Letter sent to Musselburgh Grammar School parents/carers regarding temporary introduction of remote learning for all S5 and S6 students

Dear Parent/ Carer,

IMPORTANT COVID-19 UPDATE: Sunday 6 December 2020

As you are aware, it was confirmed towards the end of last week that a small number of people from the school had tested positive for COVID-19. This resulted in a number of people who had been in close and sustained contact with these individuals, being asked to self-isolate as a precaution.

We worked closely with NHS Lothian’s Public Health Team to carry out the contact tracing process and inform parents promptly and efficiently.

As you would rightly expect, our number one priority is always to prioritise the health and safety of all staff and pupils whilst maintaining high-quality learning and teaching.

Remote learning for all S5 and S6 students

A high percentage of those self-isolating as a result of these most recent cases are students in S5 and S6. We also have a situation where fewer than normal teaching staff will be in school during the week ahead. This means we have had to consider the best way of maintaining high quality learning and teaching for students at all levels, as well as continuing to prioritise the health and safety of the whole school community.

As a result, we have decided that all S5 and S6 students will be asked to work remotely from home for aweek commencing Monday 7th December. While there is no requirement for those S5 and S6 students who were not previously contacted to self-isolate, they should not attend school in person. We appreciate that this decision may be frustrating and inconvenient, however, we believe it is the right decision in the interests of everyone’s health and safety and to ensure that we can continue to provide continued education for our students, which is always our top priority.

We believe that this temporary measure of introducing blended learning for one week is the most effective and productive solution for all S5 and S6 students in the week ahead. It avoids a situation where teaching resources are split between working with limited numbers of students in school and those who are selfisolating. It means we will be able to deliver a consistent quality of learning experience for all S5 and S6 students via remote learning.

We want to reassure parents that appropriate tasks and assignments will be readily available for S5 and S6 students from Monday via Google Classroom. Any student who does not have a device to access the work should contact Ms Craigie (DHT) at the school on Monday morning and the school will provide a device. Mr Gerrie will be writing separately to S5 and S6 families with further information. As you are already aware, we have developed remote/blended learning as a contingency, should it be required.

This action will also help us to minimise transmission of the virus and help protect younger students, who should continue to attend school if they remain well and have no symptoms of COVID-19.

We have discussed this decision with NHS Lothian’s Health Protection Team, with whom East Lothian Council works closely.

All students in S1-4 to attend school as normal

For students in S1-4 who can continue to attend school as normal, our message is that the school is safe and remains open. It continues to be the case that enhanced cleaning and infection control measures are in place with national guidance.

Thank you for your support

While the decision to move to remote learning for S5 and S6 pupils this week has not been an easy decision to make, we appreciate your continued support.

It highlights that there is no room for complacency and that the virus continues to present a significant risk. That’s why it is important that everyone continues to follow the really important national public health advice, including the importance of observing ‘FACTS’ - including wearing face coverings where recommended, avoiding crowded areas, cleaning hands, two-metres physical distancing and self-isolating if symptoms develop.

Staying safe is our number one priority. Our school community has taken every pre-caution possible to limit the transmission of Covid-19 throughout this pandemic. We are immensely proud of the work of staff (teaching and non-teaching), students and the support of parents under extremely difficult and unprecedented circumstances. This has enabled us to maintain high-quality learning and teaching since the re-opening of the school in August.

The school will provide you with further updates as appropriate and we look forward to seeing our S5 and S6 pupils again in school very soon.

Please do not hesitate to contact the school team if you have any questions.

If you have any concerns in the meantime, or if you need to book a COVID-19 test because your child has developed symptoms (high temperature, a new continuous cough and/or a loss or change in sense of smell or taste) please visit the NHS Inform website www.nhsinform.scot or for non-clinical advice call 0800 028 2816.

Lesley Brown, Head of Education and Children's Services, East Lothian Council
Colin Gerrie, Head Teacher, Musselburgh Grammar School

Published: Sunday, 6th December 2020