Wider Opening from June 1st
Further to previous correspondence regarding the wider opening of schools from week - commencing 1st June; I write now with further details of how we plan to start to welcome children back to St Thomas’, should confirmation be received on 28th May that the Government’s five key tests have been met.
The school will be implementing a phased reintroduction approach and, subject to the availability of both staff and sufficient classroom space, groups of children may expect to be invited to return to school from the following dates, at the earliest. In some instances, this return may be subject to a rota system if necessary.
Week Commencing 1st June – Vulnerable and Key Worker children
Week Commencing 8th June – Reception class
Week Commencing 15th June – Year 1
Week Commencing 22nd June – Year 6
Continued provision in school for our vulnerable and key worker children will be a priority and the ability to open up to further groups, as outlined above, will be largely dictated by the demand for vulnerable and keyworker places and the remaining capacity in school.
From our initial canvassing of interest, we are aware that many of you are uncertain about sending your child back to school; your decision will be influenced by the measures and regimes put in place to control the risks - the risk of infection in school will always be higher than being at home.
A comprehensive risk assessment will be published on the school’s website towards the end of this week. This will be kept under constant review and should we feel at any point that the safety of either pupils or staff is compromised any further than the current situation already presents, then plans will be subject to revision, possibly at short notice.
In the meantime, please find below a summary of key measures and changes to normal school practice that will be applicable to all groups of pupils as they are invited to return to school. These take into account current guidance form the Department of Education, the Local Authority and Staffordshire County Council’s Health, Safety & Wellbeing department: -
Groups / ‘Bubbles’ & Social Distancing
- Class sizes will be limited to a maximum of 8 /9 pupils to ensure that there is a sufficient 2m social distancing space allowed for each pupil and members of staff in the classroom. We will not however be able to enforce strict social distancing within each classroom group.
- Groups or ‘bubbles’ of children will, as far as possible, be kept consistent throughout the week.
- As far as possible the lead teacher / TA allocated to supervise each group will be consistent throughout the week. The teacher with your child will not necessarily be their normal class teacher.
- Contact between ‘bubbles’ will be limited through staggered start and finish times, differing break and lunchtimes and designated areas for outdoor play and learning.
- At lunchtime, children will be seated with their ‘bubble’ at 2m apart as they enter the dining hall. School meals will be ordered in a morning and served plated to the dining table.
Arrival / Departure
- Specific arrival and departure times will be allocated to each group of children and we request that parents /carers –
- do not arrive any earlier than 5 minutes before the allotted time.
- respectfully queue at 2m intervals outside the designated classroom door
- leave the site promptly after drop off or collection.
- Only one adult should accompany a child to school.
- Until further notice parents /carers cannot enter the building or congregate outside. All correspondence must be via telephone or email.
- As rear entrances to school will be utilised and require pedestrian access through the school car park, the car park will not be open for use by any parent / carer.
The following timings (subject to revision once attendance numbers are confirmed), will be applicable to keyworker and vulnerable children form June 1st –
Keyworker: 8:30am to 3:30pm
Vulnerable: 9:00am to 3:00pm
The Breakfast Club and After School Club will not be operating at this present time.
- Within the classroom, each pupil will be allocated an individual desk as their ‘home space’. The desks are spaced at 2m intervals.
- Each child will have a tray containing equipment for their individual use (pencils, pens, ruler etc). The equipment will be cleaned at the end of every day.
- Soft furnishings, soft toys and the majority of non-wipeable resources have been removed as far as possible from the classroom environments.
- There will be some use of shared resources and equipment in each classroom ‘bubble’ – these will be sanitised daily.
- Windows will be kept open to provide ventilation.
- Each class ‘bubble’ will have a selection of outdoor play resources which encourage individual play and exercise – these will be sanitised daily. The outdoor play equipment and pavilion will be out of bounds.
The keyworker and vulnerable groups in school will follow the ‘home learning’ provision set for their year group each day.
- Returning year groups will also mirror the online ‘home learning’ provision in the classroom to ensure children continuing education at home through this period, are not overly disadvantaged.
- Reading books will not be sent home during the ‘wider opening’ this term.
- Learning in the outdoor spaces will be encouraged whenever possible and this will include physical activities. PE kits will however not be required in school.
Hygiene & Infection Control
- The children will be directed to wash their hands regularly throughout the day, including, on arrival, before and after outdoor play, before and after lunch and before leaving for home.
- Hand soap and paper towels will be available at all handwashing sinks.
- Tissues and a lidded bin to support the ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ respiratory hygiene campaign will be placed in each classroom.
- A supply of hand sanitiser will be available in each classroom.
- Increased cleaning will be implemented which will include the frequent cleaning of touch points throughout the day.
- Dining room tables and seating will be cleaned and sanitised between lunch sittings.
- PPE will be worn by staff should intimate care or first aid be required and when dealing with a child who develops symptoms of Covid-19.
- Children should not come to school if they are displaying any symptom (however mild) of Coronavirus (Covid-19). Please see the government guidance available on the school website regarding procedures should a pupil or member of staff test positive.
The above measures are by no means an exhaustive list and, should you wish for your child to return to school, further operational details and expectations will be provided to you on confirmation of your place. It is not compulsory for a parent or carer to send their child back at the present time and there will be no fines for parents who decide not to. The online home learning provision via the school website and contact calls home will be maintained for all children not in school throughout this period of recovery.
Sadly, St Thomas’ Primary will have a very different look and feel about it when the children return. However, what will be unchanged, is the professionalism, enthusiasm and dedication of the staff who will undoubtedly endeavour to create the best possible experience for the children in the context of staying safe and limiting the risk of transmission as far as possible.
I look forward to working you with you over the coming weeks as we begin to adjust to a new ‘normal’ but ask for your continuing understanding and support during the process.
Mr Simon Hall
Head of School