Dear Parents and Carers
I am sure, like me, you have welcomed the news that the school will be open fully from 8th March. To return to a more normal routine will be brilliant for the children and I am sure they are really looking forward to seeing all their friends.
As you know, since Christmas the school has been open only for the children deemed vulnerable and for those children of critical workers who have needed them to attend in order to carry out their roles. During this time we have established routines and systems which have worked very well and have limited the chance of spreading Coronavirus. With all children due back in school from 8th, it has been important for us to review these systems and make adjustments to keep this increased school population safe. I have completed a comprehensive risk assessment detailing all our measures, and would like to share with you the aspects I think are most relevant to you sending your children into school and reducing any risks of transmission. You will appreciate, I am sure, that our priority as always is the children’s health, safety and well-being.
- All staff carry out twice-weekly self-testing, reporting the results to both the NHS Test and Trace and to the school office. Our children will not be tested, but if any of them or anyone in your household shows signs of the virus, (high temperature, new, continuous cough or change to sense of taste or smell), a PCR test at a testing centre must be arranged and only when a negative result is received should the children return to school. It is vital for contact tracing that you let the school know immediately both of the onset of any symptoms and the result of any test so I can report as appropriate to Public Health England. This term I have been taking the children’s temperature on their arrival at school but from 8th March will do this only if we have reason to believe they may be feeling unwell.
- We will continue to practise scrupulous hygiene arrangements to limit the chance of transmission. Frequent handwashing, sanitising, non-sharing of equipment as far as possible, ‘Catch it, bin it, kill it’ practices for sniffs, sneezes, coughs and colds, extra cleaning of surfaces and frequently touched places such as door handles and a range of other measures will be routine. Please encourage your child to practise effective handwashing and ‘respiratory hygiene’ at home. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/ https://www.england.nhs.uk/south/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2017/09/catch-bin-kill.pdf
- Ventilation is a key way to prevent the build-up of any germs in the school environment, so we have had the windows and doors open even on cold days. If the forecast is for cold weather, please send your child to school with extra layers under their uniform to make sure they are comfortable in class.
- Mixing of groups is still seen as poor practice unless unavoidable. We will, therefore, be starting a system of staggered lunchtimes to reduce the chances of infection spreading between the classes. This will involve a slightly revised timetable in the mornings for most children, but it will be shared with them when they return on the 8th We have no immediate plans to introduce a staggered start or finish to the day (normal 08:40 – 08:55 drop-off with registration at 09:00, 15:20 collection), so please make sure you continue to practice social distancing measures and to wear a face covering when delivering and collecting your children.
- Hot school lunches will be fully available when the children return. These need to be ordered on-line as before, but please contact Mrs Pike if you need assistance. Please note that, if your circumstances have changed and you are or have recently been eligible for certain benefits, your child will be able to have a free hot meal each day. Please let us know if you think you may qualify as even if your child doesn’t want the meal, or your child is in Key Stage 1 and already has the hot meal, the school also receives an extra amount of money each year to improve our provision. All requests for support are treated in the strictest confidence.
- Breakfast Club (07:45 – 08:45) and After School Club (15:20 – 17:30) will return to normal provision from 8th Please let us know in advance, preferably via phone message or e-mail, if your child needs to attend.
- The change in rules also allows for other clubs to re-start and we are looking forward to offering our usual full range of extra-curricular activities before long. Ian Griffin will be starting his tennis coaching immediately, though, with the first session on 11th March; details for joining are being sent home separately.
- The children will be able to bring bags into school but we ask that their size is kept to a minimum sufficient to carry the items the children need to have in school. We will, at present, continue to give the children their own stationery items to prevent the need to share; no pencil cases will be needed. The children should come to school in their PE kits, including tracksuits, on the relevant days (Thursdays and Fridays for Oak and Chestnut Classes, Tuesdays and Thursdays for Hazel, and Hazel children will need their Forest School Clothes on Fridays). The children should all have a coat, water bottle and, if needed, a packed lunch. We will resume the sending home of physical books and reading records, but these will need to be quarantined appropriately and we will give children the details when they return.
- PE Equipment was collected by most of you before half term, which I hope proved useful and fun for the children. Please return this to school on 8th March so we can use it in school for PE lessons and break times. If in future we need to send the children home or the school has to close, we will then be able to send the bags home again.
- A number of you borrowed IT equipment from school during the lockdown, which I hope was useful for accessing remote learning. This equipment needs to be returned to school with the children, please. If this leaves you without suitable IT equipment for your child to complete homework and projects, please let me know as I have received the school’s full allocation of laptops from the DfE and these are available for long-term loan. I will distribute them to the children according to need.
- We are unfortunately still having to limit the number of adults in the building so for the rest of the Spring Term at least we will be asking you to communicate with us via e-mail, Teams or phone as far as possible. If you do need to speak to us urgently in person, we will do what we can to accommodate you.
- Until further notice, there will be no shared assemblies, school trips or performances, and we are waiting advice on sports provision, including swimming in the summer term, but please be reassured we will start these activities up as soon as possible.
We are really looking forward to welcoming all the children back into school and to things getting back to something like normality! If you have any questions or concerns about the above information or any other aspects of school reopening, please do not hesitate to contact me.
We have finally managed to have the new Defibrillator installed at school. The funds raised last Autumn were wonderful and plenty to include both the purchase of the device and the supply and installation of a heated, locked cabinet in which to keep it. I am looking to organise training for both staff, parents and the community so that, in the event of the defibrillator needing to be used, people are confident to be able to do so.
With best wishes