Letter to Parents & Carers : Sept 2020 opening arrangements
Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”
Dear Parents, Carers and Pupils:
We hope that you have had an enjoyable summer break, and that this letter continues to find you, your family and friends safe and well. All staff and governors are very excited to be welcoming children and families back to the new term and are looking forward to seeing you back in school in September.
As you know, the Government has asked that schools open in September for all pupils. We understand that for some in our school community this will be a welcome relief, for others it may cause anxiety and for most of us, something in between.
Over the summer we have been working hard as a staff to review and revise COVID-19 procedures. We have now created and produced detailed plans and risk assessments for the changes that will be in place for the start of term, to minimise the risk to your child and the wider school community.
We hope that the information outlined below will answer some of your 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 that we will continue to keep you updated and informed should any further changes be necessary.
When will my child return to school?
- All children in Years 1,2,3,4,5 & 6 start school on Thursday 3rd September 2020.
- All children in our Nursery and Reception classes have received their child’s start date in information already sent out by the school. If you need to check this information, please phone the school office on Wednesday 2nd September from 11:00am onwards.
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. Children in Years 4, 5 & 6 have been allocated two classrooms (which are next to each other) and children will be split across these (14 in one and 16 in the other). This allows us to ensure maximum spacing between the oldest children in the school.
We will be creating 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 8:40 until 09:00 am. Children are to enter at their allocated entrance point (see included letter) 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 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. (Green Route)
Children in these year groups will come into school following the green route through the main school gate on Rochester Street. Children in this pod can be taken to the EYFS playground entrance, by one parent who must use the hand sanitiser available on arrival and have a properly fitted mask on for the duration of time that they are on the school site. Please note that staff will not be available for discussions, we ask that you drop your child off and leave as quickly as possible.
Pod 2: Years 1, 2 & 3. (Blue Route)
Children in these year groups will come into school following the blue route through the main entrance on Rochester Street and then use the small gate in the school carpark to enter the school playground. They will follow the blue route to 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. (Grey Route)
Children in these year groups will come into school following the grey route through the school office entrance on Rochester Street. They will follow the grey route to 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.
- Nursery and Reception children must be collected between 14:50 and 15:10 each day. One parent/carer, wearing a face mask and using the hand sanitiser provided will use the green route to collect their child. Please make sure you leave the school site as soon as you have your child.
- Family groups must be collected between 14:50 – 15:10 each day: Family groups are to be collected from the main playground (Pitch Area).
- Individual pupils: KS1 & Year 3 and KS2 must be collected between 15:20 and 15:40 each day.
- Pod 2: KS1 & Year 3 children will exit from the left-hand side of the main pupil gates.
- Pod 3: KS2 children will exit from the right-hand side of the main pupil gates.
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 15:40 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 your personal time management situations ad-hoc.
What happens if we arrive before the gates are open?
If you arrive before the school gates are opened, please ensure both you and your child/ren observe social distancing guidance. As soon as the school gates open please send your child in, and then leave the area as soon as possible. This means not stopping to talk to other parents or 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, 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 running 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. The school office will be open from 11:00 onwards on Wednesday 2nd September, if you still have uniform to collect. Alternatively, please refer to the school’s website for further information relating to school uniform, which includes it being sent directly to your home address.
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. The first lessons will take place week beginning 14th September
For the Autumn Term classes will have PE on the following days:
We are excited to be able to introduce BADU sports, a company who will be leading bespoke PE provision across the school. The PE coaches will be fully inducted into the school’s policies and procedures including those in place for COVID-19.
Swimming will not be taking place during the Autumn Term and will be reviewed in line with COVID-19 guidance from the Government with regards to the Spring Term.
What should my child bring to school?
At this time, we are asking 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 reissued.
- 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 are following government COVID-19 guidance.
What is in place for breakfast and after school clubs?
Breakfast Club will resume on Monday 7th September 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 any movement in the breakfast hall.
After School Club:
After school club will begin from Monday 14th September from 15:30 – 18:00. Please note that all children must be collected on time or they may be at risk of losing their place. Continued lateness creates an additional risk to the safe and efficient running of the school, and any extended provision, that we have put in place at this time. All pupils will need to register for After School Club as usual, and children will be grouped in zones according to their pod.
What will playtimes look like?
We have split the play spaces across the 3 pods.
- Pod 1 – Nursery and Reception pupils have their own dedicated playground which they can use, including accessing their much-loved play equipment once again.
- Pod 2 – Years 1, 2 & 3 will have the playground space that includes the climbing equipment and a section of sports pitch.
- Pod 3 – Years 4, 5 & 6 will have the gazebo areas and main sports pitches.
A range of equipment and toys will be made available for each pod. Children will be able to play with the children in their pod, acknowledging social distancing as much as possible.
What will lunch time look like?
School lunches will resume as normal from Thursday 3rd September, 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 having a packed lunch). These can be refilled across the day if needed.
What will my child’s class look like?
The school has undergone a deep clean over the summer break, and classes are now set out in line with the governments guidance for opening in September. All desks for children in Years 1 – 6 are in rows (with a space in between each desk) with one child sitting at each desk. Any additional tables, chairs and furniture not needed have been removed.
Each child has a tray on their desk that contains all their books and stationery. A pencil case containing a pencil, sharpener, pens, glue stick, ruler and colouring pencils has been provided for each child. These will remain on their desk at all times. A carpet space remains for pupils in Years 1 and 2 to facilitate socially distanced, time limited group teaching tasks.
For pupils in Nursery and Reception classes, their learning and play spaces will continue to be sanitised on a daily basis and pupils will continue to learn in small group seating plans (tables and carpet areas) with appropriate social distancing in place for the age group.
There are hand washing facilities in all classes and hand sanitising stations have been set out all around the school including stairwell entrances, toilet entrances, the school halls and the main school office
What will learning look like?
All children will be accessing the full curriculum when they return in September. There will be a period of settling in over the first few days, with a focus on wellbeing. Where identified, adaptions will be made to support children in addressing any gaps that they may have developed in their learning.
Following a range of assessments to be carried out at the end of the first half term, we will begin booster classes for identified pupils following the October half term, 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 alternatively leading in one class on any given day, 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.
First Aid – What happens if my child has an accident at school?
Over the summer holidays a Medical Room has been created next to the main school office – (formally the Family Support Workers Office). All bubbles and pods have registered first aiders allocated to them. First Aid kits are available in each pod and where possible, all first aid will be administered in the pod. If inhalers, other medications or the situation is one that cannot be treated within the pod, the child and first responder will go to the Medical Room.
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 completed 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 other 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 then the NHS Test and Trace service will speak directly to you and make contact with whomever you have been in contact with and to 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.
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 rapidly 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 yourselves with the schools COVID-19 procedures in place for the start of the Autumn Term. If you have any further questions or there is something that you are not sure about, please do not hesitate to contact the school. A member of the admin team is available from 10:30am onwards on Wednesday 2nd September or you can email your query to email@example.com.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time.
I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know the children and families at Burdett-Coutts and 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