We are all presently experiencing really strange times.
First of all, can I thank you all for your contribution to our “New Schooling” documents.
It is really important that we are transparent in all our decision making processes. Your comments have been incredibly useful in scoping our revised documents. They can be viewed here.
So where are we up to?
Last week we continued work on our risk assessments. Many of you have been contacted by staff from schools. Thank you for your input. Staff are presently been asked about their home and personal circumstances. Our premises teams are carrying out evaluations of all our buildings (and surrounding areas) to ensure we can make them as safe as possible. All of this work, we found out last Friday, is being undertaken under a backdrop of a rising “R rate” in our local areas.
Can I refer to you to the first of our “tests”.
We saw, through feedback from our consultation, that almost every respondent stated that they agreed with our policy of measuring the rate of transmission (of the virus) within our communities. We plan to publish all available data on a regular basis on our websites. However, on Friday evening I was told that one significant indicator (the R level) had crept above 1 in both Tameside and Oldham.
The government’s scientists have consistently said the lockdown can only be eased if the R rate – showing the average number of people to whom one infected person will pass the virus – remains below 1. If it is higher, that suggests exponential spread of the virus. Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said in his weekly press conference that the North West was has some “worrying statistics”.
When the R rate is above 1, in the opinion of many experts, it makes the further opening up of schools (and wider easing of the lockdown) incredibly risky.
So, from our organisations’ perspective, we will continue at a pace that is prudent and cautious. We will assess our 5 tests, we will continue to carry out our risk assessments, we will keep you all informed at every step.
I’m absolutely aware that the virus continues to cause massive disruption to us all, but particularly to our children, young people and their families. However, it is imperative that we proceed to evaluate all the information at hand and adhere to our key principle, that we set out in March, to ensure every single one of our children, young people and staff members are kept safe. We will do our utmost to ensure this virus does not impact on our organisations and wider communities.
As always, if anyone feels they need to discuss any issue of our approach, I am very happy to deal with any queries or questions you may have. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take care – stay safe,
You can find all Graham’s previous updates and blog entries here