Contingency Planning – January 2022 Update

Monday 17th January 2022

As we prepare for what we suspect may be a challenging term we are posting this message to clarify with our community our Contingency Plan if we need to move to Blended Learning.   Blended Learning is the term we use when some students will continue their learning ‘In-school’ and some will be asked to continue with their learning ‘At-home’.  This post builds on our experience of the period up until Christmas where Senior Phase students were asked to learn at home on a couple of occasions.   We are now in a different context, hence the update to our planning and approach if Blended Learning is required.

What has not changed is that we may need to move to Blended Learning if we do not have enough available staff to cover classes.  Rest assured Blended Learning will only be implemented if it’s absolutely necessary.  Our default position remains to take a series of actions in school before we would move to a Blended Learning model.  These steps would include all or a combination of the following

What we faced in December was a combination of factors that affected our staffing levels.  If these factors align again then we may need to move to Blended Learning.

In terms of the above points, the revision to isolation rules at national level now mean that we do not expect as much of an impact from confirmed cases/close contacts in relation to staff absence.   As we move through towards Spring non-Covid-19 illnesses, and hence staff absence, tends to ease off.  Finally, the lag or gap described in the last bullet point is less of an issue as 4 new teachers started with us at the beginning of term.  This means the school is in a better position than we were in December from the perspective of maintaining In-school learning for all.  We have no immediate need to move to Blended Learning but know that the impact of the pandemic on our service can change quickly. As always we’ll do everything we can to maintain an In-school learning experience for all students.

Nevertheless, if required, our revised approach this term towards Blended Learning will be as follows

If we need to move to Blended Learning our default will be to inform parent/carers via Groupcall alerts, directing them to the website, and students via their Year Group Google Classrooms.  Our aim, as it was in December, will be to provide 36 hours notice, i.e., to inform parents/carers and students by close of school on a Monday if we need to move to At-home Learning for students on a Wednesday, with a similar notice period if other days are affected.  However, the pandemic has told us that things can move quickly and we may not always be able to maintain this 36 hour notice period.

 

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