23rd September 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
Following the government briefing last night I wanted to update you on the impact that this will have on Foundry Lane.
The Government has made it very clear that they do not intend to close schools as part of their plans to reduce transmission of the virus. This is good news, but means that we need to ensure that we continue to find ways of staying open safely and protecting every member of our community.
I understand that people have a range of very different viewpoints regarding the spread of the virus. As a community we need to work together to ensure that everybody, whatever their views, can access our school and feel safe. I would like to thank you again for the positivity that so many members of our community are continuing to show as they cope with the affect that this situation is having on all our lives. Your support is invaluable to the school staff.
We are trying as hard as we can to take everybody’s personal circumstances into account, but this situation requires all of us to endure a certain amount of inconvenience and to take personal responsibility for our own safety and for the safety of others. Remember, like you, we are trying to work within a constantly changing set of Government guidelines and need your support to make this as successful as possible. It won’t be easy, but by working together we can ensure that the ongoing impact on our children is as small as possible.
Arrival of pupils at school
This is one of the most challenging parts of the school day for us. Our site is not large enough to allow all of our families to enter the site safely and wait together as we used to. However, we recognise that queuing is not an ideal situation either. The changes we have made to the arrival times should mean that less of our families need to queue. All year groups now have a five minute ‘window’ in which they can safely arrive and if people make good use of this then there is no need for large queues to form. Please do not arrive earlier than you need to.
Many parents who arrive at, or just after the gate opening are able to walk straight onto site without any queuing at all.
The weakness of our system is that families with pupils in different year groups may have to queue briefly between drop offs. We have shortened the drop off times to make this as short a time as possible. When you are queuing please do not use this as a time to socialise with your friends, the ‘rule of six’ should be observed at all times around the school site. Please give everybody space.
The queues now move very quickly once the gates are open, even when they appear to be quite long. For this reason we would rather have a long queue that goes in one direction than two queues. We have clearly indicated in which direction we would like you to queue in order to avoid exits becoming blocked.
Despite our earlier plea, we have noticed that some of our community are still congregating around the exits of the school site. This is causing dangerous bottle necks and crowds of people. Please do not do this and don’t be offended if you are asked by school staff to move on and away from the exits.
As a school, we have tried to minimise the need for face coverings as much as possible. The Government guidance is that these are not worn in school during the school day because this affects communication between adults and children, this is unlikely to change. However, we have observed that some of our community continue to ignore social distancing when queuing, are gathering in groups to “have a chat” and congregating around the entrances and exits.
In light of the national move to Alert Level 4 meaning “a high or rising level of transmission of the virus - enforced social distancing” from 24th September 2020 all parents and carers who are queuing and entering the school site will be required to wear a face covering because they are spending a short time in close proximity with people outside of their household. We do understand that some people will be exempt from wearing a face covering and we will of course show understanding in making these exceptions.
Supervision of Children
Please can I renew my request that you keep your children with you at all times, both when queuing and whilst on the school site. For their own safety and that of others, family groups need to stay together, children shouldn’t be running up and down the pavements outside of school and shouldn’t be running on ahead of parents or carers once on the school site.
Advice from Hampshire Constabulary
I have received communication and advice from Hampshire Constabulary this week detailing how extremists are using COVID-19 to promote disinformation, misinformation, and conspiracy theories. I would like to share part of this communication with you:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, false and misleading narratives about the virus have been spread, particularly online, to force change or to place blame on “out groups” and minorities. This can further incite hatred, justify violence, and divide communities. Whilst some of this occurs on popular social media platforms, it can also be found on lesser known, less moderated platforms. These sites can include easily available extreme and conspiratorial content.
As I have previously said, people have a range of very different viewpoints regarding the spread of the virus but we do expect our community to be respectful to each other and to our staff.
In the words of our Prime Minister, “a stitch in time saves nine,” by acting now and working together, hopefully we can reduce the amount of time that these restrictions are in place.
With best wishes
Foundry Lane Primary School