Principal’s Blog: 16th March 2020
Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus - Update
Following further advice issued to schools today from the Minister of Education, Mr Peter Weir, I wish to update you on the current situation in connection with the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Lurgan Junior High School continues to act on the advice of the Department of Education and the Public Health Agency (PHA) and, consequently, school remains open to pupils and staff until instructed otherwise by the authorities. You can find information on the Public Health Agency’s website found here https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus. Separate updated guidance for educational settings is now being followed by the school in liaison with our Board of Governors.
The PHA has highlighted the new guidance for self-isolation and this guidance requires anyone who displays specific symptoms to self-isolate for a period of 7 days, even if they haven’t travelled from an affected area. People who have travelled from affected areas, and those who have been in close contact with a positive case, should also follow the same guidance.
According to the PHA, COVID-19 appears to affect children less than other age groups. But, it should be remembered that children can pick up the infection and can spread it to others.
Therefore, children should be kept at home if they are unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature to avoid spreading infection to others. Otherwise, they should attend school as normal. If staff, or children, become unwell in school with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, then they will be sent home.
Some time will be spent on Wednesday 18th March 2020 reminding pupils of the importance of washing their hands more frequently than normal, for at least 20 seconds. In addition, time will also be spent reminding pupils of the key messages conveyed through posters displayed earlier and communicated to parents on our Facebook page.
In the event of school closing, our priority will be to ensure that learning and teaching continue. As indicated in my previous letter, school will use online platforms to provide a programme of study for all pupils. The advice received by school indicates that this programme of study should be for a minimum of four weeks. Further details of this programme will be conveyed to parents in the event of closure. Staff will use the ‘Show my homework’ app and, where applicable, ‘Google Classroom’ to post work for your child. As you know, pupils have been reminded to update their SMHW passwords. If school closes, your child should structure their day as per their timetable and complete the work set by the teacher for that lesson or for a series of lessons.
If you are concerned about someone in your home displaying symptoms, it is recommended that they do not attend school and that, as parents/guardians, you should contact the NHS 111 helpline.
At present, Year 10 assessments will go ahead as planned and, as a result, pupils are advised to continue with their revision in preparation for them. It is our intention at this stage to try to complete all of the Year 10 Assessments as per the Examination timetable already distributed. Should examinations need to be postponed to a later date, you will be informed of this as soon as possible and as soon as new dates are known.
We will continue to act on the advice from the appropriate government and health agencies, as necessary. As previously communicated to you, any new information for parents will be conveyed to you via text message, through the school’s Facebook page and the school’s website front page. The website can be accessed at https://www.ljhs.co.uk/. Please check these sources of information regularly for updates.
Thank you very much for your continued cooperation and support.