26th November 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
Regrettably, we have had to take the decision to close the school tomorrow. Students must not attend; if they do we will send them home. This is due to the current impact of COVID-19 and other sickness absences at Arts and Media School Islington.
You will be aware from the school’s communications since September that we have made every effort to continue to provide a broad and ambitious education for all of our students whilst maintaining an environment that is as safe as possible. Our determination has been to provide a sense of normality and structure for our young people, many of whom adversely felt the effects of the first national lockdown and the closure of schools. We have also, with the support of the local authority and Islington’s Public Health England team, followed a policy of thoroughly investigating all cases of COVID-19 within the school and keeping the numbers of students required to self-isolate to an absolute (but safe) minimum.
As of the end of today (26 November) the school has 16 members of staff absent due to general absences, illness and most significantly self-isolation related to Covid-19. Within this group of absences are 13 teachers representing 27% of our capacity in this area. In addition, 2 of our 5 Heads of Year are also currently absent. We have had 2 confirmed positive cases for staff members and any close contacts have therefore had to self isolate.
We have attempted to secure the services of supply teachers to address the above shortfall but the impact of the spread of the COVID-19 virus means that the demand from all secondary schools in the area has increased significantly in recent weeks. This in turn has led to an acute shortage of available supply staff. As a school we seek to only employ supply staff when absolutely necessary and when we can be assured of their quality and subject-specialist knowledge. The current circumstances mean that it is extremely difficult to be confident that our expectations around high standards in this area would be maintained.
I have discussed our current situation with Public Health, the Local Authority and our Chair of Governors who are in agreement with our decision to close on Friday 27th November to allow us time to risk assess further on our next steps.
Our intention is to open fully on Monday but if this is not possible we will inform you as soon as we are able to as we may have to have a year group remote learning at home for a specified period.
This is not a decision that we have taken lightly. We apologise for the additional disruption to learning and your home life.
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 you and send any relevant updates to you as promptly as possible.
Students should access work from Google Classrooms as staff will be setting work to be completed.
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