Friday 15th May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
Thank you for the response to the online survey regarding the possible return to school for children in Reception Class, Class One and Class Six. Please can I urge the remaining parents to complete the survey by 12pm on Friday 15th May so that it gives us as much time to formalise our plans. CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE SURVEY.
I do feel the need to make you all aware that you will be returning to a different school. The school staff will be here as always and will continue to be the ever committed and supportive staff that they are in giving the children the very best. However, with the many restrictions that will have to be in place, the time in school will have to be very different. The Governing Body and I have a responsibility for the health & safety of all children, staff and families and have many areas to consider to ensure the school is as safe as possible for children, staff and families.
We have received many questions regarding the reopening. Many have been about what a part time return could look like and about social distancing. I can’t commit to what a plan will look like until I have the final numbers completing the survey.
Social distancing will be extremely difficult in a primary school, especially in Reception Class and Year One. I feel it important to draw your attention to the below which has come directly from the government guidance:
We know that, unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. In deciding to bring more children back to early years and schools, we are taking this into account.
This is why we can only offer part time provision. We aim to have smaller classes and to stay in these groups and to not mix with other groups. We will also ensure we follow the guidance below:
Schools should therefore work through the hierarchy of measures set out above:
- avoiding contact with anyone with symptoms
- frequent hand cleaning and good respiratory hygiene practices
- regular cleaning of settings
- minimising contact and mixing
It is still important to reduce contact between people as much as possible, and we can achieve that and reduce transmission risk by ensuring children, young people and staff where possible, only mix in a small, consistent group and that small group stays away from other people and groups.
For primary schools, classes should normally be split in half, with no more than 15 pupils per small group and one teacher (and, if needed, a teaching assistant). If there are any shortages of teachers, then teaching assistants can be allocated to lead a group, working under the direction of a teacher. Vulnerable children and children of critical workers in other year groups should also be split into small groups of no more than 15. Desks should be spaced as far apart as possible.
As you will see from the above, and in addition from knowing how young children naturally behave, I cannot give you a guarantee that we can achieve social distancing in a school. We can and always will aim to make things as safe as we can. However, as soon as we open the school, the risk will be there and it is important that you understand this.
Our aim is to have class sizes of 15 children or less and for each class to have two members of staff present.
We will be keeping our successful Google Classroom open to support the families of children in Classes two, three, four and five and also the families who choose not to send their children back to school.
We will be having a staggered start and finish times for every year group to limit the number of parents on the school grounds at any one time and we will be asking that only one parent/carer accompanies their child to class. Parents/carers will not be allowed to enter the school premises at all.
The groups of children will be zoned off from each other for the day including playtimes and lunchtimes. Children will not be able to play on the play equipment for risk of spreading the illness. They will have equipment at lunchtime but each group will be given their own resources.
The children of key workers will continue to be offered full time provision, but they will have to continue to be in another area of the school due to the need to keep the groups consistent and separate. This will minimise the risk associated with groups of children mixing, as stated in government advice.
We will not be able to offer wrap around care. This is due to needing to limit the people and areas that children come into contact with and the importance of keeping the children to their fixed groups.
Our plans will also rely on the wellbeing of staff and should staff numbers be reduced due to illness/contracting Covid, there may be a need to close the school or reduce timetables.
If there was a suspected case of Covid in one of our class groups, families of children in that group/bubble would have to self-isolate for 14 days or until the case was confirmed or not.
For the purpose of keeping everyone safe, I do insist that temperature checks are carried out at home before children are sent to school to protect staff and pupils.
Although the staff and I will be visible in the mornings and after school I ask that all parents and carers respect the two metre distance guidelines. Please be aware that a number of staff have members of our families who are clinically vulnerable.
Plans will be finalised next week and we will communicate this with you as soon as possible.