LATEST GUIDANCE FOR SCHOOL REOPENING FULL TIME FROM SEPTEMBER 2020
I am sure that many of you are already aware that yesterday, the Government produced guidance for all schools to re-open for all children, full time, in September. This is compulsory for all families. In response to this guidance, I wanted to inform you of what we propose to do to make this possible. We are currently thoroughly reviewing our health and safety risk assessments and drawing up plans for the autumn term that address any risks. Obviously, these plans are subject to change if the Government advice changes, but we will keep you fully informed if that should happen. As a nation, we have all been put in a situation where we have to respond and adapt to change, as quickly and as frequently as is necessary.
To make a return to school possible, there are certain control measures that we have to put in place. They are grouped into ‘prevention’ and ‘response to any infection’ and are outlined in the section below:
Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school and self isolates for 14 days.
Clean hands thoroughly more often than usual. The enhanced cleaning arrangements will continue so that surfaces such as tables, light switches, door handles, toilets etc will be cleaned several times throughout the school day using standard products such as detergents and bleach
Ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
Minimise contact between pupils and adults in school and maintain social distancing wherever possible (see further information below) *
Response to any infection
Engage with the NHS Test and Trace process
Manage confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst the school community by isolating pupils who show symptoms until a parent can collect them. We will contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice.
*To fit all of the children in their own classroom, it will not be possible to keep a 2 metre distance but there are things that we must do to reduce the contact that the children will have with others. These include:
Grouping children together in their own class ‘bubble’. They will stay in that bubble all of the time and not mix with other bubbles, including break times and lunch time. The staff will remain in the bubble too and not move from class to class.
Separate classes will be expected to arrive and leave at different times from each other to avoid congestion of pupils and parents at the start and end of the school day. We will inform you of these times within the next two weeks when plans have been finalised.
In their classrooms, the children will be seated facing forwards in the same direction and not at circular tables (apart from in the Reception class where all children don’t sit at desks at the same time).
Teachers will be advised to keep 2m away from pupils, at the front of the class, and away from colleagues as much as possible.
There should be no face coverings for pupils or teachers, on Public Health England advice, as they interfere with teaching and learning.
Normal school uniform will need to be worn. Our plans to have a new uniform will have to be postponed to next year.
Toilets will be shared by year groups with regular cleaning.
There will be no assemblies as pupils are not allowed to congregate in the hall.
There will be implications for after school and lunchtime clubs as children are not allowed to mix with others who are not in their ‘bubble’. Sport clubs and choir will have to be put on hold until these restrictions are relaxed. We will keep you updated at every stage.
I know that this will be a very anxious time for you all but more so for some families who have chosen not to send their children to school over these past few weeks. The decision to re-open schools and make this compulsory is because the circumstances have changed. Returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. The prevalence of coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased, the NHS Test and Trace system is up and running, and the government are clear about the measures that need to be in place to create safer environments within schools. All the information contained in this letter is totally in line with these measures so I want to reassure you that we are doing all we can to protect all people from harm and unnecessary risk.
The Blackburn with Darwen Authority are working on plans for some summer activities to take place during the holidays but these will not be in schools. School will re-open for all pupils Y1 – Y6 on Thursday 4th September. There are slightly different arrangements for the Reception class and those parents will be informed separately. It is the local authority’s policy that there will no catch up lessons or remote learning organised by teachers, no packs or regular posts on the school website during the summer holidays. All activities and facilities will take place outside of school. I will inform you about the authority’s plans as soon as I know what they are.
If there is one thing that this pandemic has taught us, is that a lot can happen in two weeks, which is all we have left of this school year. No doubt there will be a lot of information coming your way within this time but I just wanted you to know what the plans were for September.
We look forward to welcoming all our children back in September with a fresh start. We have missed them enormously. In the meantime, please take care and stay safe. Let us know if we can support you in any way.