Letter to Parents & Carers : 05 March 2021
You must do the things you think you cannot do.”
Dear Parents and Pupils:
We are especially looking forward to welcoming back everyone who’ve been working remotely from home since January and wish to say a HUGE thank you to the amazing efforts from everyone – parents, carers and pupils – in working alongside school staff as we successfully implemented our blended learning programme.
However, I know the excitement and relief many families are feeling with their children returning to school next week, will also be coupled with some anxiety. Please be assured that careful planning and updates to all our COVID-19 risk assessments have been completed – to ensure continued safe learning and work environments for everyone.
In preparation for our reopening next week, we have reviewed and revised our COVID-19 procedures – many of which are similar to those that were in place in the Autumn term 2020, and which are touched on throughout this letter. We hope that the information contained in this letter will answer any questions regarding how the school will operate social distancing measures, and what it will look like when your child/ren come back to school.
Please be aware that this information remains subject to change, and we will continue to keep you updated and informed should any further changes be necessary.
Key points for the school reopening are the following:
- School is open from Monday 8th March for all pupils (unless they have a shielding letter issue by the NHS).
- Please bring a clearly named water bottle each day
- The school day starts at 09:00 with gates opening form 08:45.
- Collection times for the end of the day are:
- Family Groups: 15:00 – 15:10
- All other pupils are to be collected from 15:15 – 15:30
- All pupils are to be collected via the main gates, with children exiting from Pod 2 (Years 1, 2 & 3) and Pod 3 (Years 4, 5 & 6) as set out on the map below. Kindly note that Pod 1 pupils (Nursery & Reception) are to be dropped off and collected from the main gates (parents are not able to come onto the school site). This will be reviewed following the Easter Holidays.
- Breakfast Club – begins on Monday 8th March (see section further on for more information).
- Afterschool Clubs – do not begin until April 19th.
When will my child return to school?
All children return to school from Monday 8th March (unless they have a shielding letter issue by the NHS).
How will children be grouped? – Pods and Bubbles explained:
All children will remain in their year groups and each year group will be known as a bubble.
Pupils continue to be split into 3 pods across the school. Each pod is made up of a group of class bubbles. Each pod will have morning playtime, lunch and lunch playtimes together. The class bubbles in each pod are:
- Pod 1: Nursery and Reception
- Pod 2: Years 1, 2 & 3
- Pod 3: Years 4, 5 & 6
Where, when and how do I drop off and collect my child/ren?
Dropping off your child/ren:
There will be 3 entry routes into the school, one for each pod of children. Each pod has a coloured route that includes the exclusive use of a stairwell for each pod. Before each child enters the stairwell, they will use the hand sanitiser (automated dispensers) provided at the base of each stairwell, this will be supervised by school support staff.
Gates will be open from 8:45 until 09:00 am. Children are to enter at their allocated entrance point as soon as they arrive. We ask that you do not congregate with other families outside the school gates, to help us keep entrances clear and minimise the risk of transmission. All class teachers and support staff will be in classrooms awaiting the children’s arrival. Members of the school’s Senior Leadership Team, School Keeper and Admin staff will be supervising drop off routes for all children.
Pod 1: Nursery and Reception
Children in these year groups will come into school through the main school black gate on Elverton Street. Parents will hand their child over to staff at the blue gates, and not access the school grounds, as was the practice in the Autumn Term.
Pod 2: Years 1, 2 & 3
Children in these year groups will come into school through the main entrance on Elverton Street and then use the small blue gate in the school carpark to enter the school playground. They will use the blue staircase for access to their classes. The blue staircase is for the use of children in this pod only. Please note that parents of children in these year groups are not able to enter the school site.
Pod 3: Years 4, 5 & 6
Children in these year groups will come into school through the school office entrance on Rochester Street. They will use the grey staircase for access to their classes. The grey staircase is for the use of children in this pod only. Please note that parents of children in these year groups are not able to enter the school site.
Collecting your child/ren:
Please remember children must be collected by an adult who lives in the same house as them or is part of their childcare bubble.
Family groups must be collected between 15:00 & 15:10 each day.
Family groups will be dismissed from the main playground (Pitch Area).
Individual pupils must be collected between 15:15 & 15:30 each day.
- Pod 1: Nursery & Reception children will exit though the main gates, lining up next to the round gazebo.
- Pod 2: Years 1, 2 & 3 children will exit from the left-hand side of the main pupil gates.
- Pod 3: Years 4,5 & 6 children will exit from the right-hand side of the pitch area.
Please note that staff will send your children to you, you will not be permitted on the school site.
Please ensure that you arrive at the times set out for collecting your child/ren. We are not able to amend these times if you arrive early. Any late collections for any pod or grouping will have to wait until 15:30 to be collected via the main school office. This is because your child/ren will need to supervised separately within their pods until the remainder of the school has gone and staff are in the right places to be able to assist with late pickups.
Please remember everything we are doing to minimise the risk of transmission is very carefully timed and managed. We are not at this time in a position to be able to respond to any ad-hoc personal time management situations.
What happens if we arrive before the gates are open?
If you arrive before the school gates are open, please ensure both you and your child/ren observe social distancing guidance. As soon as the school gates open please send your child/ren in, and then leave the area as soon as possible. This means not stopping to talk to other parents/carers. We appreciate that this is difficult, but this is crucial as transmission is said to be higher between adults, and therefore we ask that you help us to minimise this potential risk at the school gates and boundaries (during dropping off and collection times).
What happens if we are late?
As you will have realised from the detailed information provided, we have gone to significant lengths to ensure that we have minimised the risk of transmission of the virus within the school – this is especially important during the busiest and often most congested times of the school day.
Therefore, you must ensure that your child/ren are dropped off and collected within the times set.
If you arrive late you need to wait on the marked areas (2 metre spaces lines) outside the main school office entrance, in Rochester Street, maintaining social distance guidance. A member of the admin team will attend to you as soon as they are free to do so. Please note that this may not be immediately, and you may have to wait for up to 15 minutes before your child can enter the school. For this reason, please ensure that you get to school on time.
Collection at the end of the day: If your child is not collected on time at the end of the school day you will be subject to a £5.00 fine for every 5 minutes you are late. Continued lateness creates an additional risk to the safe and efficient procedures of the school that we have put in place at this time.
What will my child wear to school?
Children in Nursery to Year 6 must return to school in their full school uniform.
Physical Education (PE):
On the days that your child has PE they need to come to school wearing their full PE kit (not school uniform), as they will not be changing clothes at school. Therefore, please ensure that they have the correct PE uniform (including a separate PE sweatshirt), and that they have appropriate PE bottoms (joggers or leggings) for when the weather is cooler. Unless it is raining – all PE lessons will be taken outside.
For the Spring Term, classes have PE on the following days:
What should my child bring to school?
We continue to ask that children do not bring anything into school with them apart from:
- A clearly named water bottle (please ensure fresh water is put in at the start of each day).
- A book bag (Mondays and Fridays only) – All reading books will be issued on Mondays and returned on Fridays. This is to allow for books to be sanitised and removed from use for 72 hours before being r
- A packed lunch box, if your child does not have school lunches.
- Jackets/Coats/Umbrellas are only to be worn or brought to school when it is wet or cold.
Travelling to and from school:
We would recommend that all children walk to school where possible. Bikes and scooters are unable to be stored at school at this current time. If you are unable to walk to school and are using public transport, please ensure that you follow government COVID-19 guidance.
What is in place for breakfast and after school clubs?
Breakfast Club will resume on Monday 8th March for all pupils. Children attending need to enter via the main school office entrance on Rochester Street. Please note that all children must arrive between 08:00 and 08:15am. All children will need to register for Breakfast Club as usual, and children will be seated according to their pod. All food and drink will be brought to the children at this time, with staff clearing tables when they have finished to minimise movement in the breakfast hall.
After School Club:
After school club will not be starting until the 19th April (following the Easter Break).
What will lunch time look like?
School lunches will resume as normal from Monday 8th March at a charge of £2.00 per day (£10.00 per week). Each pod will come to lunch at the same time and will sit at designated tables. The tables will be sanitised between each lunch (pod) sitting.
Once children have finished their lunch, they will follow their specific colour route out of the hall to their designated playground space. Children who have a packed lunch will bring that with them to the hall. Please ensure that those children who are bringing a packed lunch, bring one that is healthy (no sweets, crisps, fruit juice or fizzy drinks).
The water fountains across the school continue to be out of use, so pupils will bring their water bottle to lunch with them (including those children who have a packed lunch). These can be refilled across the day if needed.
What will learning look like?
All children will be accessing the full curriculum when they return in March. Where identified, adaptations will be made to support children in addressing any gaps that they may have developed in their learning. Following a range of assessments (that will be carried out at the end of this half term), we will begin booster classes for identified pupils following the Easter Break that will be led by their class teachers.
Will assemblies and collective worship be taking place?
Unfortunately, at this time we will not be meeting together as a whole school in either the hall or the church, as outlined by government guidance. However, collective worship will continue to take place daily, with Graham, either leading this online or leading in one class on any given day, along with class teachers leading collective worship for their children on this day.
Will staff be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
No, staff will not be wearing PPE most of the time. However, exceptions to this are:
- When a member of staff is with a child who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 they will wear PPE whilst they remain with the child until they are collected.
- When a child (Nursery/Reception) has had a toileting accident and requires assistance to change their clothing.
What happens if a child/adult displays symptom of COVID-19?
If a child or adult begins to show symptoms of COVID-19 they will be taken to the Medical Room They will have their temperature taken (using a digital thermometer that does not touch them). If their temperature is recorded at being over 38 degrees a phone call will be made home for the parent/carer (from the household the child lives in only) to come and collect them. The child will remain supervised in the Medical Room until they are collected.
If an adult displays symptom they will leave the school site immediately.
The child or member of staff who is unwell MUST go and have a COVID test to confirm whether or not they have COVID-19. If the test is negative, they may return to school after 48 hours or when they have recovered from whatever the illness was. (Please note the school will need to see the test outcome paperwork when the child/adult returns).
However, if the result comes back positive the NHS Test and Trace service will speak directly to you and make contact with whomever you have been in contact with and offer advice. This advice may include that children/staff in a bubble or pod need to self-isolate.
It is crucial that anyone displaying symptoms must be tested as soon as possible – ideally on that day. This ensures that the risks to children and adults in each bubble and pod is minimised.
Please note that the school will not re-admit any child or adult who is sent home with a temperature over 38 degrees and/or other symptoms without proof of a COVID-19 test.
Please note that children in Primary schools will not be having lateral flow tests completed.
What happens if the school has to close suddenly?
A Rapid Closure Protocol has been written which we will follow in the event that the school needs to close suddenly. If this occurs, we will contact all parents/carers immediately. Therefore, it is important that the school has your correct contact numbers, so please call the school office and inform them of any changes to contact details as soon as possible. It is important that you are easily contactable whilst your child is at school.
Please ensure that your mobile is close at hand and on, or alternatively that you have registered your work contact details with the school, if you are not permitted to have your mobile phone on your person in work. If the school needs to close suddenly it means you are given no notice and that you’re required to collect, you child immediately. Remember children cannot be collected by someone who does not live in their household, even in this situation.
Many thanks to all families for taking the time to read this letter and familiarise themselves with the schools COVID-19 procedures in place for the return to school on Monday 8th March 2021. If you have any further questions or there is something that you are not sure about, please do not hesitate to contact the school office.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding during these challenging times.
We are all really looking forward to seeing all children and families (however limited this is at present) back at school. We thank you in advance for your assistance in helping us with the challenges and alternative ways of working we are currently presented with.
Ms Yvonne Barnett