EXTRAORDINARY times bring out the extraordinary in people, the observation of a Llandudno headmaster on the courage of his staff in coping with the coronavirus crisis.

Andrew Russell, head master of St David’s College explained how the school will continue teaching despite having to close. The school has a mix of day pupils and boarders, some from abroad.

Mr Russell said: “With our international pupils we have taken their own countries’ advice, we have facilitated their homeward travel over the past 10 days or so.

“We were scheduled to be open for another week so all our staff will continue to teach, but virtually, we’ve got a virtual platform set up to continue teaching from 9.20 on Monday morning.

“We were scheduled to continue for the week before Easter, but now as pupils will stay at home, we will use a Microsoft programme to continue their education. In practice this means pupils can see and hear teachers from their homes and we will continue as per the timetable.

“We will be providing exercises at home for children who may not be able to get out and use a big space of land like a games pitch, we will be giving strength and conditioning advice, how to keep fit from the home.

“Throughout all of this week we have been working with families on an individual basis to accommodate their children’s needs. We have already been teaching in a virtual way to the children from abroad that we have sent home.

“There are about 25 overseas children and they have been keeping up with our timetable. I’ve been able to go into some of these lessons and watch my extraordinary staff working this way. I’ve sent an email to all my staff saying extraordinary times brings out the extraordinary in people.

“Teaching will go on as timetabled.

My staff have been able to teach in a classroom and interact with children remotely while being really dynamic in the classroom.

I watched a chemistry lesson just a couple of days ago which was really amazing, I couldn’t believe how dynamic the process is.

He outlined how the school is arranging to get pupils from all over the UK home safely. Mr Russell said: “Logistically getting parents from around the UK to come and collect their children before Friday 5pm isn’t really very appropriate, so we are working with all those families on an individual basis to facilitate their children’s homeward travel throughout the next couple of days and through to Saturday lunchtime.

“One all the pupils have left we will be conducting a deep clean within the school because it has been intimated schools should be available for front line health workers’ children, so we will be making preparations for that eventuality.

“We are set for the long haul, but equally it might be that we are back just after Easter, right now we are just following advice from the Welsh Assembly and Public Health Wales.

“I think of all the commercial organisations around the country schools have been the ones to follow guidance really well and in a positive way. Front line NHS staff are incredible and they do a wonderful and they do a wonderful job, but I can’t praise my staff highly enough for their courage where they are coming in on a daily basis and they are in close contact with children and they have really stepped up.”