This is the dedicated page for all updates regarding Coronavirus (COVID 19)
***New Updates 17.4.20***
As a result of Kirsty Williams’ recent announcement regarding school closures in Wales, please be aware that school will be open on Thursday 19th March to Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 only. We would ask for all pupils in those year groups to attend school where possible.
On Friday 20th March, school will be open only to staff to allow them to prepare all work to support their learners fully at this extraordinary time.
Information about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. The incubation period of COVID-19 is between 2 and 14 days. This means that if a person remains well 14 days after contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, they have not been infected.
The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 infection
- difficulty in breathing; and/or
Generally, these infections can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, such as older people and/or those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. There is no evidence that children are more affected than other age groups – very few cases have yet to have been reported in children.
How COVID-19 is spread?
From what we know about other coronaviruses, spread of COVID-19 is most likely to happen when there is close contact (within 2 metres) with an infected person. It is likely that the risk increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. There are general principles anyone can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including
- Students experiencing symptoms such as fever & a persistent cough, (or with family members at home with such symptoms) must self-isolate as a household for 14 days
- washing your hands often – with liquid soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser if handwashing facilities are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport; covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin. Students, staff and visitors should wash their hands
1) before leaving home;
2) on arrival at school;
3) after using the toilet;
4) after breaks and sporting activities;
5) before food preparation;
6) before eating any food, including snacks; and
7) before leaving school.
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
- avoid close contact with people who are unwell;
- if you are worried about your symptoms or those of a child or colleague, please use the Coronavirus COVID-19 symptom checker on NHS Direct Wales. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment;
- see the latest information about novel coronavirus on the Public Health Wales website.
What the school is doing to support our students and staff:
- Produced a Business Continuity plan to prepare for immediate challenges such as staff absence and longer term implications such as whole school closure
How we are trying to reduce the risks to our school community:
Preventative Measures have been introduced including:
- Raising awareness of symptoms closely related COVID-19
- Identifying pupils and staff with underlying medical conditions which place them in the ‘at risk’ group
- Raised awareness of how to stay safe at school via regular hand washing with liquid soap
- Additional cleaning of high risk areas such as door handles, hand rails, etc.
- Cancelled or postponed all non-essential activities such as off-site visits, sporting fixtures etc.
What if we have to fully or partially close the school?
- The decision to close the school will only be made in consultation with the Local Authority and Governors.
- The school will only close where there is direct guidance/recommendation from appropriate authorities eg. Public Health Wales and/or where there are insufficient numbers of staff available to safely deliver an education to students.
- In the event of a school closure, staff will not be able to access the school site. Therefore, in this situation the school will:
- Provide students in all year groups with online materials to enable them to continue to learn independently – pupils in years 11 and 13 will have increased support to help them prepare for exams that are due to be held in the summer
- Provide paper-based materials for pupils who do not have access to either a mobile device and/or internet
- Communicate with families/students on a regular basis to provide updates – this will be done via the school’s dedicated page on the school website
- Give appropriate notice of when the school can expect to return to ‘normal practice’
- Communicate with relevant examination and awarding bodies to make them aware of any special consideration
- Continue to communicate with students and staff to ensure that they can still access support from within our school community. We are still available even if it is not face-to-face
How you can follow our updates:
Throughout the UK Government response phases to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) the school will work closely with relevant authorities to make decisions which are in the interests of all members of the community. However, to support the safety, wellbeing and continued learning of students the school asks that all families:
- Sign up to Twitter and follow @MaestegSchool to be able to access relevant information in the eventuality of a partial/full closure;
- Ensure that the school has the correct email address in order to maintain communication throughout the process;
- Talk to child(ren) about hygiene practices and make use of relevant sites to reduce anxiety.
Health & Wellbeing
For anyone feeling anxious, concerned or stressed about the current coronavirus situation, you can visit the Young Minds website where there are helpful tips on how to support your mental health. The Stem4 website has free resources,with a selection of PDF’s available to download.
Miss Thomas has created a PDF to help with your wellbeing whilst home from school. You can download the Take Time for You PDF here.
The EPC (Educational Psychology Service) offer support and guidance to families and learners. You can find a PDF from the EPC on self-care here. You can also find a PDF from the EPC on family-care here.
Parents Voices in Wales have been working with Sally Holland the Child Commissioner for Wales and Dr Elizabeth Gregory Consultant Psychologist on reducing the impact of the lockdown on childrens’ mental health and wellbeing. For more information, visit Childcomwales.org.uk where they have a dedicated coronavirus page set up here and blog here.
Talking to your child about Coronavirus/Isolation
The British Pyschological Society has produced a guide to help alleviate children’s anxieties around coronavirus. You can read that PDF here. The International OCD Foundation have released a similar document that can be read here.
The Year 9 immunisations that were to take place on 18.3.20 have been postponed. We will update parents/carers with a revised date for vaccination at a later date.
Special Families Maesteg
A team of volunteers who work with the local charity Special Families Maesteg are ready to lend a hand. If you need help with anything, get in touch with them today – You can register your interest and make inquiries by phoning 01656 856 950