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Which year groups are returning to school?
The Government has asked primary schools to welcome back children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 alongside priority groups. We have taken the time to consider all of the relevant guidance and documentation and, in the first instance, we will be able to open to all these year groups on June 8th. For planning purposes, we have asked parents to inform us if their child is returning and they have been contacted accordingly.
Why aren't all the children coming back?
The Department for Education have based this on the need to reduce the rate of transmission of the virus. The 3 year groups within mainstream primary have been prioritised because they are key transition years - children in Reception and year 1 are at the very beginning of their school career and are mastering the essential basics. Year 6 children are finishing Key Stage 2 and are preparing for the transition to secondary school.
If one of my children is eligible to return can’t their sibling come back too?
Sadly, the answer to this is ‘no’. Siblings cannot attend unless they are in another of the selected year groups. This would raise the number of pupils attending the school.
Does my child have to attend?
This is a very personal and individual decision and every family’s circumstances will be different. No one with symptoms should attend for any reason. Parents will not be penalised or fined for non-attendance at this time.
I am worried that my child is vulnerable or that a family member is, should I send them back to school?
Children and young people who are considered extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding should continue to shield and should not be expected to attend.
Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. A minority of children will fall into this category, and parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.
Children and young people who live in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding should only attend if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and the child or young person is able to understand and follow those instructions.
Children and young people who live with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable) as defined in the social distancing guidance and including those who are pregnant, can attend. DFE May 2020
How big will the classes be?
The DfE is recommending class group size should not exceed 15 pupils per small group and one teacher plus a TA where required. Where there are not enough teachers, Teaching Assistants will lead a group. Desks should be as far apart as the room allows.
Having completed audits and risk assessments, we will have classes of between 5-10 as we believe that this is what our setting can safely accommodate under the current guidance.
How will you guarantee that social distancing takes place e.g. keeping children 2m apart?
We will of course do our best to support distancing, but parents must understand that in returning to school there is a very real likelihood that children will touch adults and one another and come into close contact. The nature of the school site and the age of our children is such that this is unavoidable and we cannot be expected to respond to complaints around this when it inevitably happens. Parents must understand what we are able to do and use this to inform their decision making.
What hygiene measures will be in place to keep my child safe?
In line with our risk assessment, we will
- follow the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance
- ensure that sufficient handwashing facilities are available
- clean surfaces that children and young people are touching, such as toys, books, desks, chairs, doors, sinks, toilets, light switches, bannisters, more regularly than normal
- ensure that all adults and children:
- frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry thoroughly.
- clean their hands on arrival at the setting, before and after eating, and after sneezing or coughing
- are encouraged not to touch their mouth, eyes and nose
- use a tissue or elbow to cough or sneeze and use bins for tissue waste (‘catch it, bin it, kill it’)
- ensure that help is available for children and young people who have trouble cleaning their hands independently
- consider how to encourage young children to learn and practise these habits through games, songs and repetition
- ensure all spaces are well ventilated using natural ventilation (opening windows) or mechanical ventilation units
- prop doors open, where safe to do so (bearing in mind fire safety and safeguarding), to limit use of door handles and aid ventilation
Will children be confined to the same classroom environment most of the day?
Government advice on the scientific evidence shows that the outdoor environment is more manageable in terms of virus transmission. With the summer weather coming, we aim to make use of outdoor opportunities alongside classroom activities. When inside, children will stay within one set classroom for the day.
How will lunch time work to ensure children are safe?
Pupils and staff will stay in their classroom and services brought to them at lunchtimes to limit use of corridors. If bringing a packed lunch, this must be a ‘throw-away’ packed lunch similar to what the children are used to taking on trips. With low numbers of children returning, outside space will be used (remaining in groups) for play.
Will my child be expected to share resources, such as pens and pencils?
Where possible, children will be given their own equipment, which they must not share with anyone else. They must not bring any equipment in from home.
I’m a keyworker and my child has been in the childcare provision throughout. My child is in Nursery, YR, Y1 or Y6 what will happen to them?
We would encourage your child to join their year group.
My child is in the childcare provision currently but isn't in the year groups above?
Priority group children will continue to come to school. They will be in a separate class ‘bubble’.
Will everyone arrive at school at the same time causing an increase in risk?
The schools will organise a staggered drop off and collection time for pupils. The approach to classrooms will be marked out with a 2m queue and drop off zone from where the teacher will invite pupils in. Only one parent or carer should accompany the child to school to minimise risk. Parents will not be invited to enter classrooms but will drop off as described above, on the playground.
Will the school have assembly/acts of worship?
Individual groups will have an opportunity for reflection within their daily session, but there will be no mass gatherings or assemblies as a school.
My child is feeling anxious about coming back to school, how can I prepare him/her?
You will need to prepare your child by talking about what school was like and what it will be like now. It will be different. We have added a social story to our Facebook page which will help your child to understand some of the changes
Will children go straight back into normal lessons following the national curriculum?
No. The initial focus will be on supporting personal, social, health and emotional aspects of learning to support children’s wellbeing and re-establishing routines. We will of course ensure that skills in English and Maths continue to be developed. Learning in school will follow the same approach as the home learning.
Will staff and children wear masks or PPE?
As it stands, the Government guidelines state, ‘The majority of staff in education settings will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work, even if they are not always able to maintain a distance of 2 metres from others. PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases including:
- children, young people and students whose care routinely already involves the use of PPE due to their intimate care needs should continue to receive their care in the same way
- if a child, young person or other learner becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus while in their setting and needs direct personal care until they can return home. A fluid-resistant surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. If contact with the child or young person is necessary, then disposable gloves, a disposable apron and a fluid-resistant surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult. If a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes, for example from coughing, spitting, or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn.’
However, at the moment school’s thinking is that this is an individual decision. If staff wish to wear face masks we will not prohibit them from doing so.
Will my child need to wear a school uniform?
No, we would ask you NOT to send your child back in uniform as we do not think it is necessary for children to return to school wearing school uniforms. Please send your child into school in sportswear: joggers, t-shirt and trainers. This means that they will not need to bring in a PE kit and can carry out all activities without having to change. They should wear fresh, clean clothes each day.
Will we allow visitors and volunteers into school?
No. Until the situation is deemed to be safe, we would prefer to minimise additional adults coming in and out of school.
Will extra-curricular clubs run (football club, dance club etc)?
No. These bring too many children into contact and mix the school groupings.
Will the school office be open?
Yes but sometimes there may be a reduced staff. We will not be accepting late arrivals to school via the main front office and do not want parents to come into the school reception unless this has previously been agreed. Where possible I would ask that parents ring/email the school as opposed to presenting in person.
Will you continue to provide online home learning activities for children who do not return to school?
We will continue to set home learning activities, during term-time, so that all children have access to provision to support their learning. These will be what the children in school are working on at the same time. With school reopening to a greater number, parents will need to be mindful that teaching staff will not be as responsive to parent emails.
Will children and young people be eligible for testing for the virus?
Yes, and we will insist on this should your child become unwell and display symptoms. The most recent guidance states that all children and members of their households in England have access to testing if they display symptoms of coronavirus, including children under 5. A positive test will ensure rapid action to protect other children and staff in their setting. Tests can be accessed through the NHS website (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/ask-for-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/).
Will teachers and other staff be able to get tested if they have symptoms?
Yes. Essential workers are also able to apply for priority testing (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested#self-referral).
What will happen if a child in the class shows symptoms?
Parents will be contacted immediately to collect their child. The child will be collected from their classroom by a member of the welfare team. Staff will be wearing PPE and will have demonstrated this to children previously. The child will wait in a designated, ventilated room until collection.
Parents/ carers/ symptomatic staff will be provided with self-isolation advice, and information about seeking help, testing and notification.
Until a reliable local testing system is in place, supervising staff member and cohort will also need to go home and self-isolate and await the results of the test. The other household members of the wider class or group do not need to self-isolate unless the child or staff member from in that group subsequently develops symptoms. On receipt of a negative test result, a pupil or staff member and that cohort may return.
Will the school take my child’s temperature every day?
Will there be any swimming lessons or trips once school opens?
No. There are no plans to take the children out of the school grounds until further notice.
What should my child bring to school each day?
We do not want your child to bring anything into school with them other than a ‘throwaway’ packed lunch if they have packed lunches. Please do not bring PE kit, rucksacks, book bags or pencil cases.
Water bottles should be brought into school and remain in school.