Tuesday 18th August 2020
I thought that I would drop you a line to reassure you that despite headlines in the media over the last couple of weeks, we are still working towards a full opening of school in September. It is simply not true to say that schools are reluctant to open. It is true though that we are concerned about the limitations of the Track and Trace system that we were assured would be in place by September at the very latest. We had been promised additional guidance by the 11th August and so I was holding off writing to you, but it has not appeared as yet and the Government seem to be busy with other educational matters at present so I am not holding my breath!
Many of the control measures that we have had in place for the partial opening of school in June will stay in place. They have proved to be effective so far and of course we will review as we go along. But significantly bigger numbers will bring additional pressures. At the end of term we explained our staggered starts and finishes so you have an idea of how it will work. I know that Brook Babes are also in the process of sorting out their Schoolie Club so that will help many families.
Since the initial school guidance for September came out in July, Covid control measures in the community have changed. We are now required to wear masks in shops and other areas where social distancing can be difficult. Up to now, we are still being told that children should not wear masks in primary school. Our risk assessment is based around that at the moment. It does mean that we will have to use other controls to keep staff and children safe. Our staff have had the option of wearing masks and/or visors up until now and this will continue. We will also be using Perspex screens to separate children and staff during close up activities such as Speech and Language therapy, marking, 1-1 reading. In order to keep school open full time and meet the statutory requirements of providing planning, preparation and assessment time (PPA) and to support children’s learning, some staff will have to work in more than one bubble. This may impact on who has to isolate if there is positive case of Covid in school. We will keep you updated.
The risk assessment and implementation of control measures are mammoth tasks and a huge responsibility which we are taking very seriously. We will do everything that we can to keep our children, families, staff and the wider community safe. However, we can only be as safe as our families will allow. It is imperative that you support our measures by adhering strictly to the controls that we put in place. These will include:
Only one adult per family to drop off/pick up
Arriving at exactly the time allocated for drop off/pick up
Leaving Key Stage 2 children at the gates for drop off
Remaining on the playground when escorting KS1 and Reception children into the grounds. You will be asked not to come to the door.
Socially distancing whilst waiting to drop off/collect children (2m)
Leaving the premises immediately after drop off/collection
Adults wearing a mask whilst on school premises
Contacting the office only by phone or email
Ensuring that the school is kept informed of any potential Covid infection
I will, of course, keep you updated on any additional guidance we receive as and when it comes in. Once the Governors have reviewed and agreed the Risk Assessment, it will be available to view on our website.
Once we have overcome the hurdles of getting everyone back in and routines have been established, we will be focusing on our remote learning offer. This is in case of a local lockdown or bubbles in school having to close. We will have this in place by the end of September. Our aim will be to offer a more targeted curriculum than last term, and will include some online learning in a more structured way. For children in Years 3 to 6 we have been asked by the Government to identify families who do not have access to Ipads/tablets/laptop for their children according to the following criteria:
children with no digital devices in their household
children whose only available device is a smartphone
children with a single device in their household that’s being shared with more than one other family member
Device orders can be placed when:
face to face education at a school is disrupted following official advice
a school supports a clinically extremely vulnerable child who is shielding or selfisolating following official advice
a school is supporting children who live in an area subject to local restrictions which means they’re unable to attend
If you feel that you may meet the criteria, please email into firstname.lastname@example.org before 7th September so that we can make the application as soon as we are back. Please title the email – Digital devices.
Also attached to this email is a quick reference guide for Covid-19 related pupil absence based on the guidance that came out in August. I have put it into a table to make it clearer so you don’t have to wade through the pages of text! We will also put this on the website, (under the Parents tab - Late/absence procedures).
On a different note, we have taken the decision to continue with having the individual photographs taken this year. The photographer has put in measures to make sure that children will not be put at additional risk. These include maintaining social distancing and children not being seated. Because of the logistics of maintaining bubbles and staff we will not be allowed to have family/siblings pictures this year. The date will be Tuesday 22nd September.
Finally, my thoughts are with all our families who are going through the trauma of A level and GCSE results. It is tough at the best of times and these surely are the worst of times. Hopefully some of those who were affected last Thursday have better news to come.
Sending you all my best wishes
Mrs Claire Harrison