Further to the message sent earlier today please note that the P7 trips due to take place this week to Craigmount and the Parliament have all been postponed and will be rescheduled once we have a clean bill of health. Apologies to the P7s but I hope you understand why we have had to do this. We are also having to postpone the Nursery Stay and Play sessions for parents planned for this week. Again apologies for the disappointment.
Many thanks to the parents who have got in touch with us over the weekend to advise that their children are ill with a sickness bug. We really appreciate the advance warning.
The Facilities Management team have been notified and additional cleaning will be taking place before school tomorrow morning and will continue going forward until we have the sickness bug under control.
Once we have a more accurate picture of the numbers affected tomorrow morning then we will be contacting the NHS Health Protection Team to advise them. After this we will be recording the numbers affected on a daily basis and reporting to the team, following any advice they give us.
In order to control this outbreak quickly we must insist that anyone affected by this virus remains away from school until at least 48 hours after the last bout of sickness and/or diarrhoea. Anyone who shows symptoms of it while at school will be sent home immediately. We will also be restricting visitors coming into school.
Fortunately there are no class trips planned for this week as these would have to be cancelled, however we will have to cancel gather round tomorrow morning and most likely one planet groups on Thursday. We will wait till nearer the time to decide on events such as the nativity and Christmas parties.
We would also like to advise parents that anyone affected by this virus should also please stay away from the Corstorphine Christmas Lights event due to take place on Tuesday 5th December.
Please note the following Norovirus Infection Control Advice, which we will be following in school.
Norovirus is very infectious and high numbers of children and staff can be affected at once. The symptoms of norovirus include sudden onset of nausea followed by projectile vomiting and/or diarrhoea and usually last 12 to 60 hours. A person can become infected as a result of contact with an infectious case, contact with a surface contaminated with the virus or ingesting contaminated food or drink.
Vital infection control measures for the initial management of an outbreak include:-
- Thorough hand washing is the simplest and most important infection control measure. Please advise that all children and staff wash their hands frequently using warm water and soap, especially after using the toilet and before eating and preparing food. Alcohol hand gels/rubs are not effective against norovirus. Liquid soap via a soap dispenser should be made available and there should be a plentiful supply of paper towels. Younger nursery pupils may require supervision.
- Environmental cleaning and closure of affected area: Robust environmental cleaning immediately after any contamination by diarrhoea or vomit is vital to contain the spread of the virus. Close the area where the contamination has occurred until it has been properly cleaned to reduce spread. The frequency of toilet cleaning and frequently touched surfaces (e.g. flush and door handles) should be increased, e.g. clean after each break time and after a child has been sick or had diarrhoea.
- Prompt exclusion of affected children and staff until they have been symptom free for 48 hours. Affected children should be isolated from their class mates until collected by their parents/carer.
- Personal protective equipment: Disposable aprons and gloves should be worn when cleaning the environment, cleaning and disinfecting potties, changing nappies, toileting a child or cleaning up vomit or diarrhoea. Staff should wash their hands after the removal of gloves or aprons.
- Staff and pupil movements between classrooms and joint class activities in school, e.g. assembly should be restricted.
- Cancellation of trips and events. The advice for schools and nurseries with an outbreak of norovirus is to cancel any trips outwith the school, and to keep the number of visitors to the school to a minimum. Unfortunately in the past this has meant cancelling major school events.
- Deep cleaning of school premises needs to be timely and effective. If cleaning is delayed it can lead to increased risk of disease transmission and unnecessary school closure. Environmental cleaning with bleach diluted to 1:1000 is recommended as the most effective way to destroy the virus. It may be beneficial to devise your own deep clean procedure, identifying the appropriate personnel, contractors and other resources necessary to do this.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with the school if you have any concerns about this virus, but please rest assured that we will do our best to bring this situation under control as quickly as we can in order to minimise the disruption to the last three weeks of term and we really appreciate your continued support during this time.