St John Plessington Catholic College

13-Dec-20 Urgent Message from Headteacher

Dear Parents and Carers

I write to inform you of some urgent changes within school that I have had to make from tomorrow, week commencing Monday 14th December 2020. 

Unfortunately, over the last  few days we have had a small number of pupils who have tested positive.  Close contacts of these pupils have been identified and contacted by school following Department for Education and Public Health England guidelines.


In addition, I have been informed that 7 members of staff have also tested positive and as a result the NHS mobile app has picked up school staff being in close contact and has issued them with a self isolation message.  Consequently, as I  have a number of staff who are required to self isolate as well as staff who are not in school for other non-Covid related reasons, there is insufficient staffing available to ensure the safe opening of the school for all year groups. 

To ensure that we have a sufficient staff:pupil ratio, I have no option but to ask years 8, 9 and 10, in the first instance, to work from home for the remainder of this term.  I will ensure that staff are setting appropriate and sufficient work on Google Classroom to complete during this time.  We are aware of children who do not have computer/internet access and we will be making arrangements for a device to be collected.  lease contact your child’s Head of Learning immediately via the school office email;  if your circumstances have changed and you now require the loan of a device/paper resources.

Years 7, 11, 12 and 13 should attend school as normal.

I do hope that you will appreciate that I have not taken this decision lightly and always with the health and safety of our pupils, staff and families at the centre of the decision making process.  I recognise and do not underestimate the impact that this will have on pupils, parents and carers.  

Additionally, I have been asked by Public Health Wirral to share the following information with parents:

“It has also come to our attention that some parents are incorrectly taking their children for an asymptomatic test if they have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case and have been self-isolated from school.  In doing so, they are wrongly assuming that if that child tests negative, they can return immediately to school.  This is NOT the case. 

As from Monday 14 December, if a pupil or member of staff has been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case and has been told to self-isolate, they MUST isolate for the full 10 days.  Taking an asymptomatic test is completely irrelevant, as a negative test will only be valid for that point in time.  The virus can still develop after that point (up to the end of the isolation period).  I would also like to point out that if a pupil or member of staff, having been told that they must self-isolate after having been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case, MUST NOT breach the self-isolation guidance by going out of the house to get a test.” 

I would also like to remind you that Wirral is currently in Tier 2: High alert.  I have highlighted below some of the key restrictions that remain in place during this time. 

In Tier 2 you:

  • must wear a face covering in most indoor public settings, unless they have an exemption including public transport and school communal areas
  • should follow the rules on meeting others safely
  • should walk or cycle where possible, plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes when travelling
  • you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make, where possible

I will continue to update you with any further developments should they arise.  I still plan to reopen the College for all pupils to return on Tuesday 5th January 2021.  In the meantime, please ensure that your child has at least 2 face coverings in school, as it is absolutely essential that they are worn at all times in communal areas and on the way to and from school.

I do hope that all members of our College community and their families remain safe during these challenging times.  Please be assured that we are doing everything that we can to reduce the spread and remain open for as many pupils as we possibly can.  

Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Head of Learning should you have any concerns.

Yours sincerely

Ms M Sharratt