SCHOOL RE-OPENING INFORMATION
Who can return to school and when?
School will be open from Monday 1st June 2020 onwards. The children who may attend are:
- Children who currently have an assigned social worker (defined as vulnerable by the government);
- Children with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP);
- Children who have a parent who is defined as a critical worker under current government guidelines;
- Children who are on roll in our pre-school;
- Children who are on roll in reception, year one and year six.
Unfortunately, any children who do not meet these criteria cannot attend school at this point, even if their sibling is in one of the key year groups outlined above. If your child is currently attending one of our open hub school, from 1st June they will be required to attend Hennock Primary School.
What measures have the school put in place?
The following measures that have been put in place are led by current Department for Education (DfE) guidance and take into account our school’s location, layout and facilities and are based around four key principals: good hygiene practices (handwashing and respiratory hygiene); regular cleaning; minimizing contact and mixing, and avoiding contact with anyone with symptoms.
Good hygiene practices (handwashing and respiratory hygiene)
These are the measures school will be taken to ensure good hygiene for all those who attend (children and staff):
- Regular, explicit teaching on hand-washing and respiratory hygiene (catch it, bin it, kill it);
- Regular expectation of hand-washing – before entry and exit to the building, before and after eating; after toileting and at other key points during the day;
- Staff will monitor handwashing to ensure good practice;
- Hand-washing stations are set up in Ash & Birch classrooms at the sinks;
- Gelling stations are set up in Willows and Saplings – these children will also be supported to wash hands in the hall or at an outside handwashing station whenever possible;
- Posters will be placed around school to remind children;
- Tissues will be available in all school locations for easy access. Where this is not possible coughing/sneezing into an elbow will be encouraged;
- Staff will follow the same principles to model good practice to the children and to protect themselves.
I strongly encourage all parents to teach and support good hygiene practices at home now, regardless of when your child returns to school. Excellent resources to help you can be found on the e-bug website (https://www.e-bug.eu/) or from Public Health England (PHE) (https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/schools).
A thorough deep clean of the school has already taken place during closure and on return, an enhanced schedule of cleaning is arranged. This includes:
- Staff will maintain a cleaning schedule throughout the school day, including cleaning and sanitizing often used surfaces (e.g. door handles);
- Any equipment used by a group of children will be sanitized before another group uses it (e.g. laptops, sports equipment);
- The school and classrooms will be kept clear, tidy and clutter-free to allow for thorough cleaning after school;
- An enhanced clean will take place each day after school that includes cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces, commonly touched items (e.g. door handles, hand rails) and ensuring any waste is removed, amongst other measures.
Minimizing contact and mixing:
The majority of parents will be familiar with the size of our school, including classroom sizes and the space we have available. In its guidance, the government has identified that it will be impossible to keep children, particularly young children, two metres apart at all times. Therefore, I cannot guarantee to you that we are able to ensure that children are two metres apart at all times. However, these are the measures that we will take to minimise the amount of contact between people:
- Children will be grouped into coloured groups (these will be based on year groups and communicated to you separately but please note your child may not be taught by their usual teacher or in their usual classroom). These groups will have set staff with them and each group will not mix: this means they will not play closely, learn with, share an indoor space with or share unsanitised resources with another group.
- We will also encourage social distancing of 2m between pupils within each group but recognise that this will be challenging, particularly for young children. Staff will not plan for activities that require close contact, e.g. building something in a pair.
- Each group will have their own classroom space that won’t be shared, and a dedicated outdoor area, which will be clearly marked. Classrooms will be set up with desks / spaces as far apart as possible.
- Where possible, we will be learning outdoors, either on site or at one of our natural learning sites.
- We have re-arranged our timetable so that break and lunch times are staggered so children aren’t using the same spaces at the same time.
- There is a one-way system in place around the school for children to follow.
- Small rooms will be out of use or will only be occupied by 1 person at a time.
- We have amended our drop-off and collection procedures to allow for social distancing – there is more information on this later in the letter.
Further to this, we are not allowing any visitors, which includes all parents and carers, into any of the school buildings, including the hall. The only exception to this is the foyer at the main entrance where the office staff can take deliveries or speak to parents; the sliding glass window will remain shut at all times to protect office staff. Only one person should enter the foyer at any one time. Any parent entering the school building will be challenged and asked to leave immediately.
Avoiding contact with anyone with symptoms:
There is clear guidance for what to do if anyone in our school community is displaying symptoms of the virus, which is a high temperature or a new, continuous cough.
- If you, your child or a family member you live with has symptoms of the virus, you must not send your child into school under any circumstances until the 14 day isolation period has passed. The same procedure applies to staff members.
- If a child or a staff member becomes ill while they are in school, we will follow this procedure:
o They will be immediately isolated from their group to an outdoor space or the hall.
o Staff will supervise a child wearing full PPE at a distance of 2m.
o Office staff will call parents immediately – you or a family member must make yourselves available to collect the child as soon as is possible. Parents must also ensure that the office holds the most up-to-date contact number for you, as well as emergency contact details. If you are unsure that we have these, please email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Procedures are also prepared and in place for if any child or staff members tests positive for Covid-19.
What do parents need to do?
Dropping off and collecting children:
We have amended our drop-off and collection procedures. I need your support in following these closely so that we can keep each other safe.
Dropping your child off to school:
- The drop-off times have been extended from 8:45 – 9:15am.
- If you feel your child is responsible enough, we encourage you to drop them at the school gate where they will need to walk to the back playground.
- If your child needs to be accompanied, which many will, then please walk your child to the back playground. Only 1 parent can accompany their child/ren to school.
- Members of staff will be in the playground & there will be no outdoor play at drop off time. We are asking you to hand over by pointing out the staff member and then sending your child to them with their belongings. We are then asking you to leave the school site immediately.
- Staff will then ask children to wash their hands and enter the building where another staff member will direct them to their classroom.
- Parents of pre-school children may enter the pre-school outdoors area to hand their children over to the pre-school staff. Please be mindful of social distancing in this instance.
As mentioned previously in my letter, no parents should enter the school site for any reason whatsoever unless this has been authorised by me. We recognise that sending children back to school may be really difficult for both children and parents so we will do all that we can to support you, but we cannot allow you into the school building to do this. We also know that many parents, particularly of younger children, help their children to hang up their belongings on pegs; please do not enter the building to do this and staff will do this for you.
Collection from school:
- The main school gate will be open from 3:00pm. Please do not come earlier, unless your child is in preschool or this has been arranged with the office.
- Please enter the playground and find a space either on the pitch, or on any of the paths around the pitch. Please stay at a 2m distance to any other parent.
- We will bring groups out at staggered times and send each child individually to you.
- We are asking you then to leave the site immediately and not stay on the school site for any reason.
- If any child usually walks home, we will be sending these children once all parents have left the premises.
- I am strongly discouraging all parents and children from playing after school on the village play park, if it is open. I recognise that it will be really tempting and that the children will want to, but if children mix after school outside of their normal family group, this negates all efforts made within school to keep groups separate. The staff would highly appreciate your support with this.
- Preschool parents – please signal to the office that you wish to collect your child and we will radio the pre-school staff to get them prepared. You may stand by the pre-school area (please do not enter if children are playing) and wait. We will hand your child over at this point.
Two ‘pinch points’ for drop off and collection have been identified where 2m distancing would not be possible. These are the main school gate as you enter the school site and the stairs to the left of the school building of the school. Please be courteous and respectful of each other at these places and wait if others are using them; this will help to keep everyone safe.
Parent communication and catch-ups:
Often, parents and staff communicate at the start or end of the day about children and their needs. This will not be able to take place in the same way as before and staff will not be able to meet with you face-to-face for the time being. To support continued good communication between staff and parents, we are asking that you do the following:
- Email the office with any pertinent information about your child and the office staff will pass this on. We would appreciate this type of communication via email as it will support us in reducing movement around the school.
- If you wish to speak directly to your child’s teacher, staff will be more than happy to speak to you via the phone. Please contact the office if you wish to arrange this.
Wrap around care:
As a school, we need to ensure that groups of children remain socially distanced and do not mix; this will be very difficult to achieve with the current provision we can offer in breakfast and after school club. However, I want to be able to support families who really need this provision.
Therefore, I am offering breakfast club and after school club provision for firstly families of critical workers, following by those classified as vulnerable, followed by children in reception, then year 1 and then year 6. Please note that we are able to currently offer breakfast club from 8am and after school club until 5pm only. We are currently not able to offer wrap around care to pre-school children or on an ad-hoc basis – any spaces must be allocated in advance and cannot be booked on the day. Please contact the office if you feel your family needs wrap around care.
What will children need to bring to school?
- Children should wear school uniform. We appreciate children may have grown out of their school shoes so they are allowed to wear trainers or other shoes if this is the case.
- Please be prepared that the children will be doing a lot of learning outside. This means they will need adequate clothing, either warm clothes/waterproof and/or a sun hat/cap. We will not be able to apply sun tan cream to children (except those in preschool) so please apply this in the morning before school. Children are allowed to bring a bottle of sun tan cream in but they must be able to apply this themselves. If they can’t, please support us by teaching them this at home.
- Children should not wear face coverings to school.
- Please do not let your children bring in their own books or stationery.
- Each child needs their own, labelled water bottle.
- Please pack the following in to one back pack or bag (there is no need for bookbags at this time) to minimise the amount of items brought in to school.
Our kitchen is open as usual. Children entitled to free school meals, including those in reception and key stage one, can order a school lunch as usual. Parents can also order and pay for school meal for other year groups. Children may bring a packed lunch if they wish. If you are currently in receipt of income-based free school meals and your child will not be attending school, you will still be eligible for vouchers.
Lessons and time tables:
Lessons will be approached flexibly, although for pre-school, reception and year one, staff will focus some of the time on ensuring the skills of early reading, phonics and maths continue to be taught. In year 6, staff will focus on preparing the children for their transition to secondary school. All classes will have a heavy focus on Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) to support children’s mental health and well-being, as well as supporting their feelings and response to what has happened.
Guidance for children not attending school:
For those children not attending school, we will still be setting home learning for you and we would like you to do your best to complete this, whether you are allowed to come to school or not. Parents and children should expect to see a more open-ended approach to these tasks and in some cases, less feedback as understandably, teaching staff will be managing setting work for those at home and teaching those who are in school.
How can parents support the school during this difficult time?
Parents can support in many ways. Above all else, I personally ask that all parents adhere to the current government guidance on practicing social distancing measures; I have asked all staff to do the same. This not only keeps you safe, but everyone else with whom you come into contact, which includes everyone in our school community: staff, other parents, and most importantly, children.
Please recognise that this will be a challenging time for everyone; staff are working within new guidelines and will do everything they can to support all children, as always. We know that this pandemic will have had huge, lasting and unforeseen consequences on everybody and we anticipate seeing different responses in children. Parents can support us by recognising this too and supporting their children to manage anxieties.
Susan and I anticipate that the office will be incredibly busy. If we don’t answer phone calls or emails straight away, please be patient.
Lastly, if, you are bringing your children to school, please follow the guidance we set out (read and re-read this letter) and be prepared. This means sending children to school with what they need; dropping off and collecting at the right time (please do not be late); and adhering to the rules I’ve set out for parents listed above, including not entering any school buildings.
How can the school support you and your child/ren?
The staff are prepared that this situation will have affected everyone in different ways and I feel that supporting emotional well-being is already a massive strength of our school. We will use all of our knowledge on this to support the children whenever they need it.
“Is it safe to send my child in to school?” is the question that I imagine is causing you the most anxiety right now and it is a question that I cannot answer. All I can tell you are the following facts:
- This letter contains all of the measures we are taking to make the school as safe as we can make it, using the guidance that has been set out for us by the DfE.
- Robust risk assessments are in place and have been checked by the Trust.
- Our school will be open for children who meet any of the criteria
- You will not be penalised if you chose not to send your child to school.
- The school will not be held to account for attendance figures.
It is therefore up to you to make a decision that is right for you and your family using this information and it is something that you may wish to consider carefully. You may also wish to look at the government guidance if you, your child or a family member falls into either the extremely clinically vulnerable (will have received a letter telling them to shield) or clinically vulnerable categories.