Re-opening Our School Safely
Re-opening School to all Dean Valley Pupils
The past 6 months have been very strange. We are so pleased to be opening Dean Valley Community Primary School to all of our pupils – it feels much more like a school again now which is fabulous!
I am so incredibly proud of how our school community has pulled together – staff, parents and children to ensure that we have been able to return safely. No matter how difficult it has been each of our families have done as much as they can, taking on teaching jobs without having applied for them and working with us to support learning over the lockdown period. Lots of the home learning resources are still on the Home learning section of the website so please dip in and out of them where you feel appropriate. The support shown by all parents has been incredible and we cannot thank you enough.
The next stage of our response to the pandemic has been to re-open to all classes and our Dean Valley family have responded in the way we knew they would; with complete dedication, resilience, care and kindness to everyone in our school community.
It is important to note that the government continues to provide guidance that schools are using to but please remember each school may have to use this slightly differently depending on their building and space.
The DfE has published a guide to parents and carers about the planned re-opening of schools which can be accessed clicking here.
There are numerous common questions that I am sure every parent/carer has considered since the government announced the plans to re-open schools. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if there is something I haven’t answered though.
What does the guidance say about the transmission of the virus in schools?
- It is important to remember that COVID-19 hasn’t been in existence for long and the scientific data is not completely robust and is changing as the scientific community finds out more about the virus.
- However, DfE guidance is based on the following scientific principles:
- The rate of transmission of the virus is very low between children; especially children under the age of 6.
- Children are less likely to pass the virus from one child to another child or a child to an adult.
- Adults are more likely to pass the virus to other adults and this will need to be factored into the planning.
- It is thought to take at least 15 minutes of close contact with an infected person for the virus to pass to another person.
- The virus can last for up to 6 days on surfaces. Additional cleaning is essential to ensure that any places in which the virus can live are significantly reduced.
- When planning for the re-opening of our school, safety planning will be based on the current and changing scientific principles and will be under constant review.
Will you be able to socially distance our children?
- I feel it is still important to be clear that social distancing of children is impossible in schools – children are like magnets, simply drawn to each other!
- Children naturally gravitate towards each other, the impact of enforcing children to stay away from each other would be detrimental to their mental health and well-being.
- Instead, our plans will be focused on promoting social distancing where appropriate and we are able to do this and good hygiene routines – handwashing, sanitising hands and cleaning routines.
- We aim to do this by altering the classroom layouts – tables facing forwards and in rows, making sure that children have access to a set of personal school equipment – all children have a new pencil case filled with all the equipment they will need in the day, cleaning routines and quarantine stations for resources which may need to be shared or are used by more than one class and staggering play and lunchtimes.
- We will also be working hard to socially distance ‘class bubbles’ from other ‘class bubbles’ throughout the day. We have made ‘Super bubbles’ to help with playtime, lunchtime, school trips and Club@Dean Valley.
- Here are some video clips/songs that may help explain social distancing to younger children
Will my child be in their normal class with their teacher when they return?
- Yes they will. Classes will be kept together as a class bubble with their teacher and the Teaching Assistant associated with the class. Some classes may have Teaching Assistants who will cross between a ‘class bubble’ this is risk assessed and monitored carefully.
- Each class will arrive at school and enter the school immediately through designated doors. They will also have different playtimes and lunchtimes.
What will my child eat for lunch?
- A brand new menu will be on offer (see the website and newsletter) Mrs MacKenzie has worked hard to create a menu that can be served and eaten with cutlery rather than eaten from a hot bag. BBQ Chicken, Lasagne and garlic bread, Stew, jacket potatoes and tuna melt paninis are just some of the lunches on offer.
- Parents are free to provide a packed lunch for their child, lunchboxes can be brought into school but must be kept safely on the shelf in the cloakroom and taken home each day.
What will my child be taught?
- We want to offer as broad a curriculum possible in school throughout the Autumn term and have worked on our Recapture Learning curriculum in order to make sure that children get the best education we can offer.
- PSHCE including mental wellbeing
- Reading, Writing, Maths will be covered every week and will pick up from where learning finished in the classroom back in March.
- Every class will have a Forest School session each week.
- Physical Education and Religious Education
- We will be carefully assessing the children upon their full return in September once they have settled into the new routines and are back at home in their learning environment. Tailored support will be based on their individual needs.
Will my child be required to wear uniform?
- Yes, they will need to have school shoes for inside and either trainers (can be old ones, wellies or boots for playtime and lunchtime).
- Your child’s class teacher will let you know when PE, we would ask that they wear their PE kit on this day to school with their school shoes and that they bring trainers in a plastic bag. This way they can wear school shoes in school and trainers outside.
- Please make sure your child has a coat as they will go outside for playtime and lunchtime wherever possible and PE lessons will remain outside for the majority of the term.
- Clothes should be changed as soon as the children get home and kept clean.
Where will I drop off and pick up my child and how will I know?
- Each year group has a designated drop off and pick up point in school at their class door.
- Signs will direct the flow of adults on the site, this will be a one-way system entering through the gate by the car park, moving on through the double gates (by the hall) and onto the playground.
- Only one adult will be permitted to drop off or pick up their child in school.
- Unfortunately, no parents will be allowed in the school building as this will increase the risk of cross-contamination. Visitors to school will remain only those essential to our children’s needs.
- Our school will organise a staggered drop off and collection time for pupils. Pupils with surname A-E will be dropped between 8:40 and 8:50, F-P 8:50 – 9:00 and 0-Z 9:00 – 9:10. Collection A-E will be 3:15, F-P – 3:20 and O-Z- 3:25.
Will before and after school clubs be able to open?
- Booking will be online through our new parent mail app.
- Due to space and staff in order to provide club wrap around care in the morning and afternoon we will have to use ‘super bubbles’. Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 will be kept together, Year 3 and 4 and Year 5 and 6. The bubbles will be social distanced as much as possible within the spaces they use.
How will you keep Dean Valley clean once all children come back?
- The cleaning of our school will remain at an increased level to cope with the demands of ensuring that we promote as safe a ‘COVID Secure’ environment as we possibly can.
- Mr Rowley (Site Manager), Mrs Turner and Mrs Morgan will be on hand throughout the day to ensure our school is super clean. Their job will be to ensure that our toilets and communal areas are kept clean and they will also be cleaning the spaces our children will occupy during the day. Each bubble will also be provided with cleaning materials (stored safely) to ensure the regular cleaning of surfaces between usage.
- At the end of each day and every time an indoor space is used by a different group of children, the learning space will be cleaned by our cleaning team.
How will you promote additional handwashing and personal hygiene?
- As soon as the children come into school, they will need to wash their hands with soap and water.
- Regular handwashing sessions are part and parcel of the school day for all children and we have provided non-alcohol hand sanitiser stations for use throughout the day for children and adults.
- Hand sanitiser stations will also be found on the way in to school for parents and children to use
- Hand wash stations will also be set up outside for lunchtime and for forest school teaching
Will my child need to wear a mask?
- Your child is not required or encouraged to wear a mask and data suggests that using a mask could increase the chances of passing on the virus, especially in children as it promotes people touching their faces more often.
- Instead, we will be promoting excellent respiratory hygiene.
- Our children will be taught ways we can ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’.
- We have purchased new bins for classrooms with push pedal opening and these will be emptied throughout the day.
Will the adults in school wear masks or other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE)?
- Adults in school will not routinely wear masks or other forms of PPE when in school.
- There will be times when we will insist that PPE will be worn by staff and these are shared below:
- Anytime an adult is required to be close contact with your child including administering first aid or providing personal care.
- When a pupil or adult displays symptoms of the COVID-19.
- Our children will be taught what PPE means and that is there to protect everyone in the school. This will become a normal part of school life until the virus threat has gone.
Does my child have to come to school?
- Yes, from September 2020, attendance for all pupils is compulsory and we will be following our standard attendance management policies.
Will extra-curricular clubs run (AT Sports, football club, netball club etc)?
- Unfortunately, we will not be able to allow clubs this half term as they mix too many class bubbles and staff. We will review this for the Autumn term and let parents know when we feel this may be a possibility again for our children.
Will the school office be open?
- Yes, the office will be open every day. Where possible I would ask that parents ring/email the school as opposed to presenting in person. There is a letterbox in the door in the main office if you need to drop anything off for the office. Please use the intercom if you do need to speak to a member of staff in the office and they will do all they can to help.
- Where possible we would prefer not to deal with cash in the office, if you can pay by parent mail or cheque this would be preferred. If you do need to use cash please could this be handed in inside a clearly labelled envelope and be the correct money.
What will happen if a child in the class shows symptoms?
We will follow the Government guidelines set out below.
- If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in an education setting, they must be sent home and advised to follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection guidance including accessing a test.
- Whilst a child is awaiting collection, they will be moved to our isolation room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, with an appropriate adult. The windows will be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, the child will be moved to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.
- If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else. PPE will be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs).
- If a member of staff has helped someone who was unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves (and in which case, a test is available) or the child subsequently tests positive (see ‘What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in a setting?’ below). They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell. Cleaning the affected area with normal household disinfectant after someone with symptoms has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people. See the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance.
What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in school?
We will follow the Government guidance set out below.
- When a child, young person or staff member develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus, they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days. All staff and students who are attending an education or childcare setting will need to have a test test if they display symptoms of coronavirus.
- Where the child, young person or staff member tests negative, they can return to their setting and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation.
- Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive, the school will speak to the LA and liase with Public Health England and will be guided as to what they need to do.
- As part of the national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected within the cohort or in the wider setting, Public Health England’s local health protection teams will conduct a rapid investigation and will advise schools and other settings on the most appropriate action to take. In some cases, a larger number of other children, young people may be asked to self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole class, site or year group. Where settings are observing guidance on infection prevention and control, which will reduce risk of transmission, closure of the whole setting will not generally be necessary.
Will the school take my child’s temperature every day?
- No, but we may use a non-invasive thermometer if we suspect a child of having symptoms.
What if another child ‘coughs’ deliberately in someone else’s face or spits?
- School will take this very seriously and it will be classed as an assault. We will explain to the child the dangers and consequences of these actions. Parents will be telephoned and may have to come and collect their child.
How can I speak to the class teacher if we are socially distancing?
- You can contact your child’s class teacher by sending a message to them through the Dojo or by emailing the office who will then pass the message on. You can catch them at the door at drop off or collection, the school is still operating its open door policy but it will be at the door and socially distanced wherever possible.
What should my child bring to school each day?
- Their lunch if they are bringing a packed lunch from home.
- Water bottle – this is important and should be clearly named, water fountains in school are all out of use.
- Please do not bring rucksacks or book bags unless it is your day to change books.
est will do!