Dear Parents and Carers,
We hope that this email finds you and your family safe and well. We know that many of you will be anxious about a possible return to school and the wider global situation. We have to be honest and say that until a vaccine is found, the threat posed by coronavirus is very real. We understand your worries and are working with the Government guidance on how we may potentially be able to reopen and do our best for your children and our staff.
Following the communication from school yesterday (14th May), more guidance was published by the Government through the Department for Education yesterday evening. It is only right and sensible to share some of the requirements being placed on primary schools upon their conditional (the five Government tests still need to be satisfied) phased return for some pupils on June 1st. If indeed school reopens, it will not be a return to ‘normal’ school. These are our initial thoughts and are subject to alteration in this ever changing situation.
Firstly, school has been tasked to ensure that children who return are placed into a group of no more than 15 children. The different groups of children within school will not be able to interact with any other groups of children to any extent. To that end, each group of children will have their own break and lunch times (using a staggered rota) to minimise contact between groups. To further minimise contact, children will be required to eat their lunch in their designated classroom (this may not be their usual classroom e.g. children from Year 6 may be designated a base in the Year 2/3 classroom).
Within their designated group, staff will attempt to minimise interactions between children. As we are sure you can appreciate, social distancing in school, particularly for our younger children, is an impossibility so we cannot guarantee that your child will not come into close contact with a child or children form different families.
Secondly, a member of staff will be allocated to each group of children, potentially on a rota basis, depending on the needs of the school and children. Once again, this may mean that your child is not with their usual teacher and/or teaching assistant. As we are sure you can appreciate, a task of this nature and magnitude is causing huge logistical problems which we are currently risk assessing and working through.
Thirdly, routines for hand washing will be rigorously applied throughout the day-this is for both the safety of staff and children alike. Children will not share any resources and should not bring toys etc from home. Guidance from Government also requires classroom layouts to be altered to ensure that items that are difficult to wash (soft furnishings etc) are removed from the environment before the children attend. This means that the ‘look’ of the school environment and daily routines will be different from what your child is usually used to.
Fourthly, arrangements for the dropping off and collection of children need to considered. A staggered timetable will be in place (more details to follow) to ensure that parents and children are socially distant when dropping off and collecting. There will be NO deviation from these times and punctuality is essential to ensure the safety of all involved. The Government advice also strongly discourages parents/carers from congregating in groups at the school gates and on the yard and spending any unnecessary time in school etc. We request that you follow this advice should school reopen.
The school will be thoroughly cleaned using a targeted approach. All key surfaces (tables, door handles, toilets etc) will be deep cleaned regularly. Staff will supervise the use of resources and the cleaning of these will happen. There will be no assemblies or large gatherings in the hall or other areas. The outdoor space will be used as much as possible throughout the course of the day.
More information regarding other day-to-day organisational considerations will follow when all relevant risk assessments are completed.
We understand that each family is different, and at this moment, some families will not want to send their child back to school. If this is your family decision, there is no penalty and school will not follow any non-attendance procedures.
School won’t be the same environment that your child left on 20th March, however what we can ensure is that all children whenever they come back into school will be received into a nurturing and loving environment. Our focus has never faulted from having the best interests of your children are at the forefront of everything we do.
We are working on improving the remote learning offer and will be utilising the Oak National Academy resources as available. The offer will be available for all children whether attending school or home learning. Further details will follow.
We appreciate that we may not have answered all of your concerns but as you can appreciate, this is an unprecedented situation and we hope this helps to provide you with further information and we fully appreciate the challenging decision you have in deciding whether to send your child back into their education settings.
We are asking for an indication of pupils numbers for 1st June as we need this information to effectively plan for a safe return and unfortunately cannot add any specific detail until we can understand the need and the teaching resource we will have available.
Yesterday the government released the updated list of critical workers who can access schools or educational settings, please find the link below: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
If you fall under this category and require child care arrangements please contact the school via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) as a priority.
We are working incredibly hard to do the very best we can for your children and our staff. We will write to again when we have more information.
Please continue to stay safe