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Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope this letter finds you and your families well in these challenging times. As we have already mentioned on social media and in the newsletters, we are all missing you greatly and look forward to a time when we can join together again as a community when it is safe to do so. We really hope that ‘Home Learning’ is going well although we understand that that can bring its own challenges! It has been wonderful to see so many people getting involved in their Google Classroom pages, logging on each day, commenting and sharing work with their friends and teachers – we have been consistently impressed with how well everyone has adapted to a new style of learning. Once again, don’t worry if you are not getting through everything – we are all doing our best and that’s all we can ask for. As I am sure you will be aware, the government, as part of its response to the Covid 19 pandemic, has laid out plans to reopen schools to certain groups of children from 1st June if it is safe to do so. Our school will be closed to all children on the 1 st June 2020 as this is an INSET day and we are using this day to prepare our school for the reopening. The groups that have been identified for this reintegration are EYFS, Year 1 and Year 6 (Acorn, Rowan and Oak). This plan has generated a lot of reaction for obvious reason and has raised many significant concerns, which I hope to outline for you as best as I can here. The government has provided a document for parents and carers about the reopening of schools and it is certainly worth reading. Here is the link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-andcarers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june First and foremost, I want to reassure you that I will be working with the senior leadership team, teachers, governors and the wider community to ensure that we take the best plan of action available to us at the time. Any measures implemented will be done so after careful risk assessments and careful consideration of the latest advice, staffing requirements and the nature of our building. As the headteacher, I am only prepared to move forward if I feel it is safe for all members of our school community following rigorous risk assessment. At present, we are providing the opportunity for childcare for Key Worker children and those who are classed as ‘vulnerable’. We will continue to offer this provision after half term for those who need it. Please note that the definition of Key Worker has not changed since initial government guidance. If you absolutely need to access this provision, please contact the school. As the number of Key Workers directly affects our reintegration of Acorn, Rowan and Oak, we offer our sincere gratitude to everyone who is able to keep their children at home during this challenging time. Please note that the Key Worker children are not directly taught but they are supervised with their Google Classroom activities. If the school does manage to reopen at a reduced capacity for those specific year groups, then I feel that it is my responsibility to highlight that the experience that your children receives in school will be very different (in the first instance at least) to the one that they left in March. To allow you to carefully consider your options, I will highlight some of the measures that we will have to take to comply with governmental guidance: Children will be split into a group of no more than 15. They will not be able to mix with any other groups at any point in the day. They will have very limited access to equipment, both to play with and to help them with their learning. We will have to implement unisex toilets with only one child in the toilet at a time and no urinals. Lunches will either be a packed lunch from home or a packed lunch from school and will be eaten in classrooms. They may not be taught by their own teacher or teaching assistant. Once those teachers and teaching assistants have been allocated, they will not change. Classrooms will be rearranged to ensure that children are kept as far away from each other as possible. They will not be able to bring in anything from home and the school will provide them with their own personal stationery, which shall remain in school. Unfortunately, we cannot offer before or after school provision except for those children in Key Worker groups. Start and finish times will be staggered, both to help with staffing provision and social distances therefore your child’s day may not be 9:00 – 3:20. I, and many other professionals, agree that it is almost impossible to socially distance younger children at all times and we cannot guarantee this. We would be closing on Friday afternoons to all children except those in key worker groups to allow the rooms/resources to be thoroughly cleaned and to give teachers their statutory planning time. Children will be collected after lunch. I would also like to make it clear that children who have underlying health conditions, or who live in a house where others do, should carefully consider whether it is safe to return to school. Children who are classed as ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’, or live with someone who is ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’, and have been asked to shield should not return to school. Children who are classed as ‘clinically vulnerable’ should follow medical advice. Children who live someone who is ‘clinically vulnerable’ can attend. With all of that said, I am sure that our amazing staff will do everything in their power to make the days as enjoyable and worthwhile as they can but I think it is a good idea to prepare children who may return for a very different experience to the one that they were used to. Children who can, are expected to attend school. If you choose not to send your child to school, you must inform the school of this decision. We are then expected to keep in regular contact with you about this decision. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time. I would really like to hear from you so we, as a staff, can reflect on your current thinking around these issues too. Please keep checking and reading emails from school and if there are any further questionnaires, please respond so that we can take your views into consideration. I hope that this letter brings you up to date with current thinking with regards to the proposed reopening of school. Of course we will be in touch with further information when the plans are fully in place towards the end of this week. Your kind words and flexibility throughout these challenging and unprecedented times is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your continued support, Stephanie Reeves
There are general principles anyone can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- washing your hands often – with soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser if handwashing facilities are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport
- covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it
- people who feel unwell should stay at home and should not attend work or any education or childcare setting
- pupils, students, staff and visitors should wash their hands:
- before leaving home
- on arrival at school
- after using the toilet
- after breaks and sporting activities
- before food preparation
- before eating any food, including snacks
- before leaving school
- use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- if you are worried about your symptoms or those of a child or colleague, please call NHS 111. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment
- see further information on the Public Health England Blog and the NHS UK website.
Government Coronavirus action plan
Yesterday, the Coronavirus action plan was launched. This document sets out what the UK as a whole has done to tackle the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and what it plans to do next.
The action plan can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan
Coronavirus: DfE Advice for Schools, Parents & Carers
The following advice has been forwarded to The Department for Education by Public Health England:
We are continuing to keep you updated on the government’s response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Public Health England advises that the risk to individuals in the UK remains low.
Encouraging good hygiene
As always, if you have symptoms of a cold or flu, then there are measures you can take to stop germs:
|·always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.|
·wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
·avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
·avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
Advice for those who have travelled recently
The Chief Medical Advisor for England, Chris Whitty has updated advice for travellers returning to the UK from specific areas affected by COVID-19, which you can find at:
If you have returned from the following specific areas since 19th February, you should call NHS 111 and stay indoors and avoid contact with other people even if you do not have symptoms:
- Specific lockdown areas in Northern Italy (see link to maps below)
- Special care zones in South Korea (see link to maps below)
- Hubei province (returned in the past 14 days – see link to maps below)
If you have returned from the following areas since 19 February and develop symptoms, however mild, you should stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people immediately and call NHS 111:
- Northern Italy (defined by a line above, and not including, Pisa, Florence and Rimini – see link to maps below)
If you have a cough, or fever or shortness of breath and have visited any of the following areas in the last 14 days, stay indoors and call NHS 111 informing them of your recent travel:
- China, apart from Hubei province (see link to maps below)
- Republic of Korea, apart from special care zones (see link to maps below)
- Hong Kong
Maps showing affected regions of China, Republic of Korea and Italy
Advice for those who have travelled recently in a group, such as a school trip
There is no need to manage returning groups any differently. Pupils, students and staff returning from trips to the countries specified above should follow the same advice.
Public Health England blog:
Guidance for educational settings