29 Apr 2022

Letter from the Head: 29 April

Dear Parents and Guardians

A.SMY AlexHems152webI hope the new term has started well for your daughters. I know they have been very busy already. Eco Day in Lower School was a great success last Friday, and likewise in Junior School and Nursery yesterday,  and this week SQA examinations have started in Upper School. I am so glad that this year, all our candidates in Upper 5, Lower 6 and Upper 6 will at last have the chance to be externally assessed in the formal examination process again. While examinations are of course rarely anticipated with pleasure, the opportunity to show what they are capable of and complete their studies as planned is what they all deserve after two years of uncertainty and disruption.

I wanted to update you on the changes to Covid self-isolation guidance, which will take effect across Scotland from 1st May, as this will have a direct bearing on your daughters. Until 1 May, the current public health guidance remains in place, with PCR testing available for individuals who are symptomatic, and contact tracing and isolation guidance also remaining in place. From Sunday 1 May, advice to people with respiratory symptoms including COVID-19 will change in Scotland.  The general public will no longer be advised to seek a test if symptomatic. From Sunday a ‘stay at home’ message will replace self-isolation for people who have symptoms or have tested positive for Covid-19. The changes will also see all contact tracing ending. Children and young people aged 18 and under with mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, or slight cough, who are otherwise well, do not need to stay at home and can continue to attend education settings. They should only stay at home if they are unwell and have a high temperature. They can go back to school, college or childcare, and resume normal activities when they no longer have a fever and they feel well enough to attend.

It is not recommended that children and young people are tested for COVID-19 unless directed to by a health professional. If a child or young person has a positive COVID-19 test result they should stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days after the day they took the test, if they can. After 3 days, if they feel well and do not have a high temperature, the risk of passing the infection on to others is much lower. This is because children and young people tend to be infectious to other people for less time than adults. Children and young people who usually go to school, college or childcare and who live with someone who has a positive COVID-19 test result should continue to attend as normal. Please can I ask you to respect the guidance relating to staying at home if your child has a temperature for any reason as we do have people within our community families and individuals with varying levels of vulnerability to Covid and to other infections, which may not always be apparent to others.

Mrs Edwards has already been in touch to outline how this new guidance will affect anyone who is unwell during the examination period.

On Wednesday afternoon we hosted a Sport Scotland event in which Judy Murray and high performance coach and motivational speaker Allistair McCaw discussed ways to promote female leadership in sport.  It was a privilege to listen to their conversation, as they explored the potential challenges that hold women leaders back, and the ways in which they can be overcome. In the evening Allistair spoke about his vision of leadership as we emerge from two years that have changed us so much. Both events were thought provoking and invigorating, and it was a great pleasure to be able to welcome live audiences back to school after so long.

Finally I would like to let you know some charitable fundraising that activities that are students and staff are involved with. Boarding parents will already be aware that Houldsworth’s Charities Committee are raising awareness for ovarian cancer research with Target Ovarian Cancer. On Sunday 8 May, twenty of our boarders along with Mrs Gray and Miss McHugh will be participating in Edinburgh’s Ovarian Cancer Walk/Run at Holyrood Park. This is the first time in two years the event has been organised and they are very keen to do their bit and raise funds to help fight and cure ovarian cancer.  More immediately, a group of our staff will be setting off at 5pm this afternoon on a twenty four hour team relay walk to raise funds for UNICEF. As a team, they are aiming to cover a similar distance to that walked by Ukrainian refugees between Lviv and the Polish border, which is roughly 80km. They will be walking through the night on a route that stretches through and around Edinburgh. I know that you have already received a separate message giving you more information, if you would like to support them in this most generous venture.

With best wishes to you all

Mrs Alex Hems MA Oxon
Head, St George's School, Edinburgh

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