Coronavirus information for parents
Due to the rapidly changing situation, we are maintaining regular communication with our parents regarding our plans for the coming weeks and months. As I am sure you will understand, it is very difficult to predict what might happen, but we have taken steps in school to plan as best we can for future events and would appreciate parents' support and understanding in this.
Detailed information for parents can be found here: COVID-19 Information Letter to Parents
This document will help parents to talk about Coronavirus with younger children: Advice about the Coronavirus
Making sense of the news: Coronavirus
What is a coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a type of virus that causes respiratory infections (like coughs and colds). Covid-19 is the name that has been given to a disease caused by a new coronavirus that was first discovered towards the end of last year, in China. Since the first infections were reported it has started to spread around the world.
Why are people worried about Covid-19?
Because Covid-19 is caused by a new virus, scientists and medical experts are still trying to work out exactly how it behaves. They know that it is contagious (can be caught by touching people or things that are infected with it) but they are still not quite sure how long a person who is infected by the virus remains a risk to other people. It’s hard to know who is infected as not everyone has the same symptoms and some people may be infectious before they start to suffer from any of the symptoms. Also, because this coronavirus is new, people do not have any immunity to it – this means that our bodies are not able to defend against it yet. However, although there have been some deaths as a result of the new coronavirus, and it has made some people very ill, most people who have caught Covid-19 haven’t been seriously affected and quickly recover. It is important to know that a majority of the people who died were already in poor health. Children who have caught the virus don’t seem to suffer serious symptoms – in most cases it is no worse than having a cold.
What can I do to help stop it spreading?
The best thing that everyone can do is simply to keep their hands clean. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly – particularly before eating, after going to the toilet and after coughing or sneezing. If you do need to cough or sneeze, do it into a tissue. Dispose of the tissue immediately and then wash your hands well. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow as this will stop the virus spreading into the air around you, onto surfaces or other people (the droplets that come out of your mouth or nose may contain the virus). Keep unwashed hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. You should also stay away from people who are coughing and sneezing. It’s also important to look after your own health by eating a healthy diet, drinking enough water, exercising and getting the right amount of sleep.
How do I wash my hands properly?
First wet your hands with warm water, then add soap and rub your palms together. Next wash the back of your hands, between your fingers, your thumbs, fingernails and wrists. Keep washing for as long as it takes for you to sing Happy Birthday twice (around 20 seconds), then rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use hand sanitiser.
What is the Government doing to protect people?
The Government has a plan for handling an outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK. Since it is likely that there will be more infections over the coming weeks and months, they are making sure that people understand how to wash their hands and look after their own health. They are encouraging people to act quickly if they suspect they have the coronavirus, so that they can avoid spreading it to others. They are also considering things such as closing schools, cancelling big events and encouraging people to work from home in order to slow down the spread of Covid-19. They say they will make sure that the National Health Service has enough money to look after the people who are seriously ill and they have promised to pay everyone who needs to take time off work because they are unwell. They have also told people not to panic because it is really important that we all continue to live our lives as normally as we can – while taking a bit of extra care to keep hands clean and reduce the risk of catching or spreading the virus.
What should I do if I think I might be infected?
The symptoms of Covid-19 are very similar to the common cold or flu but if you do suffer from a high temperature, a cough or shortness of breath and you think you may have been in contact with someone who has the virus, or you have recently visited an affected area, you should tell a trusted adult such as a parent, guardian or teacher as soon as possible. They will need to call the National Health Service helpline on 111 to get advice on what to do. If they think there is a chance that you or anyone in your family has been infected you will probably need to self- isolate (stay at home) for a couple of weeks. You would stay away from school and avoid other people and public places until it is certain that you aren’t infectious.
How worried should I be about Covid-19?
Don’t let it worry you too much. Although the new coronavirus seems to spread quickly, in most cases people don’t become seriously ill. If everyone does their best to prevent the virus from being passed on, the spread will slow down and scientists and doctors all around the world will be working hard to create a vaccine (to stop people catching it in the first place) as well as looking after anyone who is very unwell.
How to wash your hands