As you would imagine we have been giving very careful thought to what action Haileybury should take in response to the SARS outbreak.
I am writing at this stage to all parents and guardians so that the letter arrives in good time before the start of term. However, I must stress at the outset that we will be reviewing the situation each day and taking full account of the best available advice. That advice, and therefore our policy, may change prior to the start of term. This letter will be posted on the Haileybury web site as will any change to the policy which we intend to adopt should that prove necessary. I would ask that, in particular, the parents of pupils from infected areas should visit the web site regularly and, if that is not possible, they should telephone the College on 01992 462507 before returning their children to school.
The advice from the Department of Health and also from the Medical Officers in Schools Association is that there is no need to quarantine pupils merely because they have travelled to an infected area. However, we must obviously be vigilant over monitoring the health of those who have been in the relevant areas and I therefore ask all parents whose children have been in any of the areas affected to inform the Housemaster or Housemistress by e-mail or telephone of the countries that their children have visited and the dates when they were there. On arrival at the College they should report to the Sanatorium for a brief examination before going to their houses. Thereafter, for the sake of both those pupils and the wider community, we will be arranging for their health to be monitored regularly during the possible incubation period.
As of today, the affected areas are:
- Hong Kong
- Guandon Province, Beijing, Shanxi in China
- Hanoi, Vietnam
- Toronto, Canada
The disease is reportedly only transmitted from sufferers to close contacts, in particular those caring for victims, and it is only transmitted when the symptoms of the disease are apparent. The symptoms are a sudden onset of high fever (greater than 38°C) and one or more of the following respiratory symptoms – cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing.
Any pupil who is known to have been in close contact with a SARS sufferer should not return to the College but should contact us to arrange to return at a later date. Similarly, any pupil displaying these symptoms should not return to the College but should seek medical attention.
Whilst our overriding concern is to safeguard the health of the Haileybury community, we are firmly of the view that it is best achieved by following the most expert advice available. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and revise our policy if necessary. If you have any concerns please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. However, I will be away from my office from 12th April until 19th April during which time the Bursar, John Palmer, will be acting on my behalf in this matter.
His contact details are:
Telephone No. 01992 706333
Fax No. 01992 467603