Return to School Arrangements
At the beginning of this week, I wrote to you and advised that we would share our plans for reopening today. Please read this letter carefully as it contains important information about school arrangements from 8th March.
Following the Government announcements, we are so excited that we will be able to welcome our community back to school, from 8th March onwards. Our whole community has worked exceptionally hard during this period of restricted opening and everyone should feel really proud of everything they have achieved. However, during this pandemic we’ve all learned that human contact is precious and nothing can replace face to face contact. Therefore we can’t wait to welcome our students back, as we slowly and safely return to normal.
School attendance will be mandatory for all pupils from 8 March. It is the duty of all parents and carers to ensure their child’s regular attendance at school. Unless your child is ill, self isolating or has a medical appointment, they should be in school. A small number of pupils will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice to self-isolate if they:
have symptoms or have had a positive test result
live with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive and are a household contact
are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19)
The advice for pupils who have been confirmed as clinically extremely vulnerable is to shield and stay at home as much as possible until further notice and we will be working with our families that this impacts to ensure continued support.
Entry and Exit from School Site
Following a comprehensive review of the updated guidance for schools, one of the key points which we have had to consider again, is the entry and exit to and from the school site at the start and end of each school day. It is vital that we ensure that schools are able to stay open by making sure that we limit the impact of large groups of people congregating and mixing with each other.
The government guidance is clear that parents and carers must not:
gather or wait in groups at the gates or
come onto the site without an appointment
It is also important that everybody on site maintains the agreed social distancing measures. Please stay at least 2m away from people outside your household when on or around the school site.
As a result of the broad range of protective measures we have had in place to date, we have been very fortunate that case numbers in our school community have been very low and there haven’t been any outbreaks of multiple linked cases within school.
We have considered previous arrangements, parental feedback and the logistics of safely welcoming everyone back and will be changing the entry and exit plans as follows:
At 8.40am Not before please - all pupils in Red Group
At 3.00pm Not before please - all pupils in Red Group
At 8.45am Not before please - all pupils in Green Group
At 3.05pm Not before please - all pupils in Green Group
At 8.50am Not before please - all pupils in Blue Group
At 3.10pm Not before please - all pupils in Blue Group
At 8.55am Not before please - all pupils in Yellow Group
At 3.15pm Not before please - all pupils in Yellow Group
By staggering the arrival and collection times by colour group, we are hoping to ensure that lengthy queues do not build up and that parents and carers will not need to queue up to enter the site more than once.
For this system to work, it’s vitally important that you do not arrive before your child’s drop off or collection time please. If people plan their arrival carefully there should be no need for queues to build up outside school.
For the safety of everyone, once you have collected your child, you must move away from the school site, please do not wait on the pavements immediately surrounding the school site for other families as this prevents free movement into and off the school site due to pavements being blocked.
Entrance to the school site will still be via Imperial Avenue and the bike shed gates on Foundry Lane, exit from the school site will be via the main gate on Foundry Lane or English Road only. The one way system will remain in place and we cannot allow any exceptions to the one way system. Please do not be offended if school staff ask you to move on from around the school site or ask you to follow the one way system as these arrangements are in place for the safety of our entire school community.
Children in Years R – 2 should be taken to their classroom doors and we will welcome them into the classroom from there. Parents will not be allowed into the classrooms. At the end of the day, staff will bring the children to the classroom door for collection. We would encourage parents of children in Years R – 2 to use the Imperial Avenue entrance where possible.
Children in Years 3 – 6 should go straight to their classrooms on arrival please, they will not need to queue up on the playground with their teacher. At the end of the day, staff will be wearing house group coloured bibs and will bring children to the playground for parents to collect as they walk through the one way system. We would encourage parents of children in Years 3 – 6 to use the Foundry Lane entrance where possible.
Arrangements for lunches will remain the same as they were before Christmas. Children will be able to order a hot meal each day if they wish to do so. A copy of the menu is available on the school website and menu choices are posted daily on the school Facebook page.
After Easter, we will be returning to a standard menu and details of this will be shared a little nearer to the time. Lunches will continue to be eaten in the classroom with the exception of Years R, 2 and 6C and 6G who we anticipate will eat their lunch in the canteen.
Following scientific evidence that transmission risks are lower outside, we will be moving to a year group bubble model for outdoor play at lunchtimes. Year groups will have their own playgrounds and this will give them the opportunity to interact with children from other classes in their year. This is a really important aspect of social development and we feel that the evidence is such that the risks are low enough to support this change.
Breakfast and after school club will run as it was before Christmas. If you no longer require a place for your child, please advise the school office before the 8th March as we have an extensive waiting list for this provision.
With the virus still in circulation in our community, there is still a chance that we will have members of our community test positive over the coming weeks. However, with the fast paced roll out of the vaccine, the chances of serious complications are now greatly reduced for those at increased risk.
In the event of a child testing positive for COVID-19, we will continue to follow the Government guidance on the definition of “close contacts” when considering the requirements for self isolation. In this event we will be working with Public Health England to require as few children as possible to isolate. We do not anticipate that by moving to year group bubbles for outdoor play at lunchtime that we would need to isolate a whole year group in the event of a positive case.
Children will remain in class bubbles at all other times apart from outdoor play at lunchtimes.
We will maintain the strict regime of hand hygiene that we had in place in the Autumn Term. This is the best way of ensuring that transmission of all viruses is minimized as much as possible.
We do understand that anxieties will remain about returning to school and we would encourage you to discuss any concerns you have with us so we can provide reassurances on the measures we have put in place to reduce any risks.