PARENT/CARER LETTER 20.05.2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
May I start by saying I hope you are all safe and well and by thanking you for your support throughout this unprecedented crisis.
We have continued to remain open during the crisis to support those children and families who have needed it. We appreciate the time you have taken to support your child with online learning and working through the home learning packs we have provided.
You will be aware the Prime Minister has announced a possible phased extension of the opening of schools from 1st June, depending on the five government tests being completed.
We are working closely with schools within the borough and the Local Authority to ensure we plan for the extension of school opening.
The Local Authority has worked closely with Public Health and has shared the following information to ourselves as school leaders.
As a borough we are supportive of proposals to extend opening of schools as soon as it is safe to do so, however;
Public health is our first priority in all considerations concerning the further extension of school opening
We are not yet satisfied that all of the Governments five tests, identified as prerequisites for easing of lockdown measures, have been met.
We are adopting a cautious approach to the extended opening of schools, based on regular review of the emerging evidence and guidance
The earliest date we therefore, feel able to prepare for extended opening of schools in Blackburn with Darwen is 8th June.
This date is subject to satisfactory progress being made against each of the Governments five tests, we will review the proposal date on a weekly basis.
LA guidance indicates that in BWD the earliest date to begin a phased return to school, starting with Reception in the first instance, would be Monday 8th June. Year 1 and year 6 would be phased in from Monday 15th June and Monday 22nd June at the earliest.
We are currently working on detailed plans as to how this can be done as safely as possible for the children and the adults, both staff and parents. If you are a Key Worker and you have not been sending your child to school but intend to do so after 1st June, please let us know by this Thursday 21st June to enable us to plan effectively.
I must point out that the government have categorically said that parents who chose to keep their children at home during this unprecedented crisis will not be penalised in any way.
While I am still working on plans I need you to be aware that school will be a very different environment when it does reopen. Children will be in groups of no more than 10 but in many cases this number will be smaller so that we can facilitate the recommended 2mtre social distancing. Each group will be supported by a class teacher or class leader and a teaching assistant. For many children it is unlikely to be the regular class teacher. The children will stay with their group at all times – including lunchtimes and playtimes. The group will stay in their allocated room – again it is unlikely to be their regular classroom, at all times, including to eat their lunch, except for specific outdoor time. Only 1 group of children will be allowed out for outdoor time at once. Play and learning equipment will be kept to a minimum as all items will need cleaning regularly to minimise the risk of cross contamination. Children and adults will be kept in their, “bubble” so that should a case of Covid 19 be suspected or confirmed only that group will need to be isolated / tested. Staff will be issued with face coverings, gloves and aprons. Social distancing will be practised as far as is practically possible so children will spend the majority of their time working individually at tables / work stations. Children will need to be prepared for these changes and we would ask for your support in preparing them. Please be aware, that we recognise that social distancing is not achievable with our youngest children, particularly those in Reception as they do not have the necessary understanding. Reception children will still be able to access their learning through play but the play equipment available will be significantly reduced, Mrs Abram and Mrs Shepherd will continue to be with the Reception bubble.
Start and end times of the day will be staggered so that no more than 1 group of children will be entering or leaving the building at one time. Parents will not be allowed into the building unless by prior agreement with a senior member of staff.
I must emphasise these measures are designed to keep your children, yourselves and the staff safe and well.
Please let us know by the end of Thursday if you intend to send your child into school by either phoning school between 9am and 4pm or emailing the school office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once I have received responses I will come up with a firm plan and will let you know what the next steps will be.
Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Take care and stay safe.
Mrs Kathryn Bolton