Phased Re-opening of the School
Friday 22nd May 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
Phased Re-Opening of the School
We hope that you and your family are well, and that you are managing to cope with the current situation as best as you can. We are missing you all very much and are eager to welcome you back when it is safe to do so. We are aware of the many challenges you have all faced too. As a Catholic school we recognise the need for regular prayer and a strong faith has never been more important. We continue to update our prayer resources on the school website.
SCHOOL WILL NOT BEGIN To RE-OPEN ON 2nd JUNE
Our priority, as always, has to be the safety of children, families and staff and as I am sure you will appreciate this is made more difficult by the many unknowns and uncertainties that still exist around the Covid-19 virus.
Since the government announcement, we have been working to implement the latest government guidance by, considering the physical space we have for this increased number of pupils and the staffing that we have available. A detailed Risk Assessment form arrived on the late afternoon of Monday 18th May and this is the basis on which we plan to re-open Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School in the safest way that we can.
Although we have been working to full capacity to ensure that the school is safe for further phased reopening, there is still much work to do and this will take some time for the leadership team and whole school staff. This includes sourcing essential items such as soap, hand gel and Personal Protective Equipment.
At this current time, from our initial risk assessments, we are NOT ABLE TO SAFELY start our phased reopening at Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School from June 2nd.
This will be reviewed on a weekly basis and we will keep you up to date with any further decision making. However, please note we will not be able to open to any further pupils until on or after 8th June 2020. The government has stipulated priority groups and we will endeavour to phase these groups back in to school in priority order.
The Local Authority has also issued a letter to parents explaining reasons behind some schools remaining closed to more pupils.
WHEN A PHASED RETURN BEGINS
As we continue to plan for our phased re-opening we wanted to share what returning will look like for our children. We will provide a child friendly version in the coming weeks on our website so that your child can be prepared for the changes.
We have spent much time preparing our classrooms for a phased re-opening and although government guidelines call for 15 pupils per group, our classrooms will only safely cope with 10 children in them, whilst maintaining the recommended 2 metres of social distance between children and staff. Teachers will also have an exclusion zone to support social distancing that the children will not be able to enter.
All other items possible have to be removed from the classroom to ensure all surfaces can be thoroughly cleaned.
- Children will be in small groups organised by the teachers and have be a maximum of 10. They
- They will have the same members of staff; we will make every effort for this to be a teacher who works with your child but this may not be the case as 'home groups', ‘bubbles’ or ‘pods’ within school must remain consistent.
- School will not be following a full curriculum. Teachers will be continuing to set work online to
- The schools’ timings will not be the same. Timings will be staggered, including the start and end
- Lunches will be eaten in class or designated areas with a staggered shortened break outside weather permitting
- There will be no assemblies or mixing of small groups.
- Children will not be changing into PE kits.
- All bags must be left at home; children should only come to school with only a lunch box if required but we recommend all children attending school have a school meal.
- Going outside is encouraged; each small group of children will have a designated area and time outside
- In classes, desks will be separated, however there is an acceptance that social distancing,
- No PPE, at this stage, will be worn by children. At times where social distancing cannot be maintained, staff may need to wear PPE and this will be FULL PPE if a child presents with Coronavirus type symptoms
- Children eligible for Free School Meals and infant children who usually have school meals, will receive a cold lunch each day in school and those children attending school would no longer be eligible for FSM vouchers
Over the next few days I am meeting with other head teachers, seeking advice from the Local Authority and planning with the school leadership team to create a plan for a potential wider opening of Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School.
When it is decided that it is safe for Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School to begin a phased re-opening to more pupils, this will be done in small groups. This is to ensure that the procedures and policies in place are safe and are adapted to new challenges as well as ensuring appropriate staffing and safety arrangements are made.
Key Worker Provision
As I’m sure you are aware, Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School has remained open since lockdown started for key worker children and others in specific groups where attendance at school has been recommended. Key worker childcare will resume on June 2nd for the children already in attendance at school. As a phased reopening begins, places will need to be extended but remain limited. This is based on the rooms that we are able to use and the available staffing. This means requests will be ranked in order of priority using government guidelines. If we are unable to offer you a place, we will assist in finding you a space in Birmingham.
Half Term Break
School will be closed to everyone during half term week; contractors are on site completing essential maintenance works. We have asked the staff to take a break from providing online learning during half term week, as we need our staff to have a full week break from school related activities, however staff have chosen to update their support on the website. New subject pages and advice are on the school website, pupils can continue with online platforms such as Times Tables Rock Stars and their CGP English and Maths books, should you wish to do so.
Does My Child Have to Return?
It will be respectfully left to you as parents to consider this and make appropriate decisions for your child and your family. There will be no consequences for families who choose for their children to remain at home during the remainder of the Summer Term, and I will of course respect the decision that you decide to make. Although the government have shared their ‘ambition’ that ALL primary pupils are expected to return before the summer holidays at this current point in time, we would have significant concerns about doing this and we have many concerns including the space that will be available.
Your thoughts as parents and carers are crucial at this time and will help us with the planning process. We received a tremendous response from our survey sent out last week to the parents of children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6. The survey indicates that currently, 59% of you intend to keep your children at home and 41% intend for their child to return to school when our phased reopening commences. When a date is confirmed for each class will begin their phased return, a form will be sent for you to confirm your choice and indicate whether or not a space can be made available at Our Lady’s.
We would support any parent who chooses that their child remains at home as we fully understand your concerns and everyone’s situation is different. Like you, we await the government publication of the scientific evidence that supports their decision in asking schools to return. We will maintain a flexible and adaptable approach, responsive to the changing needs of our school, our local and national community. We will be mindful of on-going government guidelines and legislation.
The careful and phased re-opening of school will focus on supporting children to learn, to stay safe, and to enjoy being back with their friends and with school staff as much as we can. We hope that this letter has answered many of your questions.
If you have any urgent questions, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org .
In the meantime, I will keep you updated on any decisions or changes to what is planned, and we look forward to welcoming you back into school as soon as it safe to do so.
Thank you for your continued support,
Miss V. McDonald