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School Re-opening updates

Tuesday 1st September 2020

 

Dear Parents,

 

I hope that you and your children have all enjoyed the summer holidays and that you are looking forward to returning to school later this week.

I wanted to write to you just before the start of the school year to confirm arrangements for the start of the year and provide you with some reminders over what you and your child can expect when they return to school on Friday 4th September.

This letter builds upon the details of arrangements for the start of the year that were sent to parents on the 17th July. A copy of that letter can be found on the school website by following this link. There is also some key information provided by the government which tells parents some of the important things that they need to know about schools re-opening across the county.

We have been very busy over the school holidays preparing the school for the return of all children for the start of the new school year. The school has been thoroughly cleaned and the classrooms and systems are all set up ready to welcome everyone back. The staff will be meeting on Thursday 3rd September, on a school INSET day, where among other things they will be revisiting all the guidance that has been issued by the government and completing any final checks.

As detailed in the letter on 17th July, the school will open on FRIDAY 4th September from 8.40am through to 9.00am and children in years four, five and six can be brought to any of the school gates where there will be staff present to greet the children. At this time we ask that parents please say their goodbyes and allow the children to make their way into their classrooms where they will start their school day.

Year three parents

Parents who have children who are starting for the first time in year three please remember that for the first 3 days of school only, we will be asking parents to bring their children to the FRONT GATE at 9.15am where they will meet their new class teacher. Parents will be able to access the school site via any of the three school entrances, which will be opened at the start of the school day.

Ideally we want to avoid having parents on-site at the current time, so please talk to the staff on the gate (while maintaining social distancing) if you need to pass on any messages. Alternatively please feel free to write your child’s class teacher a note or contact the school office later in the morning with any other issues. Some parents have been asked to attend the school office on the first morning to complete various medical forms. In this case please let the staff on the gate know that you need to attend the office for that reason and they will guide you on where you need to go and what procedures you need to follow.

End of day arrangements

Please remember that the children are all being dismissed at the end of the school day at 3.30pm from the following locations. Children whose parents have given them permission to leave the school site independently will be dismissed first followed by those who are being collected by their parents.

At the end of the school day the children can be collected from the following locations;

Year group

Meeting location

3

Outside the front entrance to the school – by the wall

4

On the school field, past the school hall

5

On the circle playground / lower playground 

6

On the top playground – next to the MUGA

 

We ask that parents line up in the designated spaces which will be indicated for each class and maintain social distancing at this time. We also ask that to limit numbers on site that only one parent/ guardian collects their child at the end of the school day. Please be patient as the whole process may take a little longer than usual.  There will be a one way system in operation and signs around the school site will indicate where parents should go.

Arrangements for dealing with a suspected Covid 19 cases in school

Whilst we are doing everything that we can to keep the children safe and secure while they are in school, parents need to be aware of the arrangements to deal with any suspected Covid 19 cases.

If parents are concerned that their child is showing any symptoms of Covid 19 they must keep them at home, self-isolate and contact the school to let us know about their concerns. Parents should then book a test for their child and keep the child away from school until such time as they have received the results of the test. At this time parents should inform the school of the outcome of the test and follow this procedure;

  1. If a child tests negative, if they feel well and no longer have symptoms similar to coronavirus (COVID-19), they can stop self-isolating. They could still have another virus, such as a cold or flu – in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people until they are better. Other members of their household can stop self-isolating. Either way please let the school know what you are planning to do and let the school know that the test was negative.
  2. If a child tests positive, they should follow the guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and must continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of their symptoms and then return to school only if they do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste. This is because a cough or anosmia can last for several weeks once the infection has gone. The 10-day period starts from the day when they first became ill. If they still have a high temperature, they should keep self-isolating until their temperature returns to normal. Other members of their household should continue self-isolating for the full 14 days.

If the result of the test is POSITIVE please contact the school as soon as possible as we will need to take swift action following the confirmation of any cases. We will then make contact with the local health protection team to confirm our course of action. Based on the advice from the health protection team, we are highly likely to send home those individuals who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive. We will advise them to self-isolate for 14 days. This is likely to be all member of the class bubble including the teaching staff.

 

If someone in a class bubble that has been asked to self-isolate develops symptoms themselves within their 14-day isolation period they should follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. They should get a test, and:

  • if the test delivers a negative result, they must remain in isolation for the remainder of the 14-day isolation period. This is because they could still develop the coronavirus (COVID-19) within the remaining days.
  • if the test result is positive, they should inform school immediately, and should isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of their symptoms (which could mean the self-isolation ends before or after the original 14-day isolation period). Their household should self-isolate for at least 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms, following guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

I would like to take the opportunity to remind parents that if their children are ill for any other reason we would ask that parents contact the school on the first day of absence in the usual ways to let us know that their child will not be in school.

Returning to school after a holiday abroad.

If you have recently returned from a holiday abroad to a country which is on the government’s list of destinations requiring quarantining, please do not send your child into school until the 14 day period has been completed. Please telephone or email the school to let us know that you are taking this action as soon as possible.

Supporting the work of children who are isolating at home

Should we need to shut down a class bubble we will do all that we can to support the children who are at home with their learning while they are away from school. We will once again set work via the school website for the children and will be providing parents with more details of the support on offer on the class pages found in the ‘children’ tab.

PE in school

In order to avoid the challenge of changing boys and girls separately for PE at this time when we are doing everything that we can in school to keep bubbles separate from one another, we have made the decision to ask the children to come into school in their PE kits on the days when they would normally do PE. If the weather turns colder we would ask that the children wear a tracksuit (or similar) over their school PE kits. We will not take children outside for PE if it is raining.

Reminders for the first day

As the front of the school is likely to be really busy at the start and the end of the school day I would encourage as many parents as possible to make use of the park and stride facilities at The Portsmouth Arms and at the local playing fields. This was we can reduce the amount of congestion first thing in the morning.

As part of the work completed in school over the holidays we have installed a number of new lockers for the children in the lower school. This is designed to maximise the use of the space that we have available for the children to store their home belongings. However space remains very limited and so we ask that children do not bring in large sports bags as there isn’t room to store everything. On the first day the children will need their healthy snacks for break times, homework, water bottles, coats and lunchboxes (if applicable). The school will provide the children with their own stationery on the day so pencil cases and other ‘personal’ items can be left at home.

We are really looking forward to welcoming all of the children back into school, wearing their normal school uniform once again. See you on Friday.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Ed Dawson

 

Information from the government about schools re-opening procedures

Travelling to and from school - advice for parents

Zooom meetings - a guide for parents on how to use zoom

Friday 17th July 2020

Dear Parents,

As we approach the end of the school term I wanted to write to you to let you know the plans that we have put into place for when we return in September that will allow us to reopen as safely as possible for all of the children.

In preparation for this re-opening we have been using the extensive guidance that has come through from the Department for Education and have been completing all associated risk assessments. We hope this letter provides you with the reassurance and detail that you need to feel confident to send your child back into school from the start of the new school year.

Timings for the school day

Wherever possible in our plans to re-open we have tried to return things to as ‘normal’ as possible for both the staff and the children, which we hope will then enable the children to quickly settle back into school. We have decided, in an attempt to support parents who are returning to work, to retain the ‘normal’ opening and closing times from September 2020. We will therefore expect children to arrive at the start of the day between 8.40am and 9.00am and to be collected at 3.30pm.  Children must not arrive at school before 8.40am as there will not be staff to available to supervise them before this time. Since we are not planning to stagger the start and end times for the day, we will rely on parents to maintain the social distancing expectations while they are on the school grounds and ask for your support in this from September.

We are currently working alongside SCL to see whether it is going to be feasible to offer a breakfast club provision. If SCL are able to reopen they will contact parents separately with further details.

 

To avoid having up to 360 parents on site at the start of the school day we ask that parents bring their children to one of the three site entrances from 8.40 through to 9.00am. When parents arrive at the edge of the site we ask them to say their goodbyes and allow the children to walk to their classrooms on their own. (please note our staff will be around to support those who will find this process a little daunting).  If parents of older children wish for their children to make their own way to school, either by bike or on foot this is also acceptable. Again these children should not be arriving before 8.40am.  There will be members of staff ‘on duty’ from 8.40 each morning at the three entrances to greet the children and to pick up any messages that parents might want to pass on to the class teachers. The class teachers will be welcoming the children from 8.40am and the register will be taken at 9.00am.

 

As part of the on-going Covid requirements parents will not be allowed onto the school site during the rest of the school day without a pre-arranged appointment. If parents do need to collect their children during the course of the school day for an out of school appointment, or wish to make an appointment to see a class teacher, we ask that they contact the office to discuss how this can be managed.  

Please note the ‘drop off’ arrangements for children who are starting in year 3 for the first time in September will be slightly different for the first 3 school days. We would like parents of these children to bring their children to the front gate at 9.15am where they will be met by their new class teachers before being walked down to their new rooms by a member of staff. This arrangement will be in place from Friday 4th September until Tuesday 8th  September so that children can get used to where they need to go each day before we allow them to make their own way down from Wednesday 9th onwards. 

 

Working in class bubbles throughout the day

While in school the children will be kept in class bubble of 30 children throughout the school day. The reason for this is to reduce the contact that the children will have with others as much as is possible. In addition to the 30 children in each bubble there will be your child’s class teacher and teaching assistant(s). We have been told by the DFE that while it is desirable for children to remain in the same bubble throughout the day, it is permissible for teachers to work across class bubbles and therefore your child may be taught by other teachers during the week for specific lessons. For example Ms Cousten will be delivering PE lessons in more than one bubble and specialist music teachers from Hampshire Music service will be teaching music each week as part of our weekly rotation plans.

 

The children will have break times and lunchtimes in their bubbles. To allow the children to enjoy the outside spaces that we have around the school the children will have staggered break times which will be enjoyed within their class bubbles. This will mean that children are unlikely to engage with children from other class bubbles during the school day.

 

Lunchtimes will also be slightly affected with the children spending 30 minutes inside their classes during which time they will be able to eat in their classrooms and spend some time enjoying ‘indoor play activities. School dinners will be available as normal from September or children may bring their own packed lunches. The children will also have 30 minutes outside each lunchtime when they will be able to ‘go out to play’, once again in their bubble groups.

 

Classroom organisation

There is an understanding that while it remains desirable for children to maintain social distancing, and the children will be encouraged to do this in school, this is not going to be possible in our school classrooms, which are limited in size. There is however an expectation that the children will remain 2 metres apart from the adults in school and therefore the tables will be laid out in a way that enables the teaching staff to be able to do this. As the classrooms will look rather different to what the children have been used to in the past we will add some photos of the classroom layout in each room onto the school website so the children know what to expect. This will be done over the summer once the new layout has been established as the rooms are currently being used to teach the children in school in groups of 15.

 

Things that the children need to bring to school

We ask that the children limit the things that they bring into school from home and we will be providing each child with a stationery ‘pack’ for their exclusive use during the day. Children should not bring in their own pens, pencils or rulers or any other ‘personal’ items. Nonetheless children will need to continue to bring in their PE kits, packed lunches (optional), water bottles and if they wish to do so a healthy snack to eat at break time. The kitchen will NOT be selling snacks in school from September.

Looking after personal hygiene

The children will be expected to wash their hands at regular pre-determined intervals during the course of the school day and be reminded about the importance of the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it,’ approach when dealing with coughs and sneezes.  The classrooms and other areas around the school that are accessed by the children will be cleaned regularly throughout the course of the school day.

 

Responding to a possible infections in school

The measures that we are putting in place are designed to protect the wellbeing of the children and the staff in school. We will be writing to parents separately at the start of the new school year about how we would respond to a suspected or confirmed case of Covid 19. Further guidance detailing how to respond to Covid infections is available via this link.

End of the school day – collecting the children from school

The school day will continue to finish at 3.30pm. If parents are happy for their children to make their own way home or to leave the site independently, we ask that they notify us at the start of the year and then these children will be dismissed at 3.30. This is normally only something we recommend for the older children in the school or for those children who are planning to meet their parents in a pre-arranged location near to the school grounds.

In order to reduce congestion of parents at the end of the day we will set up designated spaces where parents can collect their children at the end of the day. The children who have not made their way independently off site will be walked to the locations detailed in the table below and at that point sent to their waiting parents. We ask that parents observe social distancing while waiting for their children and that they ensure that they do not obstruct any walk ways through the school while they wait.

Once parents have collected their children they should leave the site immediately via any one of the entrances, maintaining social distancing at all times. If travelling by car please consider using the park and stride facilities and do not obstruct the properties of local residents.

Year group

Meeting location

3

Outside the front entrance to the school

4

Past the school hall on the school field

5

On the circle playground / lower playground 

6

On the top playground – next to the MUGA

 

If children are being collected to attend one of the after school care providers, or being collected by child minders, they will be able to gather in the school hall at the end of the school day and wait until the site has cleared before being taken to their locations by staff from these separate organisations. Further details of arrangements for after school care will be issued by these separate organisations. For parents who are making use of these facilities it is vital that the child is aware of the arrangements that they are following each day.

After school EXTRA CURRICULAR clubs.

Once we have seen how successfully the end of day arrangements work we will consider whether we will be able to run any extra-curricular clubs. If we feel we are able to offer these clubs they will be limited in number and children will remain in their class bubbles. Further details will be provided to parents in the first few weeks of the new year.  

Uniform

Children are expected to wear their school uniform as normal from September. They do not need to wear any PPE either to or from school.

 

Welcoming the children back

We are very much looking forward to having all of the children in school again from September. We appreciate that this transition back into school may be something that the children may feel a little apprehensive about and we will be focused on ensuring that the children feel settled, secure and confident in school when they first return. We have been busy planning ways in which we can support the children with their learning and recognise that for some children there may be some catch up work that needs to be completed to enable them to fully access the ‘normal’ year group work. We will build this in over the year with the aim of having the children back ‘on track’ as soon as we can. The focus in school at the start of the year will be very much on the wellbeing of the children and the process of reintegrating them into the life of the school.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact the school or have a look at the website for further details of our plans, which will be updated over the summer holidays.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy summer and am looking forward to seeing everyone in September.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Ed Dawson

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