Coronavirus (Covid - 19)
Following the Prime Minister's recent address to the nation where he indicated that some phased reopening of schools could begin from June 1st 2020, the Trust is working hard to put measures in place in line with government guidance to protect staff, students and visitors. Due cognisance will also be taken of advice offered by Teacher unions and Professional Associations.
Unless we hear otherwise from the government, our primary schools are preparing for the return of more pupils, alongside existing priority groups from 2nd June 2020. Headteachers are in contact with parents/carers who meet the eligibility criteria. We will prioritise, if needed, in line with government guidance.
At this stage we have no firm guidance from the government as to when we can expect the phased reopening of secondary schools beyond the provision already in place to provide education for existing priority groups.
We will review and update this information as we receive more guidance from the government/DfE.
STAY ALERT > CONTROL THE VIRUS > SAVE LIVES
The DfE have updated their guidance on safeguarding in education and childcare settings during the coronavirus outbreak as they plan for wider opening. The guidance includes advice on updating the child protection policy, designated safeguarding lead arrangements, protecting vulnerable children and mental health support for children and young people.
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.
Sapientia Education Trust Health and Safety Department
Frequently asked Questions - Covid 19
COVID-19 - School Extended Opening: FAQ for Parents /Carers:
The Government has asked schools to plan for phased re-opening of Primary and Infant Schools from the beginning of June 2020. This is not yet confirmed, with a review due on May 28th 2020. Our schools are working together to plan for this possible phased re-opening.
This FAQ is intended to help parents/carers understand our planning and some of the key implications for your child and the way schools will operate.
1. WHICH CHILDREN CAN ATTEND AND FROM WHEN?
We are planning for the possibility of re-opening to more pupils from Tuesday June 2nd, 2020, subject to the review decision on May 28th.
As there may not be space available for all pupils, government guidance is that pupil places are allocated in the following order:
- Key workers and vulnerable children
- Year 1
- Year 6
A number of our schools will not be able to provide for the full range, due to new class size and staffing restrictions. Your Headteacher will indicate to you which Year groups we are planning to initially re-open for.
2. DO I HAVE TO SEND TO MY CHILD TO SCHOOL?
No. This is voluntary. The government guidance clearly states that this is a matter of choice and there will be no follow through action for non-attendance. We hope that you will have enough information to make an informed choice. Schools are fantastic places, full of energy and vibrancy. Whilst things will change and be different in the short term, our staff are committed to doing the very best they can for our pupils, whatever decision you make.
3. IS IT SAFE TO RETURN TO SCHOOL?
We are following all of the government guidance and have put in place detailed risk assessments, in accordance with the latest updates. We will continue to update our plans in line with any updated government guidelines and advice. We fully accept that whether or not you wish your child to return to school at this time is a matter of choice. The government advises that it may not be possible to ensure social distancing with primary aged children.
Department for Education guidance for parents is available here:
4. DO I HAVE TO ‘PRE-BOOK’ A PLACE?
Yes – We ask that you complete a survey to allow the school to plan for pupil and staff safety, indicating whether or not you intend to take up a place. If you change your mind, please inform the school using the usual communication channels, giving at least 5 schools days’ notice if you wish your child to attend (E-mail, preferred). This is to ensure that we can plan groups and staffing in line with national guidelines.
5. WHAT CHANGES WILL THERE BE?
There will be a number of changes, all driven by a desire to make school as safe as possible.
The government recognises that social distancing is very difficult in primary schools. The intention instead is to create ‘bubbles’ of children within school, limiting the mixing of children.
Class sizes will be much smaller (usually between 10-15, depending on space) and pupils will not be able to mix outside of their new class group. One or two adults will work with each class, which may be a teacher or a teaching assistant, working under the direction of a teacher.
The ‘bubble’ will be together all day, including at break and lunchtime.
Classrooms will be organised to ensure space between each child, though we cannot guarantee social distancing between children.
There may be changes to the school day, drop off and collection arrangements and times.
Each group will have procedures to re-enforce hygiene– including regular handwashing.
Some equipment will be removed from classrooms and communal activities (e.g. assemblies) will not take place.
Many communal spaces will not be in use (e.g. the Library, ICT rooms etc.)
Children will not be able to share equipment (pencils, crayons etc. and may often be provided with an individual tray).
Materials, e.g. reading books and resources will not be sent home. Reading tasks may be set remotely.
Books and folders will not be marked – assessment, where appropriate, will be conducted electronically.
Changes to teaching will also take place, with less ‘face to face’ interaction and changes to how tasks/activities are organised, with much less collaborative based learning.
There will be more regular and enhanced cleaning arrangements, including wiping surfaces etc. between sessions.
On days with planned PE children may be expected to arrive in school in their PE kit.
6. WHAT HAPPENS IF MY CHILD DISPLAYS OR ANYONE IN OUR HOUSEHOLD DISPLAYS SYMPTOMS?
You must keep your child off school if they or anyone in the household displays symptoms that include any of a new continuous cough, a temperature or a loss of taste/smell. You should inform the school as soon as possible.
If your child displays symptoms whilst in school, they will be isolated and you will be required to collect them immediately.
7. WHAT ARE FIRST AID ARRANGEMENTS?
First aid will continue as usual. Staff performing first-aid will wear PPE – including gloves, an apron, mask and googles/visor.
8. SHOULD CHILDREN WEAR FACE MASKS?
Current government advice is that this is not necessary in schools.
9. WHAT ARE VISITOR ARRANGEMENTS?
Visitors are not permitted in school, unless in an emergency situation or linked directly to health and safety. This includes parents, who will need to maintain social distancing whilst dropping off and collecting from school, remaining outside school buildings at all times.
10. HOW WILL GROUPS BE ORGANISED?
These will generally be Year or Key Stage based, limited to between 10-15, depending on space.
11. WILL MY CHILD HAVE THE SAME TEACHER AS BEFORE THE BREAK?
Not necessarily. Arrangements will be confirmed by the school – however in some schools it is simply not possible to reduce the class sizes and maintain that continuity. The new groups will have consistent adults working with them, to protect the integrity of the ‘bubble.’
Pupils may also work in a different room to where they were previously.
12. WHAT ABOUT UNIFORM/ ITEMS TO BRING TO SCHOOL?
School uniform should be worn. It is recommended that this is machine washed each day at 60 degrees.
As few items should be brought in to school as possible. This is limited to a bag, water bottle, clothing (windows will be open, so it may be colder) and a lunch box.
13. WHY ARE PARENTS ASKED TO SIGN A NEW HOME-SCHOOL AGREEMENT?
In order to ensure that everyone is clear about the new expectations we will ask that parents/carers sending their child to school sign a new home-school agreement.
This makes it clear that a number of expectations must be followed, to help ensure as safe a school environment as possible for children and staff.
14. WHAT ABOUT LUNCH ARRANGEMENTS?
We have kept in contact with lunch providers and we are awaiting confirmation of details. For children entitled to lunch this will be provided, but it may be eaten in a class-room or other base.
Older pupils will need to being lunch with them. There will be no facility to buy food in school.