To All Parents and Carers
Procedures for pupils’ return to school in Sept 20
We were very pleased with the measures we put in place for the pupils and staff that returned to spend some time on the school site between Easter and the present. We had no cases of transmission of the virus on the school premises and all reported that they felt safe and supported. As we move to having everybody back in September, some of these measures will be changing, but we will try and keep to the principles that have served us well.
Continued success is dependent on us all working together and playing our part in the process of return. I hope the following explains a little of how we will be operating and how you can support us.
All staff are bound by a very detailed risk assessment that covers every aspect of our lives in school. This does however mean that although school is getting closer to what to we were used to, it is not back to normal.
We will be operating in segregated “Bubbles” throughout the school day. Bubbles consist of 2 or 3 classes. The staff and pupils in these Bubbles do not mix with other Bubbles during the school day. Pupils will generally be class based and only mix with the other pupils in their Bubble at break times, wherever possible outdoors.
Use of our shared facilities will be more restricted:
Swimming: The big pool will sadly remain closed initially – we await further guidance on this from the Local Authority in September. The hydrotherapy pool will be open only to those pupils who have an assessed medical or physio need to use it.
All other shared areas will have restricted use and be used by only one Bubble per day. This means there can be a good clean before another Bubble uses it. For example:
Sensory Rooms: Kingfisher and Cormorant Classes have their own areas. The main sensory room will be timetabled for use mainly for our younger pupils and the classes for pupils with ASD.
Sports Hall: Timetabled for use by 5 of our 7 bubbles.- ie one per day.
Dining Room: Used for sensory circuits in the morning, cleaned at dinner time and used for PE by 2 Bubbles in the afternoons.
Food Technology Room: Timetabled for use by our older students who are working on their ASDAN accreditation
Toilet/changing areas: We do not have enough toilet areas to have one per Bubble. Most classes (apart from Heron and Harrier) will therefore need to share toilet use across Bubbles. In order to ensure these areas are used safely, all (even independent students) will be supervised. This will check for good handwashing, no close contact or queueing. Everyone will wash or sanitise their hands on return to class, even after washing them in the toilet area. Class times to use toilet/changing areas will be allocated to avoid bunching and queuing, although clearly individuals may need to use the areas at other times.
Movement around the interior of the school will be kept to a minimum with all being encouraged to use external routes whenever possible.
Dinner time: Dinners will be eaten in class bases. An adult from each Bubble will go and fetch the lunches from the servery to avoid pupils queuing.
Cleaning generally: Our cleaning contractors have become used to operating to the Government’s enhanced cleaning procedures for Covid-19. This standard will remain for cleaning the whole school every day in September. There will be much less equipment left out in classes to make this task easier. Class staff will be cleaning surfaces and equipment in between use during the school day.
Shared equipment in classes: Wherever possible we will have allocated sets of equipment eg pens, crayon, for each pupil. Again, wherever possible, pupils will have a named chair and a specified seating pace in the class. Our older and/or more able pupils will be able to cope with, this, but we know that some pupils will not. Where this is not possible, staff will be even more vigilant in cleaning things between use during the day. Our site team has worked hard to ensure there is a good supply of cleaning materials in each class base.
PPE: We have a full range of PPE available for staff use if needed. Masks and/visors will not generally be worn, but are there if needed where there may be a chance of splash or spray from any bodily fluids.
For parents and carers:
We need to ask for your cooperation in agreeing to certain measures to reduce risk for when your child comes back to school, to support what we are providing on site:
• Children (and staff) may only come into school if they are fit and well. This includes other illnesses aside from Covid-19 symptoms. We need to keep everyone as fit and well as possible;
i. to ensure they do not have any other illness if they do contract Covid-19
ii. to ensure that we have enough staff to meet all the children’s needs.
iii. to keep any potential spread of bodily fluids to a minimum; eg via ordinary colds or tummy bugs. Covid-19 is present in most bodily fluids.
iv. To try to ensure that no-one with Covid-19 comes to school.
We will be very strict on this and therefore if your child (or a member of staff) shows signs of being ill during the day we will insist that they return home
• Nobody who has any of the symptoms of Covid-19 in particular a high temperature, a persistent new cough and/or has lost their sense of taste or smell should be in school or indeed out of their house. If anyone has symptoms, they must now get a test and remain at home until the results of the test are known. If you think you will have difficulty testing your child, let us know and we may be able to help.
• If the symptoms occur when the child is at home, you must inform school and not send your child to school until it is safe to do so, ie until your child has been tested and the test is negative.
• If the test is negative, the child may return to school, if they have no other signs of illness whether Covid related or not.
• If the test is positive, the child must remain in isolation for at least 7 days and only return to school if they are well.
• Children (and staff) should not be coming into school if anyone in their household has the symptoms of Covid-19. If anyone in a household has symptoms, they should be having a Covid-19 test. The whole household must isolate until the result of the test is known. If the test is positive, the whole household must isolate for 14 days whether they have symptoms or not.
• We will not be routinely checking everybody’s temperature in September. However, we have both standard and infra-red (non-contact) thermometers and will take temperatures if we have any concerns about someone’s health (staff or pupil). If they are found to have a temperature of 37.8 degrees or above, they must leave the premises and be tested for Covid-19 before returning, even if they do not have other symtoms.
• Test and Trace: now this is in action, anyone contacted by the Test and Trace Service must follow the isolation direction given.
• As the Coronavirus can linger on clothes, we are asking that everyone (children and staff) come to school in clothes that are all clean on that day. If anyone comes to school in visibly dirty clothing or in something that has clearly been worn previously, they will be asked to change.
NB If this means you run out of school uniform during the week, it will be fine to send your child in with other clothes.
• To ensure clean clothes are always available in case there is any need to change; for example if clothing became soiled with any bodily fluid during the day; please ensure that your child has a complete change of clothes with them each day they are in school.
NB We are advising all (staff and pupils) that it would be a good idea to change into a clean set of clothes as soon as they enter the house after school just in case, despite our best efforts, there has been any contamination during the school day. Ideally, to kill the virus, clothes need to washed at 60 degrees C, but this is not possible for all fabrics; please ensure a minimum of 40 degrees therefore. You may like to know that tumble-drying will also kill the virus.
• In case any issues do arise during the day, we need you to make sure that you can be contacted at all times by telephone. This should be the case on any school day, but is particularly important at the moment. Please ensure that we have any updates on the best number to call or if any numbers have changed recently. If we do call and ask for your child to go home for any of the above reasons, please be understanding and know that we will only ask this if we feel it is linked to the safety of all.
• As I hope you are aware, we will returning to school for pupils in the week beginning Monday 7th September, but most pupils will be in school for either Mon/Tues or Thurs/Fri with alternate Weds.
• We will be returning to all pupils being offered full time placement back at school from Mon 27th September.
• I wanted to thank all that returned the form I first circulated about this. We did try to take on board comments received and have reduced the phasing in time from 4 to 3 weeks, and went with the majority request for some days in school each week, rather than one week on, one week off.
• The Government is keen for all pupils to make a full return to school, but if you feel there is a good reason for your child to have a longer period of phased return, please let us know. All being well, we will be expecting all pupils back at school for the second half term.
Travelling to and from School:
• School buses will return to having the same number of pupils as before Covid-19. The Government guidance says that this is now low risk as it is the same known group of pupils.
• We have planned to phase start times to avoid a crush at the school gate or pupils waiting for long periods on the bus until the way is clear to go in. As a result, half the buses will arrive at 9.00am and leave at 3.00pm. The other half will arrive at 9.20 am and leave at 3.30pm. Your bus team will let you know your new timings.
• We believe the bus staff will continue to be wearing face masks to reduce the risk of cross infection, please explain this to you child as best you can. It may be a good idea to show them some pictures of people wearing masks.
• As wearing masks/face coverings becomes more common and in many places required; it would be good if your child can also wear a mask or face covering on transport. We know however that this will not be possible for all, and it is not therefore a requirement for travel.
• The bus staff will be checking with you that your child is well, and may also ask whether all in your household are well. They will also have a visual check that the child is in clean clothes. They would reserve the right not to accept a child onto the bus if they have concerns. Please understand that they have been asked to do this and that it is for the safety of all. It does not imply any criticism of you or your household.
NB You should know that the transport companies are following all current Public Health England guidelines and that the vehicles will be cleaned between the morning and afternoon runs, as well as at the end of the day.
Independent student travellers: Our 4 older students, who travel on public transport to school, can continue to do so, but will be supported and assessed by their travel coordinator in the first instance, to ensure they know how to travel safely now. These students must wear masks for the journey.
Parents who transport pupils: We ask that parents who bring their children in wait in their cars until they see a member of their child’s class team at the relevant door or gate. It is not possible to have the previously usual “gathering” in the foyer.
I am sorry if all this sounds a bit officious, but it is important to be clear and that we all behave in a way that keeps us as safe as possible. Despite all this, we are really looking forward to seeing all the pupils, and staff back in school again.
Please let us know if you have any issues that you would like to discuss before, or when your child returns to school. The firstname.lastname@example.org email will be checked at intervals over the summer, if you need to contact us.