Returning to School Following COVID-19 (September 2020)
From September, we need to ensure that we continue with the measures that we have put in place to reduce the risk of infection as much as possible. Therefore we will continue to:
- have staggered start and finish times
- encourage social distancing, especially among adults in school
- work in pupil 'bubbles' although these can be larger in number and across a phase
- use the 'one-way’ system around the school site to reduce congestion and aid flow of pedestrian traffic
- use vigilant and robust cleaning and hygiene routines
This booklet is designed to give families as much information as possible for September 2020 but all information is subject to change dependent on the following factors:
- updates to Government advice to schools.
- updates to local Public Health Protection advice
This guidance is planned to be in place until 31st December 2020.
From September 2020, normal expectations for school attendance apply.
We understand that some of you may be feeling anxious and rather worried about this.
We want you to feel confident that school is following Government advice and that the risk of COVID-19 infection in schools is low.
Our Family Liaison team (Mrs Vella and Miss Green) can support you with any worries you may have about school attendance. We will also resume working with Medway Council's Attendance Advisory Service for Schools and Academies to support families with attendance concerns.
Children with medical needs will already have a Medical Plan in place in school. If you feel that your child's plan needs updating then please contact Miss Green to arrange for this to be done prior to your child returning to school.
Some children will have Risk Assessments in place. If we feel that any of these need additional consideration or support to return to school then you will be contacted by your child's class teacher / phase leader about this.
How the School will be Different from Pre-Lockdown
We will be :
- encouraging children at all times to distance themselves from adults wherever possible
- engaging in frequent and regular hand sanitising
- grouping children in phase 'bubbles' (Bubble 1 - Year R, Bubble 2 - Year 1 and Year 2, Bubble 3 - Year 3 and Year 4, Bubble 4 - Year 5 and Year 6) and making sure that children do not mix closely with children from other bubbles
- striving to maintain 2m distancing between adults from different bubbles
- having all pupil desks in Years 1 - 6 facing forward in class
- minimising the sharing of equipment wherever possible and maintaining rigorous cleaning of shared equipment
- accessing other areas of the school as needed (for example the playground, hall) and library on a rota basis to avoid mixing bubbles
- ensuring differing start and finish times/locations for each bubble
- changing the Friday Club offer to be bubble based only. Friday Clubs will offer a limited range of desk-based activities and will be focused on providing a child-care option rather than enrichment opportunities (see FAQ)
- relocating Breakfast and After School Club to the main hall (with entry via the Byron Road gate only), and locating children attending in bubble zoned areas (see FAQ)
- providing a full lunch menu of hot and cold meals
- unable to provide break time snacks or drinks for any children, so these will need to be brought in from home (see below for more details)
- returning to all children wearing school uniform
- ensuring that there are no physical large or whole school groupings (such as assembly)
- following the robust Risk Assessments that we have put in place to mitigate the risks related to COVID-19
Children are allowed the following food for their break time snack
•Snacking vegetables such as carrots
•Cracker based snacks such as Mini Cheddars or Dunkers
•Fruit bars (no nuts)
•Cereal bars (no nuts)
•A small sandwich (separate to any packed lunch items)
•Any other packet snack with a saturated fat content no higher than 10%
Drop-off and Collection
It is important that social distancing measures are followed during drop-off and collection and that everyone follows the one-way systems in place on the school site.
We would prefer a single parent/carer to escort their child to school and wait with them on the yellow marker lines on the playground to enable them to supervise social distancing at all times before and after school.
There will be queuing in place for drop-off and collection and we need everyone's support and understanding with this.
We will email you a link to a short video on YouTube explaining this.
It is reasonable to assume that the queuing will take longer on the first few days as everyone gets used to the new procedures.
Children will need to come into the school building on their own.
Parents should avoid coming into the school building and this should only happen if there is a pre-arranged meeting. The school office will only be accessible via the Byron Road entrance.
Drop-off and Collection Arrangements
As required by the government, there will be a staggered start and finish to the school day so as to reduce the number of people on our playgrounds at any one time.
Year R (Bubble 1) will start at 08:45 and finish at 15:15 (13:15 on Fridays if not staying to Friday Clubs). Entry and exit will be via the Milton Road gate only.
Year 1 and Year 2 (Bubble 2) will start at 08:45 and finish at 15:15 (13:15 on Fridays if not staying to Friday Clubs). Entry and exit will be via the Chaucer Road gate only.
Year 3 and Year 4 (Bubble 3) will start at 09:00 and finish at 15:30 (13:30 on Fridays if not staying to Friday Clubs). Entry and exit will be via the Milton Road gate only.
Year 5 and Year 6 (Bubble 4) will start at 09:00 and finish at 15:30 (13:30 on Fridays if not staying to Friday Clubs). Entry and exit will be via the Chaucer Road gate only.
It will not be possible to drop off or collect children at a different gate or at a different time to that stated above.
Whilst the school day is slightly shorter, it is lunchtime that has been reduced in length and not lesson time.
Gates will open 5 minutes before the advertised times stated above.
Medway Council have informed us that the road crossing patrols on Canterbury Street and Rock Avenue will not be in operation until later into the first term on the new school year.
Expectations of Parents/Carers to Reduce the Risk of Infection
- Ensure that your child does not attend school if they or anyone in the household displays symptoms (see advice on self-isolating)
- Ensure that children come to school every day unless showing symptoms
- Drop off and collect children at the allocated time and from the allocated place
- Follow the site one-way system at all times
- Where possible, arrange for only one person from your household to drop-off and collect your child
- Communicate with school via email or phone wherever possible
Main Office email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Special Needs: email@example.com
For Year R queries: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Year 1 and Year 2 queries: email@example.com
For Year 3 and Year 4 queries: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Year 5 and Year 6 queries: email@example.com
- Avoid coming into the school building and this should only happen if there is a pre-arranged meeting.
- Maintain a distance of 2 metres from other people when on site
- Provide pupils with a break time snack and water in a named bottle each day
- Remind pupils of good personal hygiene including hand washing and the 'catch it, bin it, kill it' approach to sneezing and coughing
- Remind pupils of the required behaviour to reduce the risk of infection
- Work with school staff to encourage your child to follow the required policies and procedures to reduce the risk of infection
Behaviour Expectations of Pupils to Reduce the Risk of Infection
Pupils will need to behave differently from normal to support the systems the school has put in place to reduce the risk of infection. In addition to our usual behaviour policy, pupils must follow the specific requirements below. These behaviours and routines will be explained to pupils and frequently re-visited.
Pupils must follow instructions regarding:
- collection and drop off routines
- safety and hygiene, such as hand washing and sanitising
- who they can socialise with at school
- how to move around the school e.g. one-way systems, out of bounds areas, queuing etc
- expectations about sneezing, coughing, tissues and disposal ('catch it, bin it, kill it') and avoiding touching their mouth, nose and eyes with hands
- telling an adult immediately if they are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus
- no sharing of equipment
- playtime arrangements
- safe use of toilets
- all other instructions
The school will be ensuring that we offer the best learning opportunities for your child.
We will begin the term with 'induction' activities that help your child to settle and return to school successfully.
Teachers will be initially working around a 'recovery curriculum' to focus on:
- ensuring children are ready to learn
- assessing children's current learning needs following the time away from school
- moving onto more traditional activities focused on progress and attainment when appropriate
The school will also develop 'catch up' support once we have ascertained where children may need additional support with their learning.
The school will ensure that there is a robust 'remote learning' offer should the need arise and circumstances change, meaning that pupils are unable to attend school.
We are delighted to say that our catering contractor will be returning to a full hot and cold meal service each day.
Children in Year R will eat in their classrooms.
Children in Years 1 - 6 will eat in the hall in bubble sittings. Within the bubble, children will sit in their classes.
The tables and seating in the hall will be cleaned between each sitting.
The lunch break will be shortened slightly (45 minutes) to accommodate the lost learning time due to the staggered start and finish times.
Children will be on the playground with their bubble and will not mix with children from other bubbles.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
It is vitally important that no child should attend school if they should be self- isolating.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you need to self-isolate for 7 days.
If you live with someone who has symptoms, you need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day their symptoms started.
The most important symptoms of Coronavirus:
- new and continuous cough or
- high temperature or
- loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my child be able to distance in school?
The latest guidance from the Government is that children are at a much reduced risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19 and whilst it is not possible to ensure a totally risk- free environment, we are following all of the risk assessment measures advised by the Government.
How will 'bubbles' be organised?
There will be four bubbles in school and these bubbles will not mix closely (Bubble 1 - Year R, Bubble 2 - Year 1 and Year 2, Bubble 3 - Year 3 and Year 4, Bubble 4 - Year 5 and Year 6).
If I decide not to send my child to school will home learning continue for these year groups?
No - school attendance will become statutory from September. If the school is open for your child's class, we will not be setting home learning.
What happens if a child or adult within a bubble shows Coronavirus symptoms?
If a child becomes unwell with suspected Coronavirus symptoms they will be isolated within school whilst their parent is contacted. They would then leave the premises and be required to book a COVID-19 test. If the test came back positive then we would contact Public Heath England and work with them to determine who else needed to isolate as a result.
I have more than one child and they are in different bubbles. Can I drop them off at the same time/place?
No. All children will need to be dropped off/collected at the stated time and location for their bubble. If you have two children requiring drop off at the same time but at different locations, we recommend you are near the front of the queue for your youngest, drop them off first and then join the queue for your older child.
We expect queuing to take the longest of the first day of the school year, thereafter, it will get quicker. Each phase bubble has a 15 minute drop-off window. This should allow plenty of time for multiple drop-offs/collections.
Will the children require PE kit?
Yes, and this will be kept on their peg in their classroom.
What will happen if my child becomes upset or needs physical support in school?
We will try to calm your child as well as we can using soothing voices and body language but will not be able to offer cuddles and positive handling. We will contact you if we think that your child is distressed and needs extra physical support.
Will staff be wearing 'PPE'?
We have been advised that PPE should only be worn if this is part of normal pre-COVID practice. However, staff will continue to use PPE when administering First Aid. If a child is showing symptoms and 2m distancing cannot be maintained staff will wear PPE whilst tending to them and waiting for their parent to collect them to take them for testing.
Will all the 'normal' calendar of parent events be on offer?
At the moment we are not planning for any large gatherings (e.g. class assemblies) or performances or events that would normally mean parents/carers being invited into school. This will be subject to change and we are hoping to be able to offer the full range of events as soon as we receive Government advice that we can. This is unlikely to be before January 2021.
Will Breakfast and After school provision be available?
Yes - located in the hall with drop-off and collection via the Byron Road entrance only. Pupils will be organised in their phase bubbles and social distancing maintained between these bubbles. Breakfast Club will run from 8am - 9am and cost £4.00. After School Club will run until 5:30pm and be charged at £4:00 per hour. As usual, a contract for B&A Club will need to be signed before first use. Breakfast and After School Club will be on offer from Monday 7th September. You can book a place by contacting Mrs Rosamond on 07874 292737 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
What will happen about Friday clubs?
We will encourage parents to collect their child after lunch on Friday as the Friday club offer will be very limited and will provide 'childcare' rather than enrichment. Children will be kept in their phase bubbles and will not mix with other bubbles. Collection from Friday Clubs will follow the timings on the other days of the week, Infants at 3:15pm, Juniors at 3:30pm from the same gates as the other days. It will not be possible to collect at 2:30pm.
Please Note - There will be NO Friday Clubs on Friday 4th September, instead these will start on Friday 11th September for children in Years 1 - 6. Reception will be invited to join Friday Club from Friday 25th September. Sign up will be via an electronic form that will be emailed to parents at the beginning of September.