Letters to Parents
18 March 2020
Although we are an independent school, we will be following government directives as we have throughout. Therefore, from the end of school on Friday, Unicorn will close for all pupils except for those who are children of key workers. Over the next two days we will send out further information, primarily based on short term closure, until the official start of our school’s holiday next Thursday. In time you will get further information if schools are to be closed, as seems likely, after the Easter break.
Please can you contact us if you are keyworkers and entitled to have your children continue to attend school during the general closure. Myself, Mr Mathias and Mrs Fraley, as our Designated Safeguarding Lead, will be able to talk to you about your individual circumstances.
With further announcements to come in the coming days, I wish you all well.
16 March 2020
As many of you will know, one of the new measures the Prime Minster announced today included an extension of a measure first announced on Friday.
If one person in any household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must stay at home for 14 days.
Therefore, I am afraid this must be put into action immediately. That includes any children who may have come to school today but have a family member at home because of a cough or high fever. There are further implications as this takes us into the school holidays. There will be correspondence about this in due course.
Please email me, your child’s class teacher, and ‘absences’, if your children will be absent from school as a result of this new measure.
16 March 2020
As we continue to follow Government and PHE advice the school remains open.
For the remainder of the term, unless directed otherwise, we will run a normal school timetable. This means that lessons, including games lessons, will continue as normal.
Before and after school clubs will also continue unless you hear otherwise from the person or company who runs the club.
However, these additional events will be cancelled.
Monday 16 March
CANCELLED Hockey Tournament and New Malden (Violet Class)
CANCELLED Tea Time Music Recital
Tuesday 17 March
CANCELLED Richmond Singing Festival (Indigo, Violet and UV)
Wednesday 18 March
CANCELLED Unicorn Singers to Music for Youth Festival
Thursday 19 March
CANCELLED Assembly – Violet Macbeth
Friday 20 March
CANCELLED UV Gym Display
CANCELLED Yellow Class Mother’s Day Cake Sale
Sunday 22 March
CANCELLED Musical Theatre – Rehearsal
Monday 23 March
CANCELLED Virtues Assembly
CANCELLED UV to Holly Lodge – Junior Citizenship
CANCELLED Matches v Falcons (Violet Class)
Tuesday 24 March
CANCELLED Musical Theatre – Oliver!
Wednesday 25 March
UNDER REVIEW Police Dog visiting Red Class
CANCELLED Musical Theatre – Oliver!
Thursday 26 March
CANCELLED Prize Giving Assembly
Term finishes at 12pm on Thursday 26 March.
For the item under review, the class teacher will keep you informed.
We will notify you of significant further developments as appropriate.
Thank you for your understanding.
13 March 2020
As the situation regarding the Covid-19 virus continues to evolve rapidly, we continue to follow the guidance from Public Health England whilst doing our utmost to protect our community and keep everyone informed.
Yesterday you will have received an update following new government advice that anyone with a persistent cough or high temperature is now being advised to self-isolate for seven days, as the UK government moves to the “delay” phase of its plan to tackle coronavirus. We are asking your help in keeping your children at home please if they have either of these symptoms. A high temperature is seen as anything over 37.8 degrees. Please email absences, your child’s class teacher and me, if this is the case.
Following the prime minister’s briefing yesterday you can find all the latest information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
In the event of lessons at Unicorn being disrupted, all parents will have received, or be receiving, an email from their class teacher updating you on our response plan, relevant to the age of your child. If you have any questions about this, please email the class teacher.
The ski trip: Mr Mathias will be contacting relevant parents.
Please read the latest newsletter for school events and sports fixtures that have been cancelled for next week. If, following risk assessments and conversations with other schools, we have to cancel or modify any other events, or restrict visitors into school, you will be notified.
We recognise that within our community there will be families with specific situations who may be considered high risk, should they contract the virus. If you feel that it would be prudent to keep your child at home at any stage during the virus outbreak, please let us know. We would, however, ask that you notify us should you wish to keep your child out of school, as mentioned above.
Currently there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Unicorn and therefore we continue to follow government advice to keep the school open. Please be assured that we would alert all parents if we were to have a confirmed case within the school community.
Finally, the children, like all of us, will have varying levels of anxiety and so we ask you to combine the necessary imparting of information to them with a balanced approach.
12 March 2020
Following previous messages regarding our response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), today the government has given the following additional but significant advice:
Anyone with a persistent cough or high temperature is now being advised to self-isolate for seven days, as the UK government moves to the “delay” phase of its plan to tackle coronavirus.
Please could all families follow this advice from now.
We continue to follow government advice, led by scientific advice, to keep the school open, and, for the moment, would only close if Public Health England advised us to do so.
We follow the ongoing situation and will update you accordingly.
3 March 2020
I am writing to provide an update on the School’s ongoing response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We would ask that you all keep abreast of the latest advice from Public Health England (PHE), which the School is following, together with that from the NHS. A list of useful links, with factual, up to date and unbiased information is contained at the bottom of this email. We are continuing to monitor and follow the advice from PHE.
Families travelling to/from affected areas or having had contact with people who have done so
If you have recently travelled to any category 1 country/area affected by coronavirus (click here), or been in close contact with someone who has, you are asked not to visit the School for 14 days after arrival in the UK, even if symptom free. You should immediately call NHS 111 and self-isolate. You must also notify me by email.
Anyone who has travelled to a category 2 country/area (click here), or been in close contact with someone who has, and subsequently develops symptoms (temperature, coughing, shortness of breath) should call NHS 111 and self-isolate. You are asked not to visit the School but notify us via email as outlined above.
School trips, including sports matches and music concerts, coming up before the end of term
At this stage and based on current advice, there are no plans to cancel any of these, however, there remains a risk of cancellation should PHE/the Government update their advice. If you have any questions regarding upcoming trips, please contact the member of staff in charge.
Reminders to children
We are reminding the children on a regular basis of the simple steps they can be taking to minimise the spread of all respiratory illnesses including COVID-19. The attached poster, copies of which are displayed in the School, is a useful source of information, which we continue to share. We would encourage all parents to remind their children of this practical advice.
Useful websites for advice and guidance:
Public Health England (information for the public): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
Public Health England (information for educational settings) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19
Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) travel guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus#foreign–commonwealth-office-fco-travel-advice
As the Easter holidays approach we will provide further updates.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding.
25 February 2020
Thank you for taking time to read and digest emails sent out this morning by Mr Mathias. The situation regarding Coronavirus is ever changing and, like may of you, we continue to keep a close eye on developments.
It is very important that if you have returned from any of the areas mentioned as being in lockdown that you self-isolate. This applies to all members of the family if they have been to the area. If you are returning from one of these areas to re-join your family you must remain out of contact from them otherwise they will have to remain with you in isolation for 14 days.
Please could you email me directly if you have returned from these specific areas since February 19 to confirm that you are following advice to stay indoors and not make contact with other people even if you do not have symptoms:
- Specific lockdown areas in Northern Italy as designated by the Government of Italy (see below)
- Special care zones in South Korea as designated by the Government of the Republic of South Korea
- Hubei province (returned in the past 14 days)
Please can you also email me if you have returned from these areas since February 19 even if you have no symptoms, and even if it was just in transit via an airport or port. We can then be aware if your child develops symptoms, however mild. If any of you develop symptoms you should then stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people immediately and call NHS111.
- Northern Italy (see below)
Please could you also email me, for our records, if you visited any of the places mentioned above since Monday 10 February but returned to the UK prior to 19 February.
We all take this very seriously and want to help limit the spread of this virus.
We also want to ensure people do not cast aspersions on others. There will be a range of emotions and we want to ensure that we remain a supportive community throughout.
25 February 2020
There has been some updated advice from the Government regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Mr Thompson has asked me to forward details.
One key change is that if you have returned from the specific lockdown area in Northern Italy or from Iran then you should call NHS111 and self-isolate irrespective of whether you have symptoms.
Furthermore, if you have returned from Northern Italy (excluding the specific lockdown area) and develop symptoms, however mild, you should call NHS111 and self-isolate.
It is very important to follow this advice and if you have any queries please come back to me or Mr Thompson.
The full advice from the Government for Returning travellers is as follows :
Based on the scientific advice of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) the UK Chief Medical Officers are advising anyone who has travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and is experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath, to stay indoors and call NHS 111, even if symptoms are mild.
We are carrying out enhanced monitoring of direct flights from these areas. Passengers will be told how to report any symptoms they develop during the flight, at the time of arrival, or after leaving the airport.
These areas have been identified because of the volume of air travel from affected areas, understanding of other travel routes and number of reported cases. This list will be kept under review.
If you have returned from these specific areas since February 19, you should call NHS111 and stay indoors and avoid contact with other people even if you do not have symptoms:
• Specific lockdown areas in Northern Italy as designated by the Government of Italy
• Special care zones in South Korea as designated by the Government of the Republic of South Korea
• Hubei province (returned in the past 14 days)
If you have returned from these areas since February 19th and develop symptoms, however mild, you should stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people immediately and call NHS111. You do not need to follow this advice if you have no symptoms.
• Northern Italy (defined by a line above, and not including, Pisa, Florence and Rimini),
25 February 2020
Further to the email below regarding the updated advice from the Government the list of towns in the specific lockdown area in Northern Italy are as follows :
- Vo’ Euganeo
- Castiglione d’Adda
- Terranova dei Passerini
- San Fiorano
11 February 2020
Dear Parents and Staff
With half term approaching I wanted to follow up on my email last week. The situation regarding the coronavirus is ever changing and if you are travelling over half term please keep abreast of advice.
Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice. 10 February.
The FCO is currently advising against all travel to Hubei Province, and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China.
The FCO is not advising against travel to any other country/territory as a result of coronavirus risks. FCO travel advice remains under constant review to ensure it reflects our latest assessment of risks to British people. Find more information about how we put FCO travel advice together and make decisions on advising against travel in our travel advice guidance page.
As of 10 February British Government advice is:
Based on the scientific advice of SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group Emergencies) the UK Chief Medical Officers are advising anyone who has travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and is experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath, to stay indoors and call NHS 111, even if symptoms are mild.
We continue to emphasise good hygiene practice in school.