Dear Parents and Carers
Plans for the gradual re-opening of school from Monday 8 June 2020
In this document you will find sections covering all the plans we have been able to make towards safely opening the school to more pupils from Monday 8 June 2020. The information is not a comprehensive list of everything we have planned but we have done our best to signpost you to the information we have taken our decisions from.
It is our hope that this starts to help all of our families feel safe about the return to school.
There are sections of this document that have been extremely challenging to write as, at times, it goes against everything that most of us hold dear, but we have worked hard to balance the emotional wellbeing of the children and our staff with the rigorous safety measures that we need to implement. We have used the government guidance (particularly the two documents that are linked to below) as the basis for most of our planning, although final decisions have been, and will continue to be, made that are best for our children, staff and wider school community.
I know that everyone involved will want to work together to ensure the safest possible situation for everyone and that everything that happens next will continue to help us learn, achieve and grow together. Our two key focal points are the safety measures that we put in place to keep everyone physically well, but also the atmosphere we create that keeps children and staff happy and relaxed in order to stay emotionally well.
Overview: The list of items on the following pages remain a ‘work in progress’ and for continuous review.
The list is not in any specific order and many of the items are interrelated, so please read the whole document carefully before raising any questions with the school. If you do have questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Pupil Numbers: The guidance for Special Schools is to work towards welcoming back as many children and young people as can safely be catered for in the setting. We are therefore prioritising attendance based on key transitions and the impact on life chances and development, and have created rotas so that as many children as possible can benefit from attending. We have worked with the local authority and families to ensure that decisions about attendance are informed by existing risk assessments.
From 8 June 2020 we shall be taking 20 pupils, on a rota, who are either key worker children, extremely vulnerable or those finding it very hard to maintain behaviour and emotional wellbeing at home.
- Future Planning: It is the plan to run the current arrangements for the next three weeks and then further risk assessments will inform if the school can open more widely after this.
- Staffing plans: Based on the above pupil numbers we have created daily ‘bubbles’. We are also working to minimise the number of staff involved.
- Infection Control/Social Distancing: The guidance is very clear that schools are not being expected to maintain 2m gaps between people and we want to be up front from the start that it is likely to be extremely challenging to do this at all times. Nonetheless, we believe we have already made plans that will maintain the distancing measures whilst in school as much of the time as possible. The government guidance provides the following ‘hierarchy’ of priorities for infection control:
- Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend childcare settings, schools or colleges.
- Cleaning hands more often than usual – wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered.
- Ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
- Cleaning frequently touched surfaces often using standard products, such as detergents and bleach
- Minimising contact and mixing by altering, as much as possible, the environment (such as classroom layout) and timetables (such as staggered break time)
The final point is important and we are going to do all we can to distance everyone, but we have to be clear with everyone that we cannot guarantee a 2m gap at all times.
Some of the infection control measure will be covered in other sections, but here are a number of key areas that we have already agreed in our risk assessment:
- Any child who displays symptoms will be sent home. If the only symptom displayed has been a cough, we will send the child home and liaise with the parents to see if it persists. If there is a persistent cough or a temperature children will have to be tested and will not be able to return to school until they have been cleared or have gone through the subsequent isolation period:
- Parents will be expected to ensure that there is never a time that there will not be an adult available to collect a child within 45 minutes of receiving a call from school. If the child needs to go home because of symptoms, the school will have an area that is not used for anything else, where the child will be isolated whilst being supervised by an adult who can maintain at least a 2m distance throughout. Weather permitting, this will take place outside;
- If there is a confirmed case in school, we will enact policies to test and/or isolate the rest of the staff and children in that class and all parents will be informed;
- Children will have to wash their hands regularly and will need to bring their own hand-cream if this causes skin problems. We expect that this will be at least 5-6 times per day.
- Tissues in individual packs/boxes will be available for every child to help promote the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
- Surfaces will be washed thoroughly each day and wiped with antibacterial spray at regular intervals during the day.
- The school will be closed every Monday and this time will be used for cleaning
- Each class will have their own First Aid Kits to avoid cross-contamination between class groups.
- In order to ensure the safety of the rest of the school community it is vital that parents choosing to send their child to school respect all government guidance and are not mixing with others outside of their household beyond the current regulations. If school has evidence that this is not the case, we reserve the right to not provide places for those children;
- Although we do not expect this to be the case, where children are unable to follow the protocols that are put in place for the safety of everyone, we may have to ask parents to keep that child at home.
- Ventilation will be used as much as possible with windows and external doors opened when it is safe and appropriate to do so. We do intend to use our outdoor spaces for learning as well as break times as much as possible.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Staff will be wearing scrubs and masks all of the time. Face visors and gloves are available and are optional for staff to wear unless carrying out any personal care procedure or where social distancing is not possible.
- Pick-up and Drop-Offs: The current plan is to keep our normal drop off window of 8.45am-9.00am but with clear protocols in place:
- Parents/drivers and escorts are to remain in cars at all times.
- Pupils are to be collected from and dropped back to the car by staff.
- Parents dropping off and collecting on foot should queue on the yellow footprints outside the main entrance.
- The end of the school day will be 2.30pm
- Communication: Please continue to contact the school via your current methods, e.g. phone, email. We will no longer be using a school diary; the teacher will email at the end of the day to say how your child has been and the learning accessed.
- Playtimes/Lunchtimes: We don’t think that we need to do staggering of beaks or lunchtimes. Staff will lead and monitor activities for the children which avoid the use of shared resources and help the children maintain social-distancing as much as possible. We are certain that our skilled staff will make this a fun adventure for the children. Fixed outdoor equipment will not be used, to avoid cross-contamination.
- Catering: All pupils attending school will need to provide a packed lunch. Those on Free School Meals will continue to receive vouchers in order to do this.
- Curriculum: Mostly we will continue to create and follow the class online learning with children in school having support with that, often from Learning Support Assistants so that the teachers can continue to support remotely where needed for those who are still at home. Teachers will be designing this to keep it as low key and as simple as possible to lessen the normal intensity of a school day as we want to do everything we can to keep the classrooms happy and relaxed whilst still learning and being constructive.
- Classroom layouts: Please see photographs of the classroom layout at the end of this letter.
- Signage: We will have hand-washing guides up in appropriate areas and have child-friendly distancing signs. Please see photographs at the end of this letter.
- Resources: Each child will have their own tray with all of the resources they will need for regular tasks. We want to avoid having to clean resources day-to-day and children having their own things that no-one else touches is one way of achieving this.
- Uniform and items from home: We expect children to come to school in their normal uniform, but are happy for them to come in footwear such as trainers as we will not have PE kits in school as the children will not be getting changed. We understand children may have outgrown some of their uniform and we would not expect it to be replaced with so little time left at school, but we would ask that they wear as similar to school uniform as possible. If any parent is unsure about this, please contact the school in advance. All children will need their own sunhats and must have suncream applied at home before coming into school. Children will also need to bring their own water bottle to school.
- Visitors: We will have no unplanned visitors to the school and the only planned visitors will be for things like essential maintenance. Where we do need to have a visitor they will undertake their visit away from everyone else with strict distancing, hand-washing and all other infection control measures in place. Unfortunately, parents are included in this protocol and will not be allowed into the school buildings.
Please rest assured that the amazing staff are working tirelessly to ensure that everything we do is as safe as possible, but are also determined to make this all a fun and exciting new adventure for the children involved so that ‘different’ is not a cause for worry, rather a fantastic way to try new things and to share these strange times with friends and extended school family.
Sonia White, Headteacher