COVID -19 Updates
14th September 2020
A few parents have spoken to me in the playground about some of their concerns and I'm hopefully going to use this letter to answer some of these queries.
What is the school is doing to keep your child safe
There are two main strands to keeping the children safe during this pandemic. The first is by separating the children as much as possible from one another to prevent cross infection. This means that every year group is treated as a separate bubble, that is why we have separate staggered beginning and finish times of the school day. Within that group bubble there is the class bubble. We are trying to prevent anybody else from entering the bubble unless it is an emergency. So for example, I am emergency cover for Year 6 pupils. This means that I will not enter any of the other year bubbles for any reason. Therefore I cannot enter into year 3 classrooms, year 4 etc. We believe that keeping children and adults away from other year groups will minimise possible cross infection. The teachers and staff that are assigned to a particular year group stay with that year group. This means that our music teacher, Mrs Nagle can only directly work with year 4 pupils, the year group to which she is attached. For the other children's class music she zooms in to their classroom from her music room - virtual lessons. This is of course not an ideal situation but it's the best that we can do at the moment.
The second strand to keeping the children safe is enhanced cleaning throughout the school. During the summer holidays the school was very thoroughly deep cleaned and we are ensuring that the classrooms remain as tidy and clutter-free as possible to allow the cleaners to get in and disinfect the classrooms after children have gone home - this is why we are not allowing bags to come into school. During the day we have an extra cleaner who comes around wiping down with antibacterial spray commonly touched surfaces. These include door handles, banisters etc. The children are asked to wash their hands very regularly with a combination of soap and water and/ or hand gel. Each year bubble has its own toilets which are only for use by children in that year group. Similarly, each group has its own set of wash hand basins. We are not letting external visitors into the school unless absolutely necessary and that is why we are stopping parents coming in first thing in the morning. We have discouraged the children bringing in and taking home things from school in an effort to diminish the risk of transmission. We are conscious that if the children pick up the virus at school they can then carry it back to their families. We know that some of the children live with vulnerable adults.
What happens if a child or an adult has Covid symptoms in school.
There are three Covid symptoms that we are carefully watching for. These include a high-temperature, a new continuous cough and a change in how a person smells or tastes things. If a child / adult develops any of these symptoms we will isolate them from the other children and the rest of the school. The parent will then be called to come and pick them up. The parent will be advised that the child will not be allowed back in school for 10 days after the symptoms developed. They will be advised that they should have their child tested. If the parent has their child tested and it comes back as negative, the child, as long as they are well, may return to school. If the test comes back positive we will be contacting Public Health England for further advice and guidance. We know that in some other schools where a child has tested positive either the class or the year group bubble has been closed with everybody told to self isolate for 14-days. It is very difficult for the school to make a decision about illnesses. Unfortunately, many of the symptoms of a common cold mirror the symptoms of Covid. We have to err on the side of safety and unless the child or adult has a negative test they will not be allowed back in school for those 14 days. If a child displays Non-Covid symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhoea we will follow our normal procedures. The child will be isolated, the parent called to collect the child from school and the child will not be allowed back for 48 hours once they are feeling better. Again, this is to prevent further infection of any diarrhoea or sickness bugs to other children within the class and the year group. This is normal standard procedure.
If a child has Covid symptoms then the whole family / household needs to self isolate until a test is completed. This includes other siblings in the school - e.g. if a Year 3 child develops a new cough they will be sent home. We will also send home any brothers and sisters that they have in the school to self isolate for 14 days or until the test comes back negative. I know that this can be very difficult for working parents to have all of their children at home especially if some of them seem fit and well. But we do have to work together to help to beat the virus and this is one way to minimise the possible transmission of the virus. We operate the same system for staff and will also send them home if they or anyone else in their household displays Covid symptoms.We have already sent both children and staff home but at the date of writing there have not been any confirmed cases of Covid in our school population.
What do parents do if a child is ill at home?
The simple answer is the same as you do at the present. If your child is ill at home please contact the school and let us know that they will not be coming to school for that day. If your child has one of the Covid symptoms then please call 119 and speak to one of the NHS advisors. If your child has a fever at home they will not be allowed back in school for a further 10 days unless they have a negative Covid test. This will probably be the norm; we had one of our pupils who had a temperature at home last week. The parent contacted the school to let us know and has subsequently arranged a Covid test. The child recovered and was much better and the test came back negative. The child was able to restart school the following day.
What do I do if my child is self isolating at home?
If you have been told to keep your child off school because they have either symptoms of or direct contact with someone who has Covid then you must keep your child at home for 14 days. If your child is well they can certainly access their online classroom from your devices at home, similar to lockdown. There are a range of activities including BugClub, Maths programs and many more that your child could do online. They will be able to message the staff but please be aware that if it is only your child who was at home the teacher may not be able to respond quickly as they have a whole class to teach on a daily basis. If you need further advice on this please do contact either myself or Mr Murji at school.
Further information from the Government can be found at on this page -> What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term
What happens if my child's class closes due to a confirmed case.
You and your child will need to self isolate for 14 days. The teaching staff in that class / year group will also need to isolate for 14 days. Assuming that both your child and staff are well the teacher will teach remotely through their ‘Google’ classroom as we did during lockdown. Please make sure that your child knows their login details and passwords.If they have forgotten them please ask them to speak to their classteacher.
What happens if the whole school goes back into lockdown.
Our ‘Google’ classrooms worked very effectively during the initial lockdown. We would revert to this method of teaching. The new Year 3’s have begun to learn how to use the classrooms so hopefully they would just follow the rest of the school.
What can I do to help
Look after your child and try to limit any further exposure to the risks of Covid. Follow the new Rule of 6 and if possible use face masks and social distancing when outside of your own house. If your child is ill please let the school know as soon as possible. If your child has been told they need to self isolate please arrange for them to get a test and let the school know the result.
Try not to worry about it too much. Staff are being very vigilant and cautious as they don’t want to catch it either.
We are constantly updating our procedures and practices. We follow government advice, we listen to other schools and educational leaders and we have detailed discussions amongst the staff on how best to minimise the risks to our pupils, staff and community. We are always willing to listen to new ideas from the parents, e.g. some parents suggested that the waiting time between year groups was too long - we shortened it. Some parents were worried by the number of people outside the school gates - we changed the entry procedure to a more efficient drop and go system. We will listen to any new ideas - please do write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I can’t promise to adopt your idea but I certainly will welcome it and listen to it.