Precautionary coronavirus advice being offered by schools and sports associations in East Devon
PUBLISHED: 10:23 13 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:05 13 March 2020
With the number of diagnosed cases of coronavirus in Devon remaining static since Tuesday, various organisations are offering precautionary advice to try to prevent further spread of the disease.
Various schools have been sending advice to parents about the subject and sports associations have issued advice to players about how to approach matches in the coming weeks.
In a letter to parents, Colyton Grammar School headteacher Tim Harris reiterated advice from the government regarding its 'delay phase', saying as with other schools, it remains open..
In the letter, he said: 'In line with the expectations of other schools, we expect all students to be in school unless they are displaying the symptoms set out be the Government's medical and science advisors, ie: a new, continuous cough and or temperature of 37.8 (or above). In these cases, students must remain at home and self-isolate for seven days as outlined by new guidance from the Government.
'Otherwise, the advice is that in order for the delay phase measures to be effective students should not be kept home from school. This is because the Government's medical and science advisors state that self-isolation cannot be maintained for sufficient time to be effective, given that they suggest this phase might be for as long as 14 - 16 weeks.'
He also said that the school is consulting with tour operators over any forthcoming overseas trips and will be contacting those who are due to go, in due course.
He also said: that should the situation change and the school does close that plans are in place in regard to the setting of work and the use of digital technology to allow pupils to continue to learn.
At Exmouth Community College, it has put a statement on its website saying that its careers fair planned for Wednesday, March 18, has been cancelled for this year.
It said that despite their being no reported cases in the area, it felt it was 'in everyone's best interest to cancel the event'
In the statement it said: 'It is with deep regret that we have made the decision to cancel the careers fair in light of the ongoing news regarding the coronavirus...
'The careers fair involves a huge amount of work and commitment from external agencies and college staff and this is why it has always been such a massive success and a highlight in our calendar. Therefore we are hoping to postpone the event for a years time with the new date of Wednesday, March 17, 2021.'
More information is available of their websites.
Axminster Primary Academy have also been in touch with parents to keep them informed about any plans the school has, should the situation develop.
In a letter to parents, headteacher Ross Minton said: 'Following my letter of last week, it remains important that our response to this situation is proportionate: children do best in a calm environment, free from excessive worry.
'That said, clearly we must all take the right, sensible precautions to minimise risk. Most importantly, our schools continue to receive daily advice and updates from the Department for Education (DfE) and this advice, along with that from Public Health England, will continue to shape our response.'
He goes on to outline what the school is doing and says that it is important that school life should remain normal, 'albeit with these sensible adjustments, and so pupils should come to school as normal'.
He goes on to say: 'If a health professional such as a GP states that your child is medically vulnerable and needs to stay at home, please let your school know and this absence will be authorised. However, without a decision from a medical professional, any such absence would have to be on an unauthorised basis. We will of course keep this position under review as the situation develops further.'
Many other schools in the area are also keeping in touch with parents through letters and their own websites, as the situation develops.
Elsewhere, with a busy weekend of sports fixtures planned, players at Sidmouth and Ottery Hockey Club have been told that England Hockey is advising players to tap sticks rather than shake hands at either end of the game.
In England Hockey's statement, it said: 'Community hockey will continue to take place unless we are advised otherwise by government, and we will continue to update the Hockey Family on the situation.'
While it goes on to offer advice in respect of changing facilities and the importance of hygiene, it ends its statement with: 'Instead of the traditional handshake at the start and end of the game, we are encouraging players to tap sticks.
'A warm smile and thanks of appreciation to officials may be more appropriate at this current time.'
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