COVID-19 Update, 17 March

by | Mar 17, 2020 | Ackworth School, COVID-19

To all members of the Ackworth School community,

I write to you in extraordinary times. The coronavirus COVID-19 continues to dominate world agendas, causing significant disruption and impacting lives.

Following yesterday’s briefing by the Prime Minister on a raft of new social distancing measures, we are responding swiftly to ensure that we are in line with the latest advice.

To summarise, the latest government advice includes:

  • Avoid non-essential contact with others, and stop all unnecessary travel
  • Anyone who develops a high temperature or a new persistent cough should stay at home for 14 days. Anyone who lives with someone who has a cough or a temperature should stay at home for 14 days
  • People should start working from home where they possibly can
  • Avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues
  • Only use the NHS when absolutely necessary
  • From today the government will no longer be “supporting” mass gatherings using emergency workers

We have implemented the above advice as necessary. To be clear, the government has not mandated school closures. Ackworth School will continue to remain open for boarders and day students. Even in the event of a closure, we will remain open for our boarding students throughout Easter.

However, we are making some temporary changes to the way the school operates:

  • All fixtures and events have been cancelled with immediate effect
  • All parent meetings will now be conducted via phone, email or Skype
  • Coram House students must be picked up from outside the main buildings – parents will not be allowed into the building, except in an emergency
  • Senior School parents wishing to come into the school shall call the school in advance

We know that you will understand and support these measures. We are concerned about our community and are doing what we can support families and their needs. By trying to keep the school open, we are supporting business owners in our community to continue operating; we are helping healthcare workers continue doing their important work.

Over the past few weeks, here at Ackworth School, we have been proactively implementing our Coronavirus Response Strategy.

Our number one priority remains to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and broader Ackworth community.

To that end, we have been:

  • Installing and replacing nearly 100 hand-sanitiser and hand-wash dispensers throughout the school
  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning and sanitisation high-traffic areas of the school like dining halls, passages, and classroom door handles
  • Regularly disinfecting shared equipment
  • Displaying hygiene messages around the school and educate students on how to help
  • Restrict staff business travel
  • Creating isolation units should we need to isolate a student or member of staff
  • Revising risk assessments for activities, trips and fixtures
  • And much more in the way of changing policies regarding visits to the school

Following the health and safety of the school community, our next priority is keeping our school open for as long as is reasonably possible. Unlike other countries, for now, the U.K. has not yet decided to close schools.

However, we are preparing for possible closure. We are taking steps to ensure that we can maintain continuous education for students during term time. We will remain open over Easter to provide accommodation for our international students who may sadly find themselves unable to return to their home countries for a time.

To this end, we are in constant contact with suppliers. We have received assurances regarding the supply of food and other essential items for our residential students and staff.

During this time of uncertainty, we must continuously remind ourselves to follow the guidance of the health authorities and the government.

We deeply appreciate the support of you, our parents, and the wider school community during these challenging times.

Yours sincerely,

Anton Maree