Update for families Friday 5th March 2021
1. Rates of infection are still very much lower now (and going down) and we believe it is the right time to re-open schools. We can’t wait to welcome the children back! We are expecting a very positive bounce back!
2. It’s week 2 when we come back. They’ll be coming into school in PE kit on the days they have PE.
3. Symptoms. We are all aware of the 3 main covid-19 symptoms. If your child has other symptoms, give a ring to discuss them, please.
4. We expect the very high percentages of pupils to return as we had in September. The newspapers are full of threats of fines and sanctions for families who don’t send their children in. Please do not feel anxious about this. The way that we work with families in the past won’t change. We are a team!
5. We are reopening this Monday to all pupils. To do this, we have to put a superhuman effort into testing the older children first. We hope families appreciate that this will reduce the disruption to learning – there’s been enough of that!
6. The testing plans that I am going to detail here allow us to comply with government rules.
· Testing in school and then at home (for pupils) is voluntary. 80% of families have consented. Thank you so much for responding so quickly to allow us to get this in place. Nearly 500 tests – no positive results!
· Nearly all the children involved in the testing programme will have taken their first 2 tests by the end of the day. We will then be able to complete the 3rd test (as instructed by the government plans) in the first week of re-opening with very little disruption to learning.
· The handful of pupils who will be taking their first test on Monday will be kept apart from the rest of the school until their test results are available (30 minutes).
· After that, children involved will test themselves under adult supervision at home twice a week. It’s a very simple process. Families will report the result via an NHS website. We will provide the test packs.
· Positive tests will mean the usual isolation for the household. We will also carry out a risk assessment to see if any other children or staff have to isolate as close contacts. You will have to let us know of any positive tests, too.
7. LFD tests for parents and carers (and other adults in the household) of our pupils. You can these tests (to administer at home) from:
· Your employer (they may not yet know much about this offer, possibly).
· Collect some test kits from sites. https://find-covid-19-rapid-test-sites.maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/
· Order kits to be delivered. https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
· Take a test at an LFD test site. https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/
8. School will look pretty much like it did in September: a staggered start to the day; teachers moving around the school and pupils staying in one room; lots of handwashing/sanitising; no sharing of pens and pencils; the year group BUBBLES kept apart.
9. Masks/face coverings in classrooms will be different for some. It is not compulsory for pupils to wear masks in school, although most do. The government have asked us to encourage children to wear a mask when moving around the school and now also in the classroom. Staff already do this. We already know which pupils have an exemption and therefore don’t have to wear one. Exemptions can be medical (e.g. asthma) or if wearing the face-covering causes distress or hinders communication. We will be advising pupils that they will be allowed to remove their face covering briefly if it starts to be an issue. We’ve been impressed with how well the Key Worker pupils have coped with this discomfort/annoyance. Please make sure you have a supply for your child and a small plastic bag to keep it in.
10. Uniform and equipment: we will be very tolerant of standards of uniform in the next few weeks and months. We know how hard it has been for some families. Do your best as you always do – a sense of smartness and belonging is a really positive benefit a good uniform brings. Pupils will need: a full pencil case (they can’t share with friends but we will give them items if they are struggling); a reading book; a water bottle (or 2). Don’t worry about things like football boots at the moment – we’ll let you know if this changes.
11. Bus bay: no cars/drop-offs at all in the bus bay.
12. What is our aim for this next ‘recovery’ period: we want happy, hard-working & well-behaved pupils. Getting back into the routines. Enjoying contact with others in a calm and civilised way. Having fun through learning. We know that they will be a little rusty and we will need to take care to get the basics right. We will be listening to them, watching to see how there are, get them back to learning effectively, scoop up those who are struggling a bit more than usual. Don’t expect a wave of tests! Love Respect Endeavour: we will show our respect to the pupils by the way we care for them at this difficult time.
13. How can you help?
· Pretend it’s their first day at Middle School. Prepare for it as you did on that day.
· Look for changes in your child’s behaviour and mood.
· Talk to your child – are they feeling anxious, excited, relieved? These mood swings can be strong indicators that are struggling to cope with big feelings. Talking about things can often take the heat out of the situation – remember things are rarely as good or as bad as we imagine. Find the time to listen to them.
· Be patient – everything might take a little more time.
· Have the children identified the 3 or 4 staff that they feel most comfortable talking to about their worries?
· Try out their uniform and shoes now: we know they will have grown and the shops are not all open.
The local authority has created this useful video for families about the return to school. https://youtu.be/YUoKV8F4YT4
Please see below a reminder of the plans that we had in place in September. It’s likely that our arrangements will be very similar.
How school will look: