Coronavirus Updates

Updated – 31st March 2020 at 9:30am

The safety of our students, staff and wider community is our highest priority. Our advice and responses are accurate as of the 31st March 2020 but we will continue to update our community as and when information becomes available. We closely follow government and Public Health England updates and will ensure that all actions are in accordance with their advice.

For the most recent letter to parents and carers, please click here

Students and staff are currently working from home until the end of the Easter Holidays. Teaching, learning and pastoral support are continuing remotely. We are, however, available for our vulnerable students and the children of key workers. All students and parents have our current contact details for any enquiries and assistance.

The decision to move to distance-learning for some classes was taken on Tuesday 17th March and the Vice Principal (Student Welfare and Progression) is in the process of contacting all parents and students via the available contact details. For student contact this will be via their College email and through text-messaging. Students/parents/carers are asked to regularly check emails and the College website.

The College has no identified cases of the Coronavirus. It has been monitoring the situation very carefully and has followed all Government advice to keep staff and students safe.

The situation is changing daily and we will continue to monitor and respond to Government advice as it becomes available. We will update our information via our website at every opportunity.

If students, staff or any other visitor to the College feels unwell with a high temperature or a continuous cough, they must stay at home and follow current guidance on self-isolation.

We are carefully following every update and are holding regular Senior Leadership meetings to discuss the current situation and revise strategies to moving forward. Every decision made is based on the latest advice and guidance. Remote teaching support will be available for the duration of the distance learning initiative.

Visit the pages below for further information regarding Coronavirus, self-isolation and guidance for education.


What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

  • Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses which cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
  • COVID-19 is a new strain which has not been previously identified in humans.
  • The incubation period of COVID-19 is between 2 and 14 days. This means that if a person remains well 14 days after contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, it is unlikely that they have been infected.

What are the symptoms?

  • Symptoms commonly occur 2-14 days after exposure and they include:
    • Fever
    • Persistent cough
    • Shortness of breath / difficulty breathing

How serious is COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 will develop mild, flu-like symptoms in most cases, including children.
  • The infection is more serious for those who fall into higher risk groups.
  • Higher risk groups include:
    • People over 60 years of age
    • People with chronic underlying health conditions such as Heart disease, Diabetes, Lung Disease or Cancer
    • People with weak immune systems (immunosuppressed)

How do I avoid Coronavirus?

  • The best way to avoid Coronavirus is by adhering to hygiene regulations, such as:
    • Wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap often, and for at least 20 seconds
    • Use hand sanitiser where available
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze
    • Put tissues in the bin immediately after use
    • Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of Coronavirus
  • Further measures include:
    • Only travel on public transport if you need to
    • Work from home as regularly as you can
    • Avoid social activities, especially in large groups

What should I do if I have symptoms?

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and you do not fall into a higher risk group:
    • Stay at home for 7 days
    • If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the first day the first person developed symptoms. This is to avoid risk of contagion.
  • You should use the 111 Coronavirus online service if:
    • You are in a higher risk group and develop symptoms
    • You feel you cannot cope at home with your symptoms
    • Your symptoms do not improve after 7 days

  • Will College be running as normal?
    • College is closed for students until further notice.
  • What if I need to self-isolate?
    • In the case of self-isolation, you’ll need to stay at home for 7 days. If you live with someone who has symptoms, you’ll need to stay at home for 14 days from the day their symptoms started. (Please refer to the latest public health advice.)
  • What is the College doing about Coronavirus?
    • We are closing to all students from Friday 20th March 2020. We are following the advice provided by Public Health England, and daily updates from the government. We will maintain regular communication throughout via teacher/tutor communications or the College website.
    • New applicant interviews to be conducted remotely by phone.
    • The College will follow government and public health advice and guidance. We will keep you informed of any developments.

  • What will happen to my exams?
    • Nothing is certain on this issue so far. The curriculum will continue as normally as possible as we await further details.

  • What is the situation for students who have already applied and been offered a conditional offer?
  • This offer still stands and we will review the grades awarded at enrolment. Once the plan for awarding grades has been agreed, we will respond with any necessary adjustments to ensure that students are enrolled on the right course.
  • What if students who have applied but not had an interview (or missed an interview)?
  • We are currently contacting applicants to arrange a telephone interview based on their application. Where possible we have requested that references are sent by schools or emailed by the student, however, given the circumstances, we may have to make provisional offers based on the application and interview but will seek a reference at some later stage.
  • What about students who want to apply but haven’t yet?
  • The online application is still open as normal and any applications will be processed as quickly as possible and telephone interviews will be scheduled.


At Joseph Chamberlain College we value the work that many of our parents do to keep our country operating. Many parents working in the sectors detailed below may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.

  • Health and social care
  • Education and childcare
  • Key public services
  • Local and national government
  • Food and necessary goods workers
  • Public safety and national security
  • Transport
  • Utilities, communication, and financial services

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision. If this applied to you please call our parental helpline on 07584 623040 to discuss your child being supported in the college.