Haverhill school forced to close by staff shortages related to coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 20:00 17 March 2020
A Haverhill secondary school will shut for the rest of the week because so many staff are self-isolating due to the coronavirus.
Samuel Ward Academy, in Chalkstone Way, will still be allowing pupils to visit the school, but has also prepared work for all students to be completed online if they are learning from home.
Headteacher Andy Hunter told parents in a letter on March 17 this was due to “severely reduced staff numbers” and that the closures could extend beyond Friday, March 20.
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“If you can keep your children at home, please do so,” said Mr Hunter.
“I realise that this will have serious implications for parents who cannot take time off work to provide childcare, including those of you performing crucial roles in the emergency services or NHS.
“For that reason, we will stay open for students who need to come here.
“We will not be able to provide normal lessons, but we will supervise students in completing the tasks that have been set for home learning.”
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Rather than uniform, students should wear PE kit or other sportswear to classes.
A reduced food service will also be available at the school canteen and students entitled to free school meals can still claim them.
Art and Photography GCSE and A-level exams scheduled for the next two weeks have been postponed with a time to be announced.
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Mr Hunter added: “For students who are going to stay away from school, I emphasise the importance of routine.
“I suggest that they get up in the morning as usual and sit down after breakfast to do the work they have been set.
“They should observe the advice about avoiding unnecessary social contact.”
A second daily press briefing from 10 Downing street was issued on March 17, with details of the support available to small businesses across the country and the announcement of ‘mortgage holidays’ for homeowners.
There was no announcement regarding the nationwide closure of schools.
Other schools across Suffolk and Essex have closed due to suspected cases of coronavirus. A full list can be found on our website.
“I am sorry that we cannot at this time continue to provide the education we would like to for all of your children,” said Mr Hunter.
“I hope you will support us in doing what we think is best for our students, staff and community.”