School re-opening

Information for parents regarding all children returning to school in September 2020

Thank you for your patience in waiting to hear our plans for the return of all pupils to school from September 2020.

This document outlines the actions we will be taking to ensure that the children’s return to school does not put them, their families or the school staff at significant or increased risk from Coronavirus.

In developing this document we have adhered to the guidance sent out by the Government in the following document. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools

In preparation for returning we have updated our risk assessments to reflect the Government guidance and the specific needs of the school.

Why is school open to all children in September?

The government guidance published on 2nd July explains clearly that all pupils in all year groups will return to school – full time from the beginning of the autumn term. It explains that:

  • Returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development. This impact can affect both current levels of learning and children’s future ability to learn, and therefore we need to ensure all pupils can return to school sooner rather than later.

  • The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. We know that school is a vital point of contact for public health and safeguarding services that are critical to the wellbeing of children and families.

  • Lower academic achievement also translates into long-term economic costs due to having a less well-qualified workforce. This affects the standard of living that today’s pupils will have over the course of their entire life. For many households, school closures have also affected their ability to work. As the economy begins to recover, we need to remove this barrier so parents and carers can return to work.

(Guidance for reopening school – 2nd July 2020 gov.uk)

 

Prevention of Coronavirus

Any pupils or staff must not come into school if they have coronavirus symptoms:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

 

or if they have tested positive in the last 7 days.

If anyone in the school becomes unwell with symptoms, they will be sent home and advised to follow ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus infection’ which sets out that they must self-isolate for at least 7 days and should arrange to have a test.

School will fully engage with the NHS test and trace process and the government guidance sets out that staff members and parents/carers need to be ready and willing to:

  • Book a test if they are displaying symptoms. (either online or by telephone via NHS 119) All children can be tested including children under 5)

  • Provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with if they were to test positive

  • Self isolate

Parents should inform school immediately of the results of a test.

If a child tests negative, if they feel well and no longer have symptoms similar to coronavirus, they can stop self-isolating and return to school.

If a child tests positive, they must continue to self-isolate for at least 7 days from the onset of their symptoms and return to school only if they do not have symptoms other than a cough or loss of sense of smell/taste (this can last for several weeks once the infection has gone.) If they still have a high temperature, they should keep self-isolating until their temperature returns to normal. 

What will school be like for my child?

We know many of you are anxious about what school will be like when your child returns. Although, to try to prevent the spread of any infections, there will have to be changes to the classrooms and what the school day is like, we will do our utmost to ensure that school is as happy, welcoming and familiar as we can possibly make it. 

We will be keeping children in class or year group bubbles and minimising contact with other children and staff as much as possible. We will not be having assemblies together in the hall, but we will have virtual assemblies (we have been doing that already and we quite like it). Playtimes and lunchtimes will be staggered so that the children do not mix outside their class or year group bubbles. Children (especially our younger pupils) find it very difficult to socially distance and so there won’t be an expectation that children will maintain a social distance at all points within their class bubbles.

Please note that although we will endeavour to keep the children within their bubble, there may be times when they come into brief contact with other children. For example, we will need to share some of the toilets in the main block and children may pass in the library. The government guidance makes clear that: “Endeavouring to keep these groups at least partially separate and minimising contacts between children will still offer public health benefits as it reduces the network of possible direct transmission.”

Personal hygiene

The staff and children will follow a programme of regular handwashing throughout the day, specifically:

  • When they arrive at school

  • When they return from breaks

  • When they have been to the toilet

  • Before and after eating

 

Staff will also use their judgement to add in additional hand washing opportunities if necessary.

We are already doing this with the children who are currently attending and they quickly get used to it. We have installed hand sanitiser dispensers in every classroom and in the main school entrances so the children and staff can top up when needed.

The children will be provided with tissues and taught to ‘Catch it,bin it, kill it!’ so that any germs from sneezes or coughs will be immediately disposed of safely in lidded bins with foot pedals, which are emptied throughout the day.

Parents can help their children get used to this system by practising thorough hand washing, ‘Catch it, bin it, kill it’, and flushing the toilet for yourself at home. If you would like to send your child with their own labelled hand cream to be kept in school then you may do so.

Where should I drop off and collect my child?

To minimise mixing of class and year group bubbles we have had to stagger the start and end of the day slightly so that we can get all of the children in and out safely. This is a complicated task and we really need parents and carers to stick to the arrangements below to ensure everyone’s safety. It is important to stick to your child’s drop off and pick up times and to clear the school site and surrounding area as quickly as possible. Siblings with the same drop off and pick up times should be able to be picked up within the 10 minute slots.

Drop off

We ask that only parents of children in Nursery, Reception and Year 1 come into the playground to drop off their child in the morning. There will be a member of staff on the door to greet them so you do not need to come into the school building, although we will make provision for any new children who are anxious. Parents of children in Years 2, 3, 4 and 5 are asked to drop off the children at their designated entrance gate where a member of bubble staff will meet them. 

Entry Arrangements September 2020

Timing

Entrance A

(Ramp)

Entrance B 

(Middle gate)

Entrance C 

(Gate at bottom of KS2 steps) 

Entrance D 

(Main entrance by the office)

Entrance E

(Car park gate) 

8.40am – 8.50am

Beech and Willow

 

Elm and Chestnut

 

Oak and Poplar

8.50am – 9am

 

Hazel

 

Maple

Holly and Cherry

9am – 9.10am

Nursery

       

 

Pick up

Parents should follow the instructions below about where to wait to pick up their child. Please socially distance while you do so.

Exit Arrangements September 2020

Timing

Entrance A

(Ramp)

Entrance B 

(Middle gate)

Entrance C 

(Gate at bottom of KS2 steps) 

Entrance D 

(Main entrance by the office)

Entrance E

(Car park gate) 

3pm

Nursery – wait in front of nursery building

     

Beech and Willow – enter and exit via car park and wait in the playground 

3.10pm

Elm and Chestnut will exit via side Y2 door and parents to collect from area around this.

Oak and Poplar to come out of front KS2 exit down the steps. Parents to wait in the area in front of school. 

     

3.20pm

Hazel to exit via side door. Parents to collect from area around this. 

 

Maple to exit via KS2 steps and straight out through the steps. Parents to collect from outside the gate if children not walking home independently

 

Cherry and Holly – enter and exit via car park and wait in the playground. 

 

As per Government guidelines only one adult per family should drop off and collect the children.

Don’t worry, we have provided a map with instructions for each class with this information and we will provide signage and be on hand to help at the start of term. It will take us a while to get our heads around it too.

Until we have our new systems in place we ask that the children do not bring their bikes or scooters on to the school site. We will let you know when they can start to bring them again.

Playtimes

It is important  for the children’s wellbeing that they interact with their friends. So, although we will help the children, particularly the older ones, to social distance we will not expect them to play on their own at playtimes. Following Government advice, our main method of reducing the risk will be through frequent and efficient personal hygiene practices, i.e. regular handwashing and hand sanitising, and respiratory hygiene (Catch it, bin it, kill it) and by staying in our class or year group bubbles.

The children will have their playtimes in their bubbles and will not mix with other family bubbles. Playtimes will be staggered so that the children do not accidentally come into contact with too many others, but the yard will be zoned so that more than one group can play at a time in their own designated area. 

Each bubble will have its own shared playtime equipment which will be cleaned daily. The children will wash their hands after using it.

Lunchtimes

As well as the need to keep the children in their bubbles we have the added challenge  in the first half term of having to prepare the children’s lunches off site while our new hall and kitchen is being built. Luckily we are now experienced at providing lunches direct to the children in their classrooms. This will continue in the Autumn term for Years 1, 2, 3 and 4. Nursery children will have their lunch in the Nursery and Reception children will eat in the main school hall. Meals will still be in a grab bag, but there will be a hot choice very day and environmentally safe disposable plates and cutlery will be used. We strongly urge you to pre-order your child’s lunch via Live Kitchen so that we can avoid too many children touching the same computer screens.  If your child brings his/her own packed lunch it will be kept in the classroom until lunchtime. The kitchen staff will continue to follow our rigorous safety and hygiene protocols. 

If your child is in Reception, Year 1 or 2  he/she is eligible for a free lunch under the Universal Free School meals system. Children in nursery, Years 3 and 4 will need to pay for their lunches in the usual way. If your child is eligible for free school meals he/she will be entitled to a free school lunch.

If your child is eligible for free school meals you will not receive the Free school meal vouchers when your child returns to school. 

Classroom set-up

Following Government guidance we have rearranged the classrooms so that the risk of any infection spreading by the children or staff being too close to each other is minimised. Children in Years 1, 2, 3 and 4, who are used to frequently working at desks, will be allocated their own desk with their own resource pack in a plastic wallet or drawer, to avoid having to share resources. Any shared resources will be cleaned before and after use.

We are not expected to have the children maintain two metre social distancing but we are following the Government advice regarding facing the children’s tables all in the same direction (think American school, but with two per desk). Staff will be doing their best to keep their distance within the constraints of the classroom size and meeting the children’s educational needs.

What about Early Years?

Early Years children won’t be allocated desks but they may have their own ‘special’ space, distanced from the other children when they need to listen to the teacher all together. Activities will be spread out around the classroom and the number of children at each activity will be limited (as it is already) to avoid too much contact. 

Shared toys and resources will be cleaned daily or used on a rota system.

The children will have access to the outside area as normal and will wash their hands whenever they come back inside.

What should my child bring to school?

To avoid any possible cross contamination we ask that your child only brings the following to school:

  • A water bottle 

  • If you are providing your child with a packed lunch please bring it in a hard plastic lunch box or plastic bag which can be wiped clean

  • A coat

  • PE kit in a bag which can be left at school

  • Hand cream labeled with your child’s name, if needed. Please teach your child to put it  on him/herself.

  • Any medication should be handed to your child’s adult from their clas or year group bubble. You will need to complete a medication permission form as usual. Medication, including inhalers, will be kept securely in your child’s classroom base.

  • Phone (Years 4 and 5 only and only if they are walking to and from school unaccompanied by an adult)

  • A full change of clothes in a named bag (Nursery and Reception) to be kept in school in case of toileting accidents

 

What shouldn’t my child bring to school

  • Large bags or rucksacks (space is limited in our cloakrooms and we need to be able to spread things out as much as possible)

  • Toys or swapping cards 

  • Their own stationery, pencil cases etc

  • A bike or scooter - for the first couple of weeks until our entry and exit systems are fully established

Should my child wear uniform?

Yes. It’s been fun to dress down for the summer but in September it’s back to business as usual and it is important for the children that school is as normal as possible. Please also make sure that any hair colours your child has enjoyed during lock down are washed out before September.

What if my child has an accident or is ill during the school day?

If your child has an accident requiring first aid a member of staff will provide it. If it is a simple wet paper towel job your child will be provided with a paper towel and supported to deal with it themselves. If your child requires treatment for injuries such as cuts or grazes the member of staff from your child’s bubble may wear PPE (gloves, apron, face mask and visor) to protect your child and themselves from any infection whilst providing first aid. You will be informed of any first aid provided in the usual way.

If your child is unwell during the day you will be contacted in the usual way. Your child will be looked after in the medical room until you arrive.

If your child shows any symptoms of coronavirus we will contact you immediately to collect your child. We will then follow the government advice on informing all other parents of children in that family bubble as per the guidance shared above.

What about toileting accidents?

If your child has a toileting accident and is able to clean themselves up with supervision from an adult they will be supported to do so. If they require more assistance a member of staff will help them to change; staff may wear PPE to do so. We ask that all early years children are provided with a bag of spare clothes to be kept in school in case of this eventuality.

What work will my child be doing?

The first thing we will need to do is to settle the children back into school and teach them the new systems. We will introduce them to the PPE that staff may have to wear so that they don’t find it frightening.

We will need to address any concerns they have about being back at school and discuss their lockdown experiences so that they understand that we have all been facing similar issues and that it's alright to be upset, angry or worried. 

We will assess where they are in their learning after so many weeks away and begin to get them back in the swing of the basics, maths, writing, reading, building up their stamina as we go. We will still have PE, art, topic work and RE, although we may spend a little less time on this as we get the children back on track with the basics.

 

Reading and homework

To minimise the chances of spreading infection and until we get to know just where the children are in their learning, we won’t be sending home reading books or homework for the first half term. It will also give some of you a break from home schooling!

Staffing and curriculum

We are expecting all of our staff to be back in September and the Government guidance states that staff may cross bubbles as long as personal hygiene and cleaning protocols are adhered to, so we intend to offer as normal a timetable of teaching, classroom support and additional activities as we can. Ms Yarrow will return to provide instrumental tuition and Mrs. Robson from the School Sports Partnership will provide dedicated PE sessions. As yet we are not sure when any of our own after school activities or our nurture breakfast club will restart, but Trinity Youth Association will be restarting their wrap around provision on the school site. 

Parents in school

To minimise the risk of spreading the virus parents will not be allowed into the school building. If you need to pass on a message please inform the school office in the first instance by phone or email or speak to the adult from your child’s family bubble at drop off. If you need to pass on a longer message or need to discuss something with your child’s teacher please contact the school office to give the message or arrange an appointment. Remember staff will not have time for a lengthy chat when they are welcoming the children in.

Wherever possible please use our online payment system for paying for school dinners, uniform, music lessons, milk etc. Please make sure any other payments are sent in an envelope with your child’s name on it. 

If your child is late for school please come to the main entrance and ring the doorbell. We will then ask you to socially distance while we bring your child into school. Please don’t be offended if we do - it’s just about keeping everyone safe.

Cleaning

We will continue with our enhanced cleaning programme, making sure that high frequency contact areas, such as door handles and table tops are cleaned during the day as well as after school. Toilets will also be cleaned at least twice a day.

What can I do to help my child prepare for coming back to school?

  • Practise regular handwashing and drying following the guidelines from Public Health England.

  • Teach your child to manage their personal toileting needs, wiping their bottoms, flushing and washing their hands.

  • Teach ‘Catch it, bin it, kill it!’ so the children know what to do if they cough or sneeze.

  • Show your child the videos on the school website and Facebook about what school is like at the moment and talk to them about any worries they may have

 

What else can I do to help?

  • Check your child’s temperature before school every day. If he/she seems hotter than normal do not come to school. Inform the school office immediately.

  • Stick to social distancing when you are dropping off and picking up and make sure your child does too. It is all of our responsibilities to help to stop the spread of the virus. We know you will be delighted to have some more social contact but please don’t gather in groups outside the school gates or engage staff in lengthy conversations.

  • Where possible walk to school - it’s healthy, good for the environment and helps to stop the spread of the virus. Avoid using public transport if you can.

  • Try to stay positive with your child about coming back to school. We don’t want to frighten or worry the children and we want their return to school to be as positive an experience as we can possibly make it in the circumstances.

  • Be patient. Things may change and we may have to change our plans accordingly. It takes time to make these arrangements and we want to get them as right as we possibly can. We will keep you informed.

 

I hope this document answers your questions about how we plan to care for your child when he/she returns to school. If you have any questions specific to your child please do not hesitate to get in touch. Thank you again for your support as we navigate this difficult waters. We can’t wait to have all the children back in school in September and we look forward to seeing you all then.