people?
As you might expect, we will not be releasing the name(s) of anyone who tests positive in respect to their privacy.
If you have a confirmed case of Covid-19, will the school be closed?
If we have a confirmed case of Covid-19, we will contact Public Health England and follow their advice.
My daughter is in KS3 so she is having all of her lessons in her form group. If there is a confirmed case in my daughter’s year group but not my daughter’s form group, will she be sent home to self-isolate for 14 days?
If we have a confirmed case of Covid-19, we will contact Public Health England and follow their advice. They will decide which members of our school community need to self-isolate.
If there is a confirmed case at St Ursula’s, should I get my child tested as a precaution?
We believe that tests are only available to those with symptoms. If your daughter develops symptoms, she should not come to school. You should get a test and your household should self-isolate for 14 days from the start of the symptoms.
Covid-19 Protective Measures and logistics:
Have you got increased cleaning?
Yes, we increased our cleaning capacity before the summer holidays. As part of this, additional cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (e.g. door handles, light switches, bannisters) and toilets occur throughout the school day.
Do parents/carers and staff wear face coverings when on the school site?
All visitors to the school are asked to wear a face covering when moving about the site as they are not part of our bubbles. The guidance provided by the government does not recommend face covering for secondary students or staff unless in certain circumstances such as corridors. All members of our community are asked to wear a face covering when moving about the school site. Some staff do choose to wear a covering when teaching which is their choice.
Should I be washing my daughter’s face mask every day?
If your daughter has a reusable face covering, it should be washed regularly.
The Government guidance to schools states:
Safe wearing of face coverings requires cleaning of hands before and after touching – including to remove or put them on – and the safe storage of them in individual, sealable plastic bags between use. Where a face covering becomes damp, it should not be worn and the face covering should be replaced carefully.
Pupils must be instructed not to touch the front of their face covering during use or when removing it and they must dispose of temporary face coverings in a ‘black bag’ waste bin (not recycling bin) or place reusable face coverings in a plastic bag they can take home with them, and then wash their hands again before heading to their classroom.
Can my daughter wear a face covering in the classroom?
Some students are choosing to wear face coverings in classroom and that is ok if they can take responsibility for wearing it and using is correctly (see above). However, the government guidance is that secondary school students do not need to wear them in classrooms, as there are other protective measures in place.
Can the school take the temperatures of people entering the building?
The guidance does not recommend this and it would be challenging for us to do this with the number of children we have. If a child is hot to the touch on their front and back, then they should remain at home. If we suspect that someone is unwell then we will check their temperature and follow our procedures.
Why does my daughter need to wear her PE kit to school?
Like many schools, we have asked students to wear their PE kits to school on days that they have PE to avoid having to get changed in close proximity and limit the risk of students coming into contact with other students’ belongings.
When your daughter has PE, she should come to school wearing the full school PE kit. She must wear her school blazer over her PE kit.
As the weather has become colder, your daughter must wear the winter PE kit (St Ursula’s PE tracksuit bottoms, St Ursula’s PE t-shirt, St Ursula’s PE jumper and St Ursula’s PE socks).
She can wear her school coat over her blazer to and from school, but will usually be asked to remove her coat when inside the school building. If it is particularly cold due to the extra ventilation required in classrooms and corridors the decision will be taken to allow pupils to wear outdoor clothing inside.
Why does my daughter need to enter and exit the school via a different gate and at a different time?
We are using different gates and staggered arrival and dismissal to avoid different year group bubbles coming into contact with one another.
To support this, your daughter should not arrive until her stated arrival time. Similarly, when she is dismissed from school, she should go home immediately. She will not be allowed to wait for other students as this could lead to contact being made between different bubbles.
Why can my daughter no longer purchase food from the dining hall at break time?
With the increased Covid-19 restrictions, we are unable to have multiple year groups in the Dining Hall at break time. The catering company are exploring additional ways that they can offer a break time service. We will update you on this if it becomes available.
I have read that all schools are following Government Guidance. Where can I read this Government Guidance?
The Government Guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools
What will happen if there is a local lockdown or another national lockdown?
The current guidance secondary schools have received is that the Government will implement ‘tiers of restriction’.
Tier 1: All schools remain fully open. Keeping schools open will be prioritised over other settings.
Tier 2: Secondary schools will be instructed to operate a rota system to minimise the number of year groups on site. The guidance suggests year groups may spend two weeks on site followed by two weeks at home, working remotely. Spending this amount of time at home is thought to be sufficient for breaking transmission chains. Vulnerable students and students of key workers can still attend school even if their year group is working remotely.
Tier 3: Secondary schools will only be allowed to remain open for selected year groups. Schools will be instructed by the DFE on which year groups should be prioritised. All other year groups will work remotely from home.
Tier 4: Secondary schools are only open for vulnerable students and students of key workers. All other students should remain at home and work remotely.
The Government Guidance on ‘Tiers of restriction’ can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-schools-can-plan-for-tier-2-local-restrictions/how-schools-can-plan-for-tier-2-local-restrictions
I am worried about my daughter getting Covid-19. I want to keep her at home, can I do this?
We can understand your concerns and this is a very unusual time for all of us. Ahead of school re-opening, parents/carers were sent our risk assessment which details the extensive measures we have put in place to try to mitigate risk. You will be aware that the Government has announced that all students should return to school and continue their education. If your child does not attend school, they will have this recorded as an unauthorised absence.
If you choose not to send your daughter to school, we will be in touch to have a conversation and discuss your concerns. Almost every student is now back at school and, unless your daughter is self-isolating or is shielding, then they should be attending school.
If my daughter needs to self-isolate, how will work be set for her?
If your daughter needs to self-isolate, work will be set via Google. You will be sent an email with links to some additional activities that your daughter can complete whilst working remotely and instructions for accessing the work set.
If my daughter is self-isolating because she is unwell or if she becomes unwell whilst she is self-isolating, is the school expecting her to complete her school work from home?
No. If your daughter is unwell, you need to contact the school office and inform us of this. We can then inform her teachers to not set work for her that day. As per normal, you will need to contact the school office each day to let us know that she is unwell.
My daughter is entitled to Free School Meals. If she has to self-isolate, how will their Free School Meals be reimbursed?
Each student is entitled to £2.40 for a Free School Meal. When your daughter returns to school, we will reimburse you for the number of days that she has been self-isolating via cheque. If you are in financial difficulty and need support whilst your daughter is isolating, please contact the school’s finance team.
My daughter would like to cycle to school to avoid public transport, can she bring her bike to school?
Yes. We have bike racks where your daughter can lock her bike. These bike racks are at the main gate so your daughter will need to allow sufficient time to lock her bike away before making her way to her designated entrance.
We would advise your daughter wears a cycle helmet to and from school as well as some reflective clothing over her school uniform.
I have two daughters at St Ursula’s in different year groups but they travel home together, what should they do?
Although your daughters are in different year group bubbles during the school day, they can still travel home together as they are in the same household. However, we would ask that they do not travel home with anyone else from St Ursula’s as this may result in different bubbles coming into contact.
They should arrange to meet one another away from the school gates (perhaps at the top of the gravel path) so that they can travel home together.
I give my daughter and her friend a lift to school. Should I be doing this?
If you, your daughter or her friend were to test positive with Covid-19, Public Health England are likely to establish this as being a “small vehicle contact”. If someone in the car tested positive, then everyone in the car would need to self-isolate for 14 days.
We would ask that small vehicle contacts are avoided where possible, especially car sharing involves students from different year-group bubbles who do not live together.
Curriculum and extra-curricular:
How will you continue with collective worship?
Collective worship continues to be integral to school life at St Ursula’s. Though we are unable to have year group masses at Our Ladye Star of the Sea, we continue with our collective worship in school.
Your daughter will have collective worship during form time each day and Marie, our School Chaplain and the Chaplaincy Team continue to provide opportunities for collective worship throughout the week. Father Kevin keeps in regular contact with the school too!
How are teachers assessing how well students understood work delivered during lockdown?
Teachers are using a range of formative strategies to assess students in lessons. These may be quizzes, short paragraphs or other ‘low stakes’ activities which provide teachers with information.
Year 11 are having diagnostic assessments in all of their subjects. These will then inform students on their areas for improvement ahead of their Pre Public Examinations (PPEs) which take place after the half-term.
We plan to go ahead with our, more formal, bi-annual assessment week for all students in Years 7-10 in December.
What happens if my daughter is still in school, but some of her teachers are not because they are isolating?
In this situation, cover work will be set for your daughter and her class.
Normally, parents/carers would attend school for information events and parents’ evenings, will we be allowed to do this?
Due to the current restrictions, schools are not being advised to run these events in person. We are committed to ensuring that you get the information we would share at the events so will ensure information is either sent to you or shared virtually where possible.
Will there be any trips this year?
With the current restrictions in place, we do not plan to take students off-site for any trips /activities other than to Greenwich Park. We will review this throughout the academic year.
My daughter used to attend lots of after school clubs, why are these not available this year?
The Covid-19 protective measures mean that different year group bubbles should not come into contact with one another; it is therefore very difficult for us to run clubs as these are attended by students across different year groups. We have set up a small suite of Bubble Clubs that we are running at lunch times, please click here for further information: Bubble Clubs
If restrictions ease, we will review what we are able to offer as we recognise that clubs are an important part of school life.
Someone in our family has passed away from Covid-19 and my daughter is extremely upset. Who should I contact for support at school?
Initially, please contact your daughter’s form tutor. They will coordinate support for your daughter in school. We have two Safeguarding and Wellbeing Officers on site and the School Chaplain, Marie, who will be able to offer support.
My daughter has become extremely anxious about school during lockdown, what should I do?
The first point of contact is your daughter’s form tutor. They see your daughter every day for registration so will be best placed to ‘check in’ with her. If she needs more support, they will be able to liaise with our Safeguarding and Wellbeing Officers.