Open Day

Coronavirus Updates

Posted: 14th February 2020

Daily Updates

THURSDAY 9th JULY

This bulletin will be the final bulletin for this term – we do wish you all a happy Summer holiday!

Two reports charting coronavirus cases in England show the number of people in the community with the disease is falling.

The Office for National Statistics estimates one in 3,900 people have Covid – 0.03% of the population, down from one in 2,200 the previous week.

And data from Public Health England shows confirmed cases fell by 25% in the week to 5 July.

The latest test and trace figures for England, for 25 June- 1 July were published on Thursday. They show:

  • Of everyone who had their case transferred to the contact-tracing system after testing positive, 3, 366 (77%) were reached and 2,552 provided details for at least one close contact
  • From the 77% of positive cases who were reached, 14,892 close contacts were identified, of whom 10,547 (71%) were reached and asked to self-isolate
  • Over this period, just over 300,000 new people were tested for Covid-19 under in England, with 1.3% testing positive.

MONDAY 6th JULY

A £1.57bn emergency support package to help protect the future of theatres, galleries and museums will not be enough to save every job, the Culture Secretary says.

Grants and loans would aim to preserve “crown jewels” in the arts sector, such as the Royal Albert Hall, national galleries and many local venues.

Independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues will also be eligible.

The Culture Secretary said institutions would have to apply through industry bodies and would be asked to prove how they contributed to wider economic growth.

He said the Government was confident the emergency package would protect the majority of jobs in the culture sector – but not all.

Guidance for a phased return of the performing arts, starting with performances behind closed doors and rehearsals, is expected to be published by the Government shortly.

FRIDAY 3rd JULY

In the first evening Downing Street briefing for more than a week, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson stressed the importance of all children once again attending school in England from September. Earlier, the Government communicated these measures to return pupils to school. Speaking alongside Jenny Harries, the Deputy Chief Medical officer for England, Mr Williamson, said it was important not to “underestimate the value that our children going back to school brings, not just them but the whole of society”. He added: “That is why we cannot sit back and cannot be in a position where we just say children cannot go back to school.”

Thursday 2nd July

The Government has published its safety plans for England’s return to school in September – built on the principle of keeping classes or whole year groups apart in separate “bubbles”.

The return will be based on separating groups of children into “bubbles” and minimising contacts between them, rather than social distancing.

It will mean:

  • Grouping children together in groups or “bubbles”, a class in primary and year group in secondary
  • Avoiding contact in school between these groups, with separate starting, finishing, lunch and break times
  • Attendance compulsory with the threat of penalty fines
  • Test and trace in place for schools
  • Regular cleaning of hands, but masks not expected for pupils or staff
  • Those with symptoms told to stay out of school
  • No big group events like school assemblies and arranging classrooms with forward facing desks
  • Separate groups on school buses and discouraging the use of public transport
  • Pupils will be expected to continue with all their GCSEs and A-levels

WEDNESDAY 1st JULY

Local authorities are to be given access to postcode-level data about the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in their areas after it was agreed with the Department of Health.

It comes after Leicester became the first city to have a local lockdown imposed, following a rise in cases.

Across the rest of England, the lockdown is set to ease further on Saturday with the reopening of bars, restaurants and hair salons, but the BMA said it wanted the Government to set metric “trigger points” for when action will be taken to reintroduce local and national restrictions.

The BMA said this metric should consider not only the regional reproductive number or R rate – the number of people that one infected person, on average, will pass the virus on to – but also the proportion of the population currently infected.

A Government spokesperson said it had been working closely with local partners, providing the resources and tools needed to take swift action to deal with any new local spikes in infection.

TUESDAY 30th JUNE

The EU has decided that from Wednesday EU borders will be reopened to citizens from 15 non-EU countries, including Canada, Morocco and Australia, but not the US, Brazil and Russia.

The so-called “safe travel destinations” are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

The UK and four other non-EU states – Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – are automatically included as “safe”.

The BBC’s Gavin Lee in Brussels says there was intense lobbying by representatives of the US, Russia and Turkey to get included on the list.

EU officials say the decision was based on a number of scientific factors:

  • Ensuring that the Covid-19 infection rate in the country was low enough (where nations had fewer than 16 in every 100,000 infected)
  • That there was a downward trend of cases
  • That social distancing measures were at “a sufficient level”

FRIDAY 26th JUNE

Spikes in coronavirus cases abroad should act as a warning to Britons who flout social distancing rules, Boris Johnson has said.

The Prime Minister said crowds on Bournemouth beach on Thursday suggested people needed to understand that “mingling too much” could set the UK back.

He said people in other countries had been “taking too many liberties with the guidance” as lockdown rules eased.

Ministers have warned UK beaches could be closed if infections rise.

But a combination of warm weather and the further easing of restrictions on 4 July means we are at a crucial juncture.

Much is being left to the good judgement, common sense and personal responsibility of people.

Government experts believe with the testing and tracing system in place the virus can continue be suppressed – but only if the public plays its part.

WEDNESDAY 24th JUNE

We will be welcoming back the return of our Year 2, Year 3, Year 4 and Year 5 groups to Prep School next week.

Nursery, Pre-School, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 have been enjoying being back at school with their teachers and friends. Year 10 and Year 12 pupils have started their phased part time/1:1 meetings back on the campus too.

We look forward to working towards a steady approach to a full school once again, when Government guidelines advise it is safe to do so.

TUESDAY 23rd JUNE

Pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers can open from 4th July in England, when social distancing rules will be eased.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said people should remain 2m apart where possible but a “one metre plus” rule will be introduced.

Two households in England will also be able to meet indoors and stay overnight – with social distancing.

The Prime Minister warned that all the steps were “reversible”.

The venues listed as being able to reopen include:

  • Pubs, bars and restaurants but only with a table service indoors, and owners will be asked to keep contact details of customers to help with contact tracing
  • Hotels, holiday apartments, campsites and caravan parks but shared facilities must be cleaned properly
  • Theatres and Music Halls but they will not be allowed to hold live performances
  • Weddings will be allowed to have 30 attendees, and places of worship will be allowed to hold services but singing will be banned
  • Hair Salons and Barbers will be able to reopen but must put protective measures, such as visors, in place
  • Libraries, community centres and bingo halls
  • Cinemas, museums and galleries
  • Funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks, amusement arcades, skating rinks and model villages
  • Indoor attractions where animals are exhibited, such as at zoos, aquariums, farms, safari parks and wildlife centres

Monday 22nd June

The Prime Minister will discuss the next stage regarding the hopeful further relaxation lockdown measures with senior scientific advisers and ministers today. He will set them out for the public on Tuesday. The expectation is that the Prime Minister will confirms pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers can start re-opening on 4th July. It looks likely, too, that the two-metre social distancing rule will be reduced

Saliva testing trial

A new “no swab” saliva coronavirus test that lets people collect their own sample at home is being trialled in Southampton. The hope is that it could provide an alternative to taking swabs from the nose and throat which can be uncomfortable and hard to do without help. Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the study is “highly promising”.

FRIDAY 19th JUNE

The UK’s coronavirus alert level has been downgraded from four to three, its chief medical officers have said.

Under level three, the virus is considered to be in general circulation and there could be a gradual relaxation of restrictions.

Previously transmission was considered to be “high or rising exponentially”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the change was “a big moment for the country” and showed that the Government’s plan was working.

When the Government first announced the alert system in early May, it also published a three-step plan to ease restrictions.

Step one, the first easing of lockdown, involved allowing people to take unlimited exercise and spend more time outdoors.

Step two permitted the gradual opening of schools and non-essential retail, which is the current situation.

The third step in the Government’s published plan, which it said was to take place no earlier than 4 July, includes opening further non-essential services like hairdressers and beauty salons, restaurants, pubs and leisure facilities.

THURSDAY 18th JUNE

The Government’s launched ‘test and trace system’ in England is showing a relatively positive result in its’ findings, even though some of the contacted population, have failed to return calls.

It comes as surveillance of the virus suggests falling rates of infection may have slowed.

An Office for National Statistics study for the Government found 10 positive cases in the past two weeks out of nearly 25,000 people tested in private households.

While not all people are engaging with the contact tracers, the figures published suggest that when they do, the system is doing a good job in finding those contacts.

9 in 10 close contacts provided by people testing positive were found and asked to self-isolate. That equated to more than 87,000 individuals.

Tuesday 16th June

A cheap and widely available drug can help save the lives of patients seriously ill with coronavirus.

The low-dose steroid treatment dexamethasone is a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus, UK experts say.

It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth.

And it could be of huge benefit in poorer countries with high numbers of Covid-19 patients.

The UK Government has 200,000 courses of the drug in its stockpile and says the NHS will make dexamethasone available to patients.

Monday 15th June

A review into the 2m social distancing rule, implemented to stop the spread of coronavirus, will be completed “in the coming weeks”, No 10 has said.

But Health Minister Edward Argar could not say if it would be done by the time pubs and restaurants in England are due to reopen on 4 July.

Non- essential shops start to re-open:

Mr Johnson said retail staff were “excited” and had done “a huge amount of work” to allow for safer shopping. But he said people must continue to respect social distancing measures.

Not all shops will raise the shutters on day one: the reopening will be gradual. But for many, it’s an important opportunity to welcome spending customers back in store.

Having spent time and money preparing safety measures, in line with “Covid-secure” guidelines, shop owners are hoping the public will have the confidence to return, and that they will follow rules on queuing and hygiene.

Some expect an initial surge of activity; others expect much lower levels of trade in the coming months, compared to before the crisis.

One reason is that social distancing will limit the number of customers in store, another is that the experience will be different. There will be less spontaneous browsing, for example, and no relaxing at a café or restaurant while most hospitality venues remain closed.

Thursday 11th June

The circulation of coronavirus is not currently down far enough to change the social distancing measures that we have in our schools across the UK.

The Government is planning a “catch-up” plan for pupils over the summer months, adding that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will be setting out more detail regarding this Summer plan, next week.

A-levels and GCSEs were cancelled this year by the pandemic – but the Education Secretary indicated that exams would go ahead in 2021.

People living alone in England will be able to stay at one other household as part of a further easing of coronavirus restrictions.

The Prime Minister announced that, from Saturday, single adults can spend the night at another house in a “support bubble”.

No 10 said the change aims to help combat loneliness and that people are being trusted to observe the rules.

The relaxation does not apply to those who are shielding, or other UK nations.

TUESDAY 9TH JUNE

The plan for all Primary school years in England to go back to school before the end of term is to be dropped by the Government.

There had been an aim for all primary pupils to spend four weeks in school before the Summer break.

It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock conceded at Monday’s Downing Street briefing that secondary schools in England may not fully reopen until potentially September.

Schools have remained open throughout the lockdown for children of key workers and vulnerable children.

But last Monday primary schools began the process of inviting back another two million children across three year groups.

Secondary pupils in Years 10 and 12 are to begin returning for some sessions in school from 15 June.

The Department for Education has argued that children need to get back to lessons – and that safety has been “paramount” in the plans to bring back more pupils.

The UK has recorded its lowest daily rise in the number of coronavirus deaths since before lockdown on 23 March, according to the latest Government figures.

Friday 5th June

Face coverings will become mandatory whilst travelling on public transport from 15th June. There will be fines associated with this ruling.

From the 8th June – all passengers must self isolate for 14 days, when arriving in the UK.

Government has stressed for people in the UK to not meet up with others inside over the predicted wet weather weekend, as fears that this will prompt a ‘spike’ in the spread of the virus.

Thursday 4th June

Travel to the UK:

Plans to force almost all arrivals to the UK to isolate for 14 days have been confirmed by the Home secretary. Priti Patel told the Commons that Border Force will check that travellers fill out a form with their contact details and location for isolation.

Ms Patel said the measures would be reviewed after three weeks and the Government would aim to ensure greater freedom in the long term, including establishing “international travel corridors” with countries deemed to be safe.

Social Distancing measures:

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has urged the public not to move gatherings indoors if it rains, as parts of the UK brace themselves for wetter weather. He said breaking the lockdown rules could “undermine and reverse all the progress that we’ve made together”.

But BBC Weather is forecasting cooler conditions and rain in the upcoming days – and Mr Johnson was particularly keen to stress that people’s response should not be to move their social gatherings indoors when rain falls.

Tuesday 2nd June

The number of people dying each week linked to coronavirus has dropped to its lowest levels in the UK since March, figures show.

Nick Stripe, of the Office for National Statistics, which compiles the data for England and Wales, said despite the number of overall deaths falling, we were effectively seeing the same number of deaths we would expect to see in winter.

Having a fully functioning test and trace system will be critical, as will the willingness and ability of the public to maintain recommended levels of social distancing.

Monday 1st June

The College welcomed back a large proportion of our Pre-School, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils to school today. All seem happy to see their friends, learn and have fun with the ‘socially distanced’ measures in place.

The Government has made updates to the UK restrictions, that has come into effect today:

SOCIALLY – up to 6 people from different households can meet, 2m apart, outdoors

BUSINESS – some non- essential businesses are allowed to trade, such as open air markets and car showrooms

SPORT – domestic competitive sports, such as horse racing and snooker are going ahead, with Championship football confirmed for 20th June and two F1 race meetings booked in at Silverstone over the Summer

Friday 29th May

Groups of up to six people from different households will be able to meet outside in England from Monday, the Prime Minister announced.

They can meet in gardens – in addition to parks – as long as households keep two metres apart.

These changes mean friends and family will start to meet loved ones, in what would be a “long awaited and joyful moment, the Prime Minister commented.

Speaking at Thursday’s Downing Street briefing, the Prime Minister told people they should “try to avoid seeing people from too many households in quick succession” to help “avoid the risk of transmission from lots of different families”.

It means people will be able to see both parents at once, or both grandparents at once.

Barbecues will be allowed, providing people are “scrupulous” about washing their hands, maintaining good hygiene and social distancing.

Thursday 28th May

Thousands of contact tracers are making their first phone calls to track down people who will be told to self-isolate under new test and trace schemes being launched in England and Scotland.

Tracers will text, email or call people who test positive with coronavirus and ask who they have had contact with.

Any of those contacts deemed at risk of infection will be told to isolate for 14 days, even if they are not sick.

Those who have already had the virus will also be asked to self-isolate.

The aim of the system is to lift blanket lockdown restrictions and move towards more localised, targeted measures.

An app to automatically alert people they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive is still being trialled on the Isle of Wight but the government hopes to have that system up-and-running in England “in the coming weeks”

Wednesday 27th May

Mr Jenrick, the Government’s communities secretary, explained that the ‘test and trace’ system the Government is planning to introduce in the UK, would have a “local element” and identify flare-ups in particular places, such as parts of towns, schools, hospitals and workplaces.

This would enable the Government to take action in that place which will be restrictive on the individuals who live and work there. As a result, the Government would be able to provide greater freedom to millions of other people across the country, enabling the Government to continue to ease the lockdown, ease the return to school, to work and to the daily activities that we all want to get back to.

Under Government plans to ease lockdown restrictions, the Joint Biosecurity Centre will identify changes in infection rates – using testing, environmental and workplace data – and advise chief medical officers.

Tuesday 26th May

The Government announced over the weekend that the identified year groups across Prep School will be re-opening as of June 1st, after half term. With regards to Year 10 and Year 12, they have advised that a ‘proportion’ of these two year groups will return, on a part time basis, to school from w/c 15th June.

The College are currently adapting their plans to accommodate these revisions, in order to make the specific provisions required for our returning pupils.

The UK announce a record low in the number of deaths across the country, in the past six weeks.

Friday 22nd May

The Government’s scientific group, Sage – together with the UK Government itself, are in detailed discussions regarding the potential re-opening of schools at the beginning of June, with the potential initial introduction by specific year groups being phased back to schools.

When the Government releases any additional and definitive decisions, the College Senior Leadership Team will discuss how the College will deliver such decisions and advise the school community.

In the meantime, we wish you a good Bank Holiday weekend with your families.

Thursday 21st May

Downing Street has confirmed that 24,000 manual contact tracers have been hired, with plans to employ an additional 1,000 people before the test, track and trace scheme starts on 1 June.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said “test and trace” would start shortly. On Wednesday, Mr Johnson said 25,000 contact tracers, able to track 10,000 new cases a day, would be in place by 1st June.

It coincides with the earliest possible date for the gradual reopening of schools and non-essential shops in England.

Contact tracing is already being used in Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany.

Wednesday 20th May

Washing your hands at least six to 10 times a day makes catching infections such as coronavirus much less likely, a study by UK researchers suggests.

It looked at data, from 2006-09, on viruses structurally very similar to the pandemic strain circulating now.

Coronaviruses are a family of virus that most usually cause mild illness such as the common cold.

And all of them, including the pandemic one, can be killed by soap and water.

Study author Dr Sarah Beale, from University College London, said: “Good hand hygiene should be practised at all times regardless of whether you show symptoms or not.

“This will help protect yourself and prevent unwittingly spreading the virus to others around you.”

A Public Health England official said: “Regular hand-washing for at least 20 seconds is one of the best ways of stopping the spread of coronavirus, particularly after you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, as well as before eating or cooking.

Tuesday 19th May

The Government has announced plans to measure the threat from Covid-19 in England, with a new five-level, colour-coded alert system.

The Prime Minister says it will help the Government decide how tough social-distancing measures should be:

  • Level five (red) – a “material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed” – extremely strict social distancing
  • Level four – a high or rising level of transmission – enforced social distancing
  • Level three – the virus is in general circulation – social distancing relaxed
  • Level two – the number of cases and transmission are low – minimal social distancing
  • Level one (green) – Covid-19 is no longer present in the UK – no social distancing

Everyone aged five and over in the UK with symptoms can now be tested for coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced.

Monday 18th May

The UK’s daily figure for coronavirus deaths has dropped to 170 – the lowest since the day after lockdown began.

The announcement comes a week after the first easing of restrictions in England – and while numbers are typically lower on Sundays, the figure is almost 100 fewer than the 268 reported a week ago.

In addition to the scheduled return for nursery, pre-school, Years 1, 2 and 6; the Education Secretary revealed during today’s press conference that pupils in Year 10 and Year 12 will be back “on a limited” basis to help them plan for exams next year.

Thursday 14th May

A test to find out whether people have been infected with coronavirus in the past has been approved by health officials in England.

Public Health England said the antibody test, developed by Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche, was a “very positive development”.

The blood test looks for antibodies to see if a person has already had the virus and might now have some immunity. Antibodies are made by our immune system as it learns to fight an infection. Finding antibodies that attack the coronavirus show that person has been infected in the past, but they do not prove they are protected against it in the future.

Roche found that if someone had been infected, it gave the correct result 100% of the time. If someone had not caught coronavirus then it gave the correct result more than 99.8% of the time. It means fewer than two in 1,000 healthy people would be incorrectly told they had previously caught the coronavirus.

Health minister Edward Argar said the tests would mainly be used on those in the NHS and social care settings to begin with. Roche is understood to be in talks with the Department of Health and Social Care about possible use by the NHS in England, though other testing products are also being assessed.

Health officials in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland make their own decisions, but are likely to follow suit if England does adopt it. The test already has approval from medical regulators in the EU and the United States.

Wednesday 13th May

Under the new rules in England, people can now spend more time outside and move house.

Garden centres can reopen and sports that are physically distanced – such as golf – are now permitted.

Two people from different households can meet in outdoor settings, such as parks, as long as they stay more than 2m apart.

Some outdoor sports can get under way again, with golf clubs and tennis courts expected to reopen to the public. Playgrounds, however, will stay shut.

Restrictions have also been lifted on how far people can travel to get to the countryside, national parks and beaches in England.

However, people have been warned to respect local communities, keep their distance from others and avoid busy areas.

Tuesday 12th May

The Government has now published new guidance for the public, as well as a lengthy strategy document, on the next steps in its coronavirus response in England.

The information includes new advice for people in England to wear face coverings whilst on public transport and in some shops.

In addition, people in England will be allowed to meet one person from outside their household as long as they stay outdoors and stay 2m apart.

Government ministers have advised that UK schools should prepare to begin to open for more pupils from 1st June.

This would be for very young children in nurseries and pre-schools, and primary school aged children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 – albeit with smaller class sizes.

The aim is to ensure the youngest children, and those preparing to move to secondary school, have maximum time with teachers.

From June, secondary schools and further education colleges in England should also prepare to begin some face-to-face contact with Year 10 and 12 pupils, who have key exams next year.

The Government would like all primary school aged children to return to school before the summer holidays, if feasible – though this will be kept under review.

Monday 11th May

Following the Prime Minister’s COVID-19 Government update announcement yesterday evening, the College are moving ahead with their detailed contingency planning, in line with the new three tiered programme.

We will be in touch to outline the measures which will be put in place, to safely return all of our pupils to the College. The staggered return will begin with Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, leading to Year 10 and Year 12’s, whilst still supporting the teaching of all our pupils at this time.

Thursday 7th May

Boris Johnson has said the UK Government will “advance with maximum caution” in considering any lifting of coronavirus restrictions, as Scotland formally extended its lockdown.

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