20th May 2020
Re: Reopening of school to Reception, Year 1, and Year 6 from 1 June 2020
Thank you for your patience while we have given considerable thought as to how we can reopen school for these year groups and other year groups who may return during the summer term. We have been working hard to create detailed plans to make sure we can safely welcome Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 groups back if it is safe for us to start the phased reopening of the school. It was lovely and heart-warming to talk to parents/carers from these key groups over the past week to find out about your personal circumstances and feelings at this difficult time. I hope that you feel reassured about your decisions and want to remind you again that you know what’s best for your child’s health and wellbeing and we won’t be pressuring you to send your child/Children to school. We appreciate that this is a significant decision for you to make. The government has also said it will be up to parents/carers whether they send their child or not.
We are looking forward to welcome our children and staff back to school but just to remind you that if your child is clinically extremely vulnerable, or living with someone in this group, they should not come back to school and should continue home learning. If your child is clinically vulnerable but not clinically extremely vulnerable, you should follow medical advice to determine if they should come back to school.
When the school does open on the 1st June (please note, if Government guidance changes, we will contact you), staff will endeavour to keep all children safe and all adults and pupils will be expected to adhere to the measures detailed in the school’s COVID-19 risk assessment which will be expanded upon below.. However, our school will look very different. Safety and protective measures will significantly change our school operations, in order to reduce the risk for children and staff. The government guidance directs us to:
- stagger the times of any movement around the school as well as start and finish times
- keep class groups to a maximum of 15
- keep children in these smaller groups for the whole time they are in school
- not allow these groups of children to mix with each other at all
- encourage children to maintain social distancing where possible.
We cannot guarantee that children will socially distance and government guidance states this issue very clearly. However, there is a huge amount of work taking place behind the scenes to help minimise the risk to both pupils and staff.
Following the recent government announcement regarding a phased return to school for some pupils, we have been working closely with Durham County Council to establish what is right for our school. The council is supporting all schools in the county, to establish a pattern and timeframe that works for them. They have provided a risk assessment, which is designed to put the health and safety of children first and ensure each school mitigates, to the best of their ability, risks associated with a phased return. Working with the Council, we have decided that the following approach best suits the needs of children and families at Nettlesworth Primary School.
We intend to invite Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children back to school on Monday 1st June.This will enable the children to have regular lessons and help them to become familiar with the new routines in school, which will be very different from their previous experience. Wherever possible, children will be taught by their own teacher.
The times of arrival and departure for the different year groups will be:
Reception Children- 8.45am-3.00pm
Reception children will be supervised by Miss Grant, Miss Milburn and Mrs Hindmarch in Class 3
Year 1 children- 9.00am-3.15pm
Year 1 children will be supervised by Mrs Aspinall and Mrs Moore in Class 2
Year 6 children- 9.15am-3.30pm
Year 6 children will be supervised by Mr Graham and Mrs Shaw in Class 4
Vulnerable pupils and children of critical workers will continue to access school provision between 8.00am-3.30pm. Please could parents/carers tell us exact drop off and pick up times along with days of care a week in advance so that adults in charge of this bubble can be at the door for exit and arrival of these children. These children will be supervised by Mrs Hill and Mrs Gallacher in class 1.
- At these allocated times parents/carers will need to be waiting outside main school gate at main entrance, adhering to social distance requirements at all times. Parents/Carers will not be allowed to enter the school building/school site or have the daily contact or conversations they are used to having with staff but we will try our best. Contact will continue to be electronic via email and telephone. Please adhere to strict social distancing at drop off points and only arrive at school in time to drop off and collect your child. Arriving or staying close to school outside of this time could put other staff, parents/carers and pupils at risk. Please ensure you are aware of your child’s pick up and drop off times and stick rigidly to these times to help the day run smoothly – Your child’s group adult will collect children from the gate and they will be escorted into school to wash hands immediately. If you are late you must ring the office to arrange an alternative drop off.
School will feel strange at first and I am constantly following guidance and assessing every risk to keep everyone safe. Some of the safeguarding measures school we will implement are as follows:
- Children who display coronavirus type symptoms or children who live with someone who has coronavirus will not be able to attend school. Isolation and self-isolation rules will be followed.
- To maintain social distancing and appropriate levels of cleanliness, the start and finish times of the school day will be staggered.
- Children will be in groups ranging from 2- 10 (maximum) dependent on classroom sizes with 1 teacher and 1 teaching assistant.
- The teaching and learning will focus on children’s wellbeing and basic skills.
- Lessons will involve more independent learning as the teacher will not be able to go side by side or sit next to them to give them targeted support
- Your child may not be with their usual class teacher or with their friends but we will do whatever we can to maintain this
- Your child will have their own learning areas and will need to stay in this space – they will have to, where possible, remain 2 metres apart from staff and children.
- Children do not need to wear school uniform but do need to wear clean washed clothes daily as the virus is known to sit on clothing and paper for a period of time.
- Many of the activities children are used to accessing, such as, water play, sand, construction, and playdough for the younger children, cannot for safety reasons be available
- Classrooms will have all unnecessary furniture, equipment and all soft furnishings removed.
- Social distancing rules cannot be guaranteed due to the young age of the children returning.
- Strict hygiene rules will continue to be implemented. Children will frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry thoroughly. They will clean their hands on arrival at the setting, before and after eating, and after sneezing or coughing.
- The children will only be allowed to use individually allocated stationery and a small selection of activities and resources as they are not allowed to share with others.
- Children will be given regular drinks of water using disposable cups rather than their water bottles
- Children should not bring anything from home into school except for a sun hat on days where it is forecast to be warm and sunny. Please ensure that you have put sun cream on your child at the start of the school day as they will be going outside wherever possible and this will protect them.
- The groups of children will have to remain in their groups (bubbles) at all times – school will ensure that lunch and play times are separate.
- If your child receives a free school meal or you pay for school meals, the meal will be served to your child in their class base.
- There will be no before or after-school provision.
- Staff will not wear any PPE – unless for intimate care, first aid or if a child/adult develops symptoms.
- Parents will not be allowed to gather on the playground or enter the school building. You will have to communicate with staff by telephone and call the office to make an appointment. Only one parent or carer is permitted to bring their child to school and collect them at the allocated time.
- Movement in corridors will be different and as far as possible, there will be continue to be a one-way system with 2m distance markings.
- If you choose to send your child into school, we ask that you continue to maintain social distancing at home to ensure everyone is protected within their pod. We need to be aware that for every social contact you make you could come into contact with the virus so we need to minimize these risks to protect children and staff. All government social distancing guidance must be followed.
- If a child or an adult in their group is confirmed as having the virus, the whole group including the staff working with that group, will be sent home immediately to self-isolate for 14 days.
Home Learning work set by teachers will continue for the rest of the children who can’t yet attend school. However, email support will be limited, as staff will be busy teaching in school. Our home learning packs for Summer term 2 is now available on our school website under their class activities page . If you would like a paper copy of these learning packs to be delivered, posted or to collect, please email our school office on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any concerns about helping your child learn or need any other support from the school please continue to let us know and we will try be with you every step of the way. Our school website continues to be a bank of resources, online links and information for you to access.
The government has also stated that it will continue to provide Free School Meals vouchers during the summer term.
Thankyou from the bottom of my heart to you all for persevering and continuing to work with our different ways of operation. I would also like to thank our wonderful staff again for their positive attitudes and readiness to respond to requests and go above and beyond to make sure we do the best we can for the children. Also a huge thank you to our wonderful children, who have been fantastic during these difficult times. I am so proud to be Head Teacher of our amazing little school- it’s a huge team effort with you fantastic parents/carers, children, staff and governors all working together.