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Message from Mr Hymer: 4 February 2022

We are now becoming very familiar with the ever-revolving door of Covid absences. The late evenings and early mornings are punctuated by email messages announcing another case and the well-oiled system of moving to remote learning begins. A flurry of emails follow as Mrs Cowie and Ms Sayers swing into action to upload documents and prepare to support the small army of boys self-isolating.
School, parents and boys are becoming accustomed to awaiting the confirmation of return following two negative test results and parents no doubt breathe a sigh of relief when boys finally can return.

For most boys (but not all) the illness is brief and not too dissimilar to a light cold. The fact that so many access remote learning on their first day of isolation tends to prove this point.

In our staff meeting on Wednesday, we did as we normally do and discussed the boys. Our discussions focused on the boys following their return to school having served their period at home. It was interesting to note that several colleagues commented on the emotional impact that this period has had on the boys. We have seen many boys struggling to control emotions and become visibly upset. It may be that they have not done quite as well in an assessment as usual and suddenly become lost in tears. For many of the boys such responses are totally out of character.

No doubt the impact of Covid will continue to be discussed and examined for many years by various medical experts. We feel that the process of self-isolation and the impact on families is having an effect on the emotional wellbeing of the boys. There are many unpleasant aspects to this disease, some more obvious than others. As teachers and parents, we need to be vigilant to the signs of anxiety amongst children. Whilst schools and society try to operate as normally as possible and we do all we can to shield children from the stresses all adults face, our boys are also finding life more difficult.

Our advice to parents when boys return to school is to consider all their commitments. The boys may be raring to be back and eager to resume all their clubs and activities. Our observations may suggest that a more measured and gradual approach is needed. Where possible, it may be best to try to pick up directly at the end of the school day on a few occasions.

We are seeing signs of a drop in the number of cases, particularly in Years 5 and 6. We will remain vigilant to the boys’ needs and help support them in these difficult times.