Friday 20th March
I am writing to you today to update you on our plans and preparation for COVID 19. As I am sure you are aware we are in a rapidly changing environment, and information given out this morning may be out of date by tomorrow morning. Please find below answers to some of the common questions we have been asked.
Q - Are there plans to close schools?
A - Currently there are no plans to close schools, but this may change over the coming days and weeks.
Q - How will we know if the school is closed?
A - If schools are closed we will inform every parent by text and place information on our website and Facebook page. Unless you hear directly from us, or via an official news source (Manx Radio, Energy Fm, 3FM etc) schools are open.
Q - If School closes how much notice we will get?
A - The decision to close schools will be made by senior members of DESC and the Minister. We will give you as much notice as possible.
Q - Will school remain open for ‘key workers’ children?
A - At this stage we do not know. It may be that schools remain open to everyone.
Education of my child in the event of School Closure
At the moment there are no plans to close schools. Clearly though as a school we do need to plan for school closures, and give thought to how we can continue to provide some form of education for every child. The education that we can offer will of course be very different to the education we can deliver in school, and will concentrate on keeping the children happy and engaged whilst revising existing learning as well as building new and different skills. Staff are currently planning a range of activities, some of which will be able to be completed using technology, and some of which using pencil and paper.
In order to assist us with our planning it would help us to know who has a access to the internet at home and who does not. I would therefore be grateful if you could either complete and return the attached slip, or fill in a short survey online, which can be accessed here https://forms.gle/b7xCs6jor31vwW3y8
We hope from Monday to have further information, suggested ideas and activities, available on our website, along with packs which we will send home with any child who is unwell. We have also arranged to leave packs of work at the shop, which you will be able to collect even if school is closed.
We have created a school Google account for every pupil, something which we normally do for pupils in Class 2 and 3. These accounts give the children access to the Google Docs range of applications, including word processing and presentation software. They will then be able to share their work with their class teacher, as well as work collaboratively with their friends without needing to be in the same building. These accounts are managed by School and are set in such a way that the children can only be contacted by, and receive e-mail and documents from other users within Jurby School. As the administrator of the accounts I can view any messages sent, or view documents created by all users.
Clearly our plans are still very fluid, but the key message is to monitor our website and Facebook Page.
In the event of a school closure, particularly if it is for a number of weeks communication between home and school will be vital, and we are offering a number of different ways that you can contact us, these include:-
Via e-mail - If you wish to send an e-mail please send it to JurbyHeadteacher@sch.im I will then either respond myself or forward it on to another member of staff. I will endeavour to respond to all messages within 48 hours. If I become ill myself other members of staff will have access to this e-mail address. Other e-mail addresses will not be monitored.
Via Facebook - If you wish to send a private message to our school Facebook Page please do so. Either myself or another member of staff will respond within 48 hours.
Via the Phone - The school phone number (897651) will be diverted, so you will still be able to speak to me directly if you wish, Monday to Friday from 8.30am until 5.00pm.
Via Text - If you would like to speak to another member of staff please text us on our normal text number 166629, and we will do our best to respond. Again please allow us 48 hours to respond, and bear in mind that some of our staff may become ill themselves or have family members who need their support.
As a school we are aware that we have a number of children with complex needs, many of whom will struggle with the changes in routine and great uncertainty that is taking place. Whilst none of us are experts, all of the staff are here to help, even if it is remotely. If over the next few weeks you find yourself struggling and would like some advice, or just somebody to listen to you, please use any of the options outlined above to get in touch. Staff will not judge you, or think any less of you if you ask for some advice. I would ask though that you only use the methods outlined above, and even if you do have a member of staffs personal phone number, or are friends with them on social media that you respect their privacy, as it maybe that they themselves are ill or struggling to cope and don’t feel able to respond immediately.
Finally medical advice is changing rapidly with regard to who should and should not be self isolating, undertaking social distancing, and for how long. If you are unsure if your child should be attending school, please refer to https://www.gov.im/coronavirus
Mr W Nelson