Phased Return to School
26th May 2020
Thank you for your patience during this confusing and difficult time. At the moment, everyone in school is trying to make school as safe as we can despite the general acceptance that implementing social distancing is extremely difficult with young children. We are processing all the different government guidance and have written a rigorous risk assessment and re-entry plan to ensure that when school reopens it is not only safe but sustainable.
As you will be aware, the government have requested, where safe to do so, Primary Schools should try to welcome back children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 at a date from the 1st June, utilising smaller class sizes and phased returns. However, as an Infant School, we have been directed by the Local Authority to welcome back Year 2 children first, followed by F2, Year 1 and then F1 if places are available.
Schools have also been directed in the government’s guidance to continue to prioritise the provision of childcare for children whose parents are Key Workers. As we have since 23rd March, we will continue to offer Key Worker places and from 1st June, the children will be organised into Year group bubbles, with F1 and F2 together as a Foundation Stage bubble. Due to staffing availability we will only be able to have five bubbles and therefore after Key Worker places have been allocated, the number of other children we will be able to welcome back will be significantly reduced and it is highly unlikely that places will be available for Year 1, F2 or F1 for the remainder of the summer term.
The table below shows how we aim to proceed with re-entry to school. Each phase will be thoroughly reviewed by the governing body, taking into account staffing availability, latest government, local authority and scientific guidance and only if it is safe and in line with our rigorous risk assessment, will numbers of pupil increase.
As you can see from the timetable, we will have Key Worker children only for Phase 1 as the number of children in this group has grown significantly from the start and we now have more than 30 children in this category, with more children starting over the next two weeks. We will update parents on the likelihood of other children coming back to school as we move into each phase.
We will also be introducing new procedures for entering and leaving school, where only one parent can accompany the child and specific entrances will be used for each bubble with allocated start and finish times. Further detail of these for each bubble will be emailed later in the week. The entrances will be marked with 2m distancing grids and we would appreciate it if parents wait in line for staff to welcome the children and do not gather at gateways. At home time the children will be brought out to the parents and we would appreciate it if you left the school site as soon as you collect your child. Also if a child is coming to school on a bike or scooter, these will need to be taken home and not left in school during the day.
The catering team will be returning to school from 1st June and therefore key worker children will no longer need to bring a packed lunch, school will provide a choice of Deli options for the children and these will be discussed with the children at the start of each day. The only item children need to bring to school is a named water bottle which will be kept on the child’s individual desk. The classrooms have been reorganised to separate the desks and ensure that the children are sitting as far away from each other as possible in order to reduce the risk of children touching surfaces that other children have touched. Each child will have their own stationary bag including all resources that they will need. These bags will be cleaned at lunchtime and again at the end of the day. They do not need to bring a school bag into school, in order to minimise the risk of transmission through contact with home/school resources. Any coats will be hung on the back of chairs and we do not expect children to wear school uniform, just clean clothes each day.
The playgrounds have been divided to ensure that different areas are specific to different bubbles. Children will be encouraged to play outside as much as possible as they will have more space and fresh air, however they will not be able to play with children from another bubble.
We will continue with our hand washing procedures and introduce new children to these as they return to school. Each bubble will have separate toilets and sinks not used by children in a different bubble and the frequency of cleaning has been increased. Should a child be taken ill, staff will wear appropriate PPE whilst caring for the child until a parent is able to collect them.
Obviously we do not expect you to bring your child into school if they or anyone in your household is displaying any symptoms of COVID19 as per the following guidance:
I know many of you will have your own thoughts and opinions regarding your own child’s potential return to school. I want to reassure you that you will be supported in whatever decision you make about the education, health and well-being of your child. I understand that this is not an easy decision for you to make and you will want to consider the safety of your whole family in making that decision. Please do not feel any pressure from us to take any course of action that you are not completely comfortable with. It will not be compulsory for you to send your child to school and the Local Authority will not be implementing a fixed penalty notice if you choose not to send your child back to school.
The next few weeks are going to be very different for everyone as more children settle back into school. In order to plan for the forthcoming changes, I would appreciate it, if you could let us know your intentions regarding returning to school and if you are a Key Worker, whether you intend taking up your Key Worker place, especially as places are going to be limited. After reading this letter, if you are a Year 2 parent, I would appreciate it if you could let us know if you are going to send your child back to school, so that staffing can be allocated accordingly.
Thank you for your continued support. Take care and keep safe