Return to school - Below, you will find a letter from Mrs Kirkham followed by some frequently asked questions we have answered.
Return to School - Frequently Asked Questions
- Which year groups are returning to school?
We are happy to welcome back the children in Nursery, Reception, Y1 and Y6 alongside existing key workers’ children.
- Why aren't all the children coming back?
This decision has been based on the need to reduce the rate of transmission of the virus. We have taken this into account so therefore groups returning to school will be a gradual process and smaller groupings will be maintained.
- If one of my children is eligible to return can’t their sibling come back too?
Sadly, the answer to this is ‘no’. Siblings cannot attend unless they are in another of the selected year groups. This would raise the number of pupils attending the school.
- Does my child have to attend?
All children in the selected groups are encouraged to attend unless self-isolating or shielding. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time, the schools will not be held to account for attendance levels.
From the 1st June, initial groups will be allocated for each child. These groups will remain in place for as long as the government guidance remains. We may not be able to cater for children looking to join the groups at a later date than the stated start date.
- I am worried that my child is vulnerable or that a family member is, should I send them back to school?
Children and young people who are considered extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding should continue to shield and should not be expected to attend.
Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. A minority of children will fall into this category, and parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.
Children and young people who live in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding should only attend if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and the child or young person is able to understand and follow those instructions. Please inform the school if you feel this applies to you.
Children and young people who live with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable) as defined in the social distancing guidance and including those who are pregnant, can attend. DFE May 2020
- How big will the classes be?
The DfE is recommending that class group sizes should not exceed 15 pupils per small group with one teacher plus a TA where required. Where there are not enough teachers, Teaching Assistants will lead a group. Desks should be as far apart as the room allows.
- How will you guarantee that social distancing takes place e.g. keeping children 2m apart?
We will of course do our best to support distancing, but parents must understand that in returning to school there is a very real likelihood that children will touch adults and one another and come into close contact. The nature of the school site and the age of our children is such that this is unavoidable and we cannot be expected to respond to complaints around this when it inevitably happens. We cannot alleviate every risk and parents must understand what we are able to do and use this to inform their decision making.
- How do I explain social distancing to my child?
Be open and honest, using language they will understand. Explain that they are helping others by their actions. Use drawings if needed and use a positive tone. Try to make the children feel safe.
For younger children, find out how the Gruffalo handles social distancing.
- What hygiene measures will be in place to keep my child safe?
- follow the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance
- ensure that sufficient handwashing facilities are available. Where a sink is not nearby, provide hand sanitiser in classrooms and other learning environments
- clean surfaces that children and young people are touching, such as toys, books, desks, chairs, doors, sinks, toilets, light switches, bannisters, more regularly than normal
- ensure that all adults and children frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry thoroughly
- ensure that all adults and children clean their hands on arrival at the setting, before and after eating, and after sneezing or coughing
- ensure that all adults and children are encouraged not to touch their mouth, eyes and nose
- ensure that all adults and children use a tissue or elbow to cough or sneeze and use bins for tissue waste (‘catch it, bin it, kill it’)
- ensure that help is available for children and young people who have trouble cleaning their hands independently
- consider how to encourage young children to learn and practise these habits through games, songs and repetition
- ensure that bins for tissues are emptied throughout the day
- where possible, all spaces should be well ventilated using natural ventilation (opening windows) or ventilation units
- prop doors open, where safe to do so (bearing in mind fire safety and safeguarding), to limit use of door handles and aid ventilation
- Will children be confined to the same classroom environment most of the day?
Yes, each group of children will have the same classroom space each day. Where possible our children will be given up to 15 minutes of time outside of the classroom on the main playground per hour. In addition to this each group will be allocated an area of the playground for outside work. During the outside time, children will be engaged in fun, exciting outdoor learning activities aimed at developing their mental well-being and building their self-esteem.
- How will lunch time work to ensure children are safe?
Each group will eat their lunches within the classroom or in the allocated outside space. The lunch will need to be brought from home or will be prepared by the school kitchen. Surfaces within the classroom will be cleaned before and after lunch times to maintain high levels of cleanliness. Free School Meal children will continue to receive meals or food parcels if they are not attending school.
- How will you make school safe for my child?
In addition to social distancing and hygiene measures mentioned above, we will:
- give children a designated classroom and group (which we are going to refer to as their bubble) for lessons and play with no opportunity to mix with another group.
- regular cleaning of the setting and resources will take place.
- confine resources to rooms to minimise sharing and when sharing is essential, clean resources before transference.
- organise lunchtimes and playtimes differently.
- carry out a corridor protocol – children will enter and leave the school building using the outside classroom doors. They will not need to use the school corridors during the school day. A one way system is in place for staff and we will ensure to keep clear corridor spaces as far as is practical to allow maximum width space for walking.
- be vigilant in identifying children with symptoms, isolate them and ask parents to collect them.
- employ a set of agreed non-negotiables on safety in the classroom agreed by all staff. These will aim to maintain social distancing for staff and pupils and limit any potential contact.
- removal of unnecessary items from classrooms
- removal of soft furnishing, soft toys and toys that are hard to clean.
- Will my child be expected to share resources, such as pens and pencils?
Where possible, children will be given their own equipment, which they must not share with anyone else. They must not bring any equipment in from home. Any resources that are shared (e.g school laptop) will be thoroughly disinfected after use.
- I’m a keyworker and my child has been in the childcare provision throughout. My child is in Nursery, Reception, Y1 or Y6 what will happen to them?
Your child will join their year group and we would encourage them to attend school everyday.
- I'm a key worker and I have only needed my Y1 child to access school childcare for 2 days a week up to now. Do they have to attend every day from 1st June?
It is in the best interests of the school and the child to attend every day. This will support them with settling in effectively and allow them to become accustomed to the new school routine. A full week attendance is obviously easier for schools to plan for.
- My child is in the keyworker provision currently but isn't in the year groups above?
Keyworker group children will continue to come to school. They will be in a separate class ‘bubble’ from the returning year groups.
- Can my child now join the key worker group despite not having attended in previous weeks?
The current keyworker group is full and staff have now been allocated to care for other returning groups. There is no further capacity for additions to the key worker group. However, additional critical key worker children (teachers and NHS) may be considered. Proof of employment will be required.
- Will everyone arrive at school at the same time causing an increase in risk?
The schools will organise a staggered drop off and collection time for pupils. The approach to Y1 and Reception classrooms will be marked out with a 2m queue. We will be familiar with the queueing systems from visits to the supermarket.
Only one parent or carer should accompany the child to school to minimise risk. Parents will not be invited to enter classrooms but will drop off as described above. Schools have no power under the law to enforce social distancing with parents other than to make that request. However, if behaviour of parents does not comply with the expected social distancing guidelines, you may be asked to leave the site.
- Will the school have assembly/acts of worship?
Live link assemblies will be led by a different class each day. These assemblies will be watched by the other groups we have in school and will be available for our children at home.
- My child is feeling anxious about coming back to school, how can I prepare him/her?
You will need to prepare your child by talking about what school was like and what it will be like now. It will be different. Children may not be in their original classroom however they will be with at least one familiar adult (teacher or TA).
- Will children go straight back into normal lessons following the national curriculum?
We are currently planning an exciting and incredible curriculum for our children to engage in. We will of course ensure that skills in English and maths will continue to be developed.
We will be supporting personal, social, health and emotional aspects of learning to support our children’s well-being. They have all gone through an incredible period of change and experienced loss on a number of different levels. All have had changes in routine, loss of communication etc. and some may have sadly even experienced the loss of a family member.
- How will you support my child’s emotional wellbeing?
In addition to what has been mentioned above, a team of staff will be available to provide support. There will be plenty of opportunities for children to discuss their feelings, play and rebuild friendships. The school family support worker will also be available.
- Will staff and children wear masks or PPE?
The Government guidelines state, ‘The majority of staff in education settings will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work, even if they are not always able to maintain a distance of 2 metres from others. PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases including:
- children, young people and students whose care routinely already involves the use of PPE due to their intimate care needs should continue to receive their care in the same way
- if a child, young person or other learner becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus while in their setting and needs direct personal care until they can return home. A fluid-resistant surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. If contact with the child or young person is necessary, then disposable gloves, a disposable apron and a fluid-resistant surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult. If a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes, for example from coughing, spitting, or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn.’
- Will my child need to wear a school uniform?
Yes. We ask that you send your child to school in a clean uniform every day. If you have insufficient clean clothing please contact he school and you will be supported with this. Trainers can be worn every. Ties are not needed.
- Will the Breakfast Club and After School Club be open?
Yes for children of key workers only initially. Charges will continue for Breakfast and After School Care Club. Care Club will not be available for returning groups in the first few weeks.
- Will we allow visitors and volunteers into school?
- Will extra-curricular clubs run (football club, dance club etc)?
- Will the school office be open?
Yes, however we would ask that parents make initial contact with the school via phone or email. This is a very busy time of year with new admissions and leavers, please bear with us in the office and try to be as organised as possible. We will not be accepting late arrivals to school via the main front office until 9.30.
- Will you continue to provide online home learning activities for children who do not return to school?
We will continue to set home learning activities, during term-time, so that all children have access to provision to support their learning. This will be what the children in school are also working on. With school reopening to a greater number of pupils, parents will need to be mindful that teaching staff will not be as responsive to parent emails during school hours and will aim to respond to you within a reasonable time frame. Individual class Facebook pages will no longer be supported by staff.
- Will children and young people be eligible for testing for the virus?
The government advice is:
When settings open to the wider cohort of children and young people, all those children and young people eligible to attend, and members of their households, will have access to testing if they display symptoms of coronavirus. This will enable them to get back into childcare or education, and their parents or carers to get back to work, if the test proves to be negative. To access testing parents will be able to use the 111 online coronavirus service if their child is 5 or over. Parents will be able to call 111 if their child is aged under 5.
- Will teachers and other staff be able to get tested if they have symptoms?
Access to testing is already available to all essential workers. This includes anyone involved in education, childcare or social work – including both public and voluntary sector workers, as well as foster carers. See the full list of essential workers. Education settings as employers can book tests through an online digital portal. There is also an option for employees to book tests directly on the portal.
- What will happen if a child in the class shows symptoms?
We will follow the Government guidelines set out below.
If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in an education or childcare setting, they must be sent home and advised to follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection guidance.
If a child is awaiting collection, they should be moved, if possible, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age of the child and with appropriate adult supervision if required. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.
If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else. PPE should be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs). In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.
If a member of staff has helped someone who was unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves (and in which case, a test is available) or the child subsequently tests positive (see ‘What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in a setting?’ below). They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell. Cleaning the affected area with normal household disinfectant after someone with symptoms has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people. See the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance.
- What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in school?
We will follow the Government guidance set out below.
When a child, young person or staff member develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus, they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days. All staff and students who are attending an education or childcare setting will have access to a test if they display symptoms of coronavirus, and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario.
Where the child, young person or staff member tests negative, they can return to their setting and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation.
Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive we will seek advice from Public Health England.
- Will the school take my child’s temperature every day?
No, but we may use a non-invasive thermometer which points to the forehead if we suspect a child of having symptoms.
- What if another child ‘coughs’ deliberately in someone else’s face?
School will take this very seriously and it will be classed as an assault. We will explain to the child the dangers and consequences of these actions. Parents will be telephoned and may have to come and collect their child resulting in a fixed term exclusion.
- Will there be any swimming lessons or trips once school opens on June 1st?
- How can I speak to the class teacher if we are socially distancing?
Teachers will be unavailable to speak to parents at the beginning and end of the school day. You can contact your child’s class teacher by emailing them on the allocated year group email addresses. If you are unable to do this, you can email the office who will then pass the message on.
- What should my child bring to school each day?
We do not want your child to bring anything into school with them other than a lunch box and a water bottle. Water bottles will remain in school and be washed at the end of each day.
Please do not bring PE kit, rucksacks, book bags or pencil cases.
- Will the crossing patrol be in operation when school re opens?
Sadly, no. School staff are unable to substitute for the crossings patrol team.
- Where can I find more information about returning to school?
The Government information is provided here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june