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Coronavirus Update

17th September 2020
Dear Parents,
Apologies for the mid-week email, but the situation as regards the pandemic necessitates the further giving of information.
Firstly, masks. The majority of students are wearing masks. However, there are a number who are consistently forgetting them, and I would ask that in the coming days you provide your child with cloth masks – the disposable blue masks are proving inadequate in the face of the wear and tear to which they are subjected, so as soon as possible I would ask that you invest in sturdier models! I am very anxious to protect all our students and staff, and would be grateful if you could emphasise to your children the importance of adhering by the School guidelines: masks must be worn in all inside areas area where students may mix across bubbles.
Secondly, we are making preparations for Covid related disruption to the curriculum, although we remain committed to ensuring that any disruption to students’ education is as limited as possible. As you know, we have 3 bubbles at school. Other schools have already experienced bubbles having to be sent home, so we would like to share with you our plans for that occurrence. Should we be advised that either a student or an adult has tested positive, the local Rapid Risk Assessment Team will visit us and instruct us further. This may mean we are instructed to send one bubble home. In this scenario all parents will receive a letter with further instructions, and the bubble concerned will revert to our Virtual Learning Programme.
We very much hope that this will not happen, but are aware that there will be increasing numbers of students and staff who will need to be away from School if they, or members of their household, have Covid symptoms and await tests. For this reason, we are putting the following into place:
  • Should your child be unwell for any reason, please complete the Google survey https://forms.gle/f3LAdR6hkwKGjffo8
  • If your child is unwell with a non-Covid illness, they should (in the usual way) make contact with their tutor and teachers when they feel well enough to do so, and request details of any work they have missed.
  • If you report that a student is away from School because they, or others in their household, are awaiting a Covid test, we will inform their teachers. You will appreciate that there are complexities with teaching students in School at the same time as teaching students who are at home through Teams.  Teachers will re-think their lesson plans and activities and ensure any necessary materials are uploaded to Teams and as a result we will ensure that students at home will be able to access live lessons within 48 hours of parents communicating Covid related student absence.
In order to ensure that we are prepared, we are asking that students keep all their books and files at home, and only bring in what they need for each day’s lessons. (They will be able to use their lockers so they are not carrying too many books and files at any one time.) This means that should individual students need to stay at home, or a bubble be sent home overnight, all students will have the materials they need for their lessons.
Sarah Richardson
Head
8th September 2020
You will no doubt be aware that cases of Covid-19 are increasing in the UK.
We are working hard to keep students in their bubbles, but keeping students apart in the corridors and communal spaces as they travel between lessons is proving difficult. As a result we have made the decision to ask that all staff and students (unless they are exempt on medical grounds) wear face masks unless they are either in a classroom, eating their lunch in the dining room or outside. For the sake of clarity, face masks should be worn in corridors, stairwells, in the library and toilets and any other spaces where it is challenging to ensure social distancing between bubbles. Staff will be asked to remind students to put on their masks as they leave each lesson.
I therefore ask that, with immediate effect, you send your child/children to school with their own face mask. We do have a small supply to give out, and students who forget masks may go to Reception to ask for one.
Fortunately the weather looks to be improving for the next 10 days, and we will continue to encourage students and staff to be outside as much as possible.
Kind regards,
Sarah Richardson
Head
Mount House School

10th June 2020

Dear Parents,
Several important changes have been made to the way we have arranged desks in classrooms, and indeed the entire physical environment. Most importantly, we have given much thought to the way our students are expected to conduct themselves in school while concern about the risk of infection remains.

All our staff are attending a briefing meeting on 11th June to discuss our Risk Assessment, which is now online for you to view HERE.

With kind regards,
Ian Davies
Headmaster

21st May 2020

Dear Parents,
I wrote separately this week to parents of students in Years 10 and 12 to inform them that, in line with the recommendations from the Government, we intend to open the school to these students with effect from Monday 8th June. This is, of course, subject to the national and local situation, which I hope very  much will continue to improve. Please find HERE, for your interest, the Guide for our return to school which was also sent to parents of students in Years 10 and 12. It is worth emphasising that the total number of students in the school will not exceed 60, and the total number of staff will be fewer than 40. This will enable first-class social distancing procedures to be in place as we emerge from enforced  lockdown.

With kind regards,
Ian Davies
Headmaster

6th May 2020

Dear Parents,

Two weeks into our Virtual Learning Programme for the Summer Term, you will be pleased to know that our provision is attracting  the attention of other schools near and far. Feedback from our own parents make it clear that some initial teething problems before Easter were quickly resolved, and students are happily engaged with both their academic studies and wide ranging activities and extension programmes.

Full details of our Programme can be found HERE.

The advantages of our BLENDED approach become clearer as the days progress, with our students enjoying the healthy mix of appropriate and timely input from teachers alongside the opportunity to develop the skills of a more Independent approach to Learning.

I continue to be impressed by the support provided by all parents in these difficult times.

I am sure you will be pleased to hear that the Senior Leadership Team is meeting on a regular basis to construct a viable plan for the return of our students to our lovely buildings and grounds. Much depends, of course on the announcement on Sunday, after which  we will update you when our plans have been finalised.

With kind regards,
Ian Davies
Headmaster
School Closure

Dear Parents

I am very pleased that initial reports from parents have been almost entirely positive about the online learning experience of our students so far this week, and I am very appreciative of all the feedback given.

As you know, several Mount House pupils are children of key workers, so the School has been open to date to be available to care for these children.  However, having spoken individually to every key worker, I have been assured that alternative arrangements have now been made, and this means that the School site has no need to remain physically open.

Therefore, from 1600 Wednesday 25th March 2020, the School site will be closed, with all our teachers and support staff working from home to ensure continuity of learning for our students.

We will review this position on Monday 20th April.

In the meantime, I hope you remain safe and well throughout this testing time.

With kindest regards

Ian Davies

Headmaster

Maintaining Our Pupils’ Education

Whilst this is a time of uncertainty, we have been anticipating and preparing for the continued learning of all pupils, and all staff at the School are doing everything they can to maintain high quality resources and guidance for children to work on, and enhance the education and pastoral welfare of all our students. The following summarises the plans we have put in place:

1. Our students have been directed to establish a daily working routine, and to follow their normal School timetable of lessons.

2. Lessons, tasks and activities will be posted on Show My Homework by 9am each day during term time. In addition, where possible, teachers will be using Microsoft Teams to live-stream lessons. All students and staff have access to this via their School email and password.

3. All students are expected to complete “classwork” and homework in the usual way.

4. Completed work can be submitted to teachers for marking by School email. Assessed work will be returned to students via email.

5. Weekly PSHE activities and resources are being made available to all students.

6. We will conduct weekly assemblies online via video using Microsoft Teams.

7. Led by our English Department, students are all encouraged to contribute to the “Covid Chronicle” – a student led publication showcasing work that has been completed by students throughout the week.

8. Virtual House events will also be happening.

This is a worrying and upsetting time for everyone, including our students, and so to protect the wellbeing of every student, and maintain the high-quality pastoral care our families have come to expect from Mount House, all form tutors will be maintaining personal contact with pupils by phoning them three times a week during term time.

To reduce the risk of the spread of the virus, we continue to implement an increased and sustained programme of sanitising and cleaning of the School to maintain meticulous hygiene standards, and we will undertake an additional thorough deep clean of the School over the Easter break.

We are extremely proud of our School community in how they have dealt with the uncertainties, and we thank you for your on-going support throughout these challenging times. If we pull together as the supportive community we are, we can together ensure that our children make the best use of their time at home.

With best wishes

Ian Davies

Headmaster

How to find us

Mount House School
Camlet Way, Hadley Wood
Herts EN4 0NJ