Inviting children to return to Ashgate Primary School –
Early Years Foundation Stage, Year 1 and Year 6 only – June 1st
In this document, I wish to outline the steps to be carried out in order to follow the Government’s direction to open schools once Phase 3 of their Covid 19 recovery plan has been initiated. This is currently anticipated to be on June 1st 2020. I wish to assure you that the school has considered the guidance presented by Gov UK and applied this to the development of strategies and actions individual to Ashgate Primary School.
Why are you contacting us?
It is well known that there are mixed feelings around the directive to reopen schools. Some will welcome the opportunity for their child to return, whilst others will be anxious. I wish to emphaise that children are invitedto return to school and be very clear that parents need to make their own assessment as to whether to do so. We cannot advise parents on their choice, but we will respect any decision to either send or not send a child. At this time, DfE have confirmed that there is no intention to penalize or prosecute parents for a child’s non-attendance. But, if you are notintending to send your child to school for any reason, you must inform us as per normal absence procedures so we can safeguard children’s whereabouts.
Will my child be safe?
Safety is at the core of these plans and we will do all we can to mitigate risks of transmission of Covid 19 to staff, children and others visiting the school site. However, I must be clear that there is no guarantee that these steps will prevent infection to any individual.
Our aim is to protect the staff, pupils and community from the virus and to limit any impact of it by applying 3 key strategies:
- Significantly reducing group sizes.
- Mitigating (where possible) contamination risks by restricting the contact between groups and individuals.
- Extending regular cleaning opportunities to include periodic deep clean practices.
What protective measures are you putting in place to mitigate risk?
Cooperation from parents is essential. Failure to comply could lead to the place for your child being temporarily withdrawn.
- Parents are under no circumstancesto send children to school if they or any member of the household have anysymptoms indicating Covid 19 or when they or any other person in the household are required to isolate for other reasons (including shielding for underlying health concerns). NHS England define symptoms as:
- Fever or high temperature (including ‘hot to touch’)
- New persistent cough (3 to 4 coughing sessions of around an hour duration within 24hrs)
- Loss of taste or smell
Note: We will take your child’s temperature if it is viewed that they have suspected symptoms, but not on entry to the school. This is in line with government guidance.
- In order to keep pupil numbers low and therefore as safe as possible, the school will initially not be open to all children at the same time. This will included staggering days of access, entry and exit times, as well as closure on Wednesdays for deep cleaning between these groups. This will be reviewed fortnightly. Where the offer of access to school can safelybe extended, we will do so. This may be increasing numbers of days available to those already present and/or year group access.
- Whilst we will take every step to ensure that the children socially distance, there may be occasions when the two-meter rule expected in other public settings cannot be adhered to. Government guidance recognises that primary schools may not be able to meet standard social distancing, notably the two meter rule.
- The government is very clear in their guidance that children and staff will not be required to wear any masks or forms of personal protective equipment (PPE)whilst in school, therefore they should not be sent with them. However, staff mayneed to wear personal protective equipment when working in close proximity to some children. This will occur only in certain circumstances for example when providing first aid or supporting individual care needs (such as those with continence plans).
- Any poor behaviour on the part of the pupil that compromises the safety of children or staff will lead to a place at school being temporarily withdrawn.
- Parents must communicate effectively with school and ensure that an emergency contact is constantly available.
Is there anything we can do to prepare our child if we are sending them back to school?
Parents are to emphasise to the children the essential nature of social distancing, prior to them arriving in the school grounds.
It would be helpful if you explain to the children that school will be different to before. The children may not be with their own class teacher or working in their usual setting. The government has empowered Teaching Assistants to take on teaching roles with groups throughout the day and this may be applied if numbers or pupils attending require this in order to meet class size guidance.
Good personal hygiene is identified as the greatest defence against the risk of infection. Whilst some of what is listed below is common sense and commonplace, I do wish to make the expectations very clear.
- Children will need to wear fresh/ clean school uniform each day. If clothing appears unwashed, you may be required to collect you child and return them in clean clothing.
- You should ensure that your child’s hands are washed thoroughly before arriving at school. We will get your child to wash their hands on entry and on very regular intervals throughout the day, but washing before arrival is key.
- As with clothing, if it is deemed that your child arrives in an unhygienic state, you will need to collect them and return them once they are clean.
Remember: if your child or any member of the family living at home is unwell with any of the symptoms of the virus, you must self-isolate for a period of 14 days and not send your child to school. You must inform the school of this.
What are the arrangements for entering the school grounds?
- Access to school will only be available by the side gate adjacent to the school car park (Chicken Coup Gate). All other gates will be closed to enable safeguarding and monitoring of access and egress.
- Parents must adhere to the start times and days allocated to your child. These are not flexible. These will be shared separately as directed later in this notice. Access in this manner is vital in order to limit contact on school grounds and keep your child, staff and the wider community safe from cross contamination.
- Social distancing will be promoted at all times, whilst on the school site and you will therefore need to adhere to staff direction or markings provided.
- Only one adult to accompany their child (ren) to the drop off point and then leave, following the signage provided by the school. There are no long conversations on the yard with other parents during drop off and collection. You are allowed to bring other children with you to the drop off and pick up if you have no other option.
- Communication with school is to be through the member of staff receiving your child or by telephone with the school office. Access to the school reception area is not permitted at present.
What will the ‘new normal’ operation of school look like?
- Research shows that the virus is far less transmittable in the outside environment. As a result I have instructed my teams to organise as much outside learning as is possible for this period of education.
- We will endeavor to teach some of the appropriate curriculum for your child’s year group; however there will need to be amendments to accommodate changes and to support children in their return.
- Children will be in classrooms of no more than 15 – in most cases well below this. We will endeavor to reduce this number wherever possible to allow us to organise effective social distancing.
- Children will be provided with their own set of school stationary which will be stored individually. Children are not permitted to bring their own stationary.
- Dining will be outdoors where possible.
- There will be no assemblies.
- Children will only play with the group that they are learning with in the classroom and will be required to be socially distant. They will stay with this group wherever possible during their time in school to avoid cross contamination.
- The children will not be switching groups as this undermines the attempts to reduce contact.
What will the lunchtime arrangements be? Will they need to bring a lunch or will school provide one?
- Dinners will be staggered, and the children will be eating with the group they are in. Other children may dine in the same block/building, but they will be separated and remain with their group.
- Pack meals will be provided for all children in Early Years and Year 1 under the remit of Universal Free School Meals. Parents may still send their child with their own packed lunch if they prefer, but no hot meals will be provided initially (this may alter at a later date). Year 6 children will be required to bring a packed lunch.
- Food cannot be shared between children.
When will I know when my child can come in?
Group information will be shared with parents by text no later than May 22nd.
Monday and Tuesday: Those identified as Group A
Thursday and Friday: Those identified as Group B
School will be closed on Wednesdays to provide deep cleaning.
Early Years Foundation Stage: 8:30am until 2pm
Year 1: 9:30am until 3pm
Year 6: 10:30am until 4pm
As an example, if your child is in Year 1 and you are informed that they are in Group A:
School will start at 9:30am on Monday and Tuesday.
We understand that some parents may have children in more than one group. This is unavoidable.
What will be the arrangements for collection at the end of the school day?
Parents will arrive at school in time to collect their child from the playground using the same gates as their drop off.
As with entry to the school:
- Social distancing must be adhered to at all times whilst on the school site.
- Only one adult to accompany their child (ren) to the collection point and then leave, following the signage provided by the school. There are no long conversations on the yard with other parents during collection.
Key things to remember:
- We are inviting children to attend school in the given year groups and it is the decision of parents as to whether to access this offer. The school cannot offer guidance. We will respect your choice.
- You will receive a text by May 22ndinforming you of which group your child is allocated. This will inform you of when they can access school (Group A Monday and Tuesday – Group B Thursday and Friday).
- Initially children will have access to school for a limited period but this may be extended once routines and pupil numbers on site are better established. Should a review of this evidence that access to the school can safely be extended, it will be.
- The school will be doing all possible to implement social distancing and hygiene practices, however this is not a guarantee that children will be free from infection.
- The school retains the right to deny access to the school for any individual displaying Covid 19 symptoms or placing others at risk of infection by not adhering the school practices.
- Lunches will be provided for children in EYFS and Year 1 but Year 6 children must bring a packed lunch.
If my child already accesses school as a child of a key worker or similar, will they still be able to come on days their group are not in?
Those currently accessing school under the remit of ‘Key Worker’ will continue to have access to the school on days where their child is not in class. This is applicable to children in all year groups and be based on the original format.
How will I know more information when it is relesed?
Please visit the school website Noticeboard for updates. We will text you to infom you if updates are available, but it is your responsibility to view the information and act accordingly.