Below are the answers to some of the common questions that I am sure every parent/carer has at this time.
These questions cover the following areas:
- Summary of guidance relating to available scientific advice;
- Social distancing in school;
- Cleaning plans for our school;
- The planned use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Lunch arrangements;
What does the guidance say about the transmission of the virus in schools?
- It is important to remember that COVID-19 has only been in existence for just over a year and the scientific data is not completely robust and is changing as the scientific community finds out more about the virus.
- However, DfE guidance is based on the following scientific principles:
- The rate of transmission of the virus is very low among children; especially children under the age of 6.
- Children are less likely to pass the virus from one child to another child or a child to an adult.
- Adults are more likely to pass the virus to other adults and this will need to be factored into the planning.
- It is thought to take at least 15 minutes of close contact with an infected person for the virus to pass to another person.
- The virus can last for up to 6 days on surfaces. Additional cleaning is essential to ensure that any places in which the virus can live are significantly reduced.
- Our safety planning is based on the current and changing scientific principles and will be under constant review.
Will you be able to socially distance our children?
- I feel it is important to be clear that social distancing of children is impossible in schools.
- Children naturally gravitate towards each other and we also need to weigh up the impact of enforcing children to stay away from each other with their mental health and well-being.
- Instead, our plans are focused on promoting social distancing between groups/classes of children. This is in-line with current government guidance.
- We have done this by changing the classroom layouts, particularly for the older children, making sure that children only have access to a set of personal school equipment that must not be shared with others and staggering play and lunchtimes.
- We will also be socially distancing groups or ‘bubbles’ of children from other ‘bubbles’ of children.
Will before and after school clubs be able to open?
- Both our Breakfast Club and After School Club provision remain open. We are asking parents to book if they require a place, giving us at least 24 hours notice.
How do you plan to keep the school environment clean?
- The frequency of cleaning has increased to cope with the demands of ensuring that we promote a ‘COVID Secure’ environment.
- We have a cleaner on site every day. Their job is to ensure that our toilets and communal areas are kept clean and they will also be cleaning other spaces / door handles / frequently touched surfaces during the day.
- Each class also has antibacterial/viral wipes to ensure the regular cleaning of surfaces between usage.
How will you promote additional handwashing and personal hygiene?
- As soon as the children come into school, they will need to thoroughly wash their hands.
- We have scheduled regular handwashing sessions in school for all children and will provide hand sanitiser for use throughout the day for children and adults.
Will my child need to wear a mask?
- Your child is not required or encouraged to wear a mask and data suggests that using a mask could increase the chances of passing on the virus, especially in children as it promotes people touching their faces more often.
- Instead, we are promoting excellent respiratory hygiene.
- Our children are taught ways we can ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’.
Will the adults in school wear masks or other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE)?
- Adults in school will not routinely wear masks or other forms of PPE when in school. However, when social distancing in corridors and communal areas cannot be maintained, staff will wear a mask.
- Furthermore, when a pupil or adult displays symptoms of the COVID-19, we will insist that PPE will be worn by staff.
- Our children are taught what PPE means and that is there to protect everyone in the school. This will be a normal part of school life until the virus threat has gone.
What will my child eat for lunch?
- We offer a normal school lunch service which includes a hot option for our children.
- Parents are free to provide a packed lunch for their child, but we would recommend that this is fully disposable if possible to eliminate any unnecessary surfaces to which the virus can live.
Will my child be required to wear a uniform?
- Yes, your child is required to wear full uniform. On PE days, your child should come to school in their PE kit (suitable for outdoor PE lessons). During lockdowns, when school is only open to vulnerable / key worker pupils, uniform is not normally mandatory.
- Clothes should be changed as soon as the children get home and kept clean.
Where will I drop off and pick up my child and how will I know?
- We have extended the drop-off and pick up times each day to facilitate a socially distanced environment.
- Our drop off time will be from 8.40 am to 8.50 am each weekday.
- Our pick up time will be from 3.20 pm and 3.30 pm each weekday.
- Only one parent/carer over the age of 18 can bring their children onto the school site.
- Parents/carers must follow the one-way system in place.
Does my child have to come to school?
- Attendance for all pupils is compulsory and our school is following our standard attendance management policies.