I am writing to update you on the current impact of Covid-19 on St John Plessington Catholic College and our plans to address this. You will be aware from the school’s communications that we have made every effort to maintain full opening to all our students whilst maintaining an environment that is as safe as possible. We have had continued liaison with the Local Authority and Wirral Outbreak Hub to ensure that we are taking every action necessary to minimise disruption.
As of today (27th January 2022), the school has 26 members of staff absent due to general absences, illness and isolation related to Covid-19. Within this group are 23 teachers, representing over 21% of our capacity in this area. In addition, some key support staff are also currently absent.
We have attempted to secure the services of supply teachers to address the above shortfall but the growing impact of the spread of the Covid-19 Omicron virus in the North West means that the demand from all secondary schools in the region for these temporary cover teachers has dramatically increased in recent weeks. This in turn has led to an acute shortage of available supply staff. In addition we have been supervising pupils in the College Hall in larger groups to allow them to complete work on Google Classroom.
I have discussed our current situation with the Multi Academy Trust, local authority and our Chair of Governors. All parties are in unanimous agreement that the school needs to take exceptional steps in order to maintain our successful operation as an organisation and to continue to support the safety of all stakeholders.
As a result, I have reluctantly made the decision to introduce a revised timetable which means year 8 and 9 will work remotely from home on Friday 28th January and Monday 31st January in the first instance. I would like to assure all of our families that this decision has not been taken lightly and that if our circumstances change for the better then we will return to our normal operation as quickly as possible. However, if there are further teacher absences over the coming days then we may be forced to ask year groups to stay at home on additional days.
Please note that Years 7, 10, 11 and Sixth Form will remain in school full-time and will follow their normal timetable. We have prioritised these year groups due to a number of factors including the fact that they are preparing for their GCSE and Level 3 exams and they have already been disproportionately affected.
The school remains committed to providing a high-quality curriculum to all our students whether they are in school or learning from home. On the days that students are required to learn from home, work will be provided on Google Classroom and students can also communicate with their teachers via this platform. During today, we will ensure that any child who needs a device to be able to access Google Classroom is provided with one and they will bring them home from school this afternoon.
We will also provide supervision for pupils in these year groups who are classed as vulnerable / children of key workers. If you would like to take this offer up please email the relevant year team firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
We fully appreciate the impact that this will have on our young people and yourselves as parents and carers. We apologise for the additional disruption to learning and family life that these measures will inevitably bring but hope it is understood that the school would not be taking these exceptional measures unless it was absolutely essential to do so.
I am very grateful for your continued patience and understanding as well as your commitment to supporting your child’s learning and progress during any enforced absence from school. We will continue to communicate regularly with all our families and send any relevant updates to you as promptly as possible.
If you have any questions relating to this matter or require any additional information, please contact the school via our usual email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or the relevant year group email address email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms Maria Sharratt