I am writing to let you know about potential arrangements for the return to school. At the moment we have been asked to open school for Nursery, Reception, Years 1 and 6. We anticipate this will start with one year group and then we will gradually welcome back the other year groups. It will be a carefully planned and phased return.
As you know, the plan is to start this process on 1st June, if the conditions are right to do so. The government has produced guidance for schools, which we will follow carefully.
Children will be split into groups of no more than 15 and will stay together with that group throughout the time in school. The groups will not mix with other groups so there will be separate entrances/exits, toilets, playtimes and lunch arrangements. In addition, we will be operating on a 4 day week to allow for additional cleaning, and to give staff planning time, without requiring additional adults.
There will not be access to breakfast club/after school club provision at this time although we will keep this under review.
There are additional expectations in terms of the cleaning regime, handwashing, not sharing equipment and so on. School are putting plans in place so we can adhere to this strictly.
How will you minimise the risk to my child?
The government say that no more than 15 children are allowed in any room at any time. They should be with 1 teacher (and 1 TA, if needed). We anticipate that numbers would need to be lower in some classrooms due to the physical size of the rooms (within our school classroom sizes vary). The guidance states that groups of children must NOT mix together or come into contact. This will mean that we will need to stagger breaks, potentially stagger drop off and pick up times and develop systems for toileting. Lunch would have to be eaten in classrooms. We would not anticipate school operating as it did before lockdown. Classes will be led by teachers and teaching assistants and children will not necessarily have their usual class teacher or teaching assistant.
We will not be able to operate at full staffing capacity for a number of reasons. Therefore any possible opening on June 1st will require careful planning to ensure the safety of both children and staff. We can only offer what we can facilitate.
Is there an expectation that PPE be in use in school?
The guidance is clear that PPE should not be worn in school by staff or pupils. However we may have to consider staff wearing them for administering intimate care (i.e. should they need to change a child) or administering first aid.
What if my child is clinically vulnerable or a member of our family is?
They should not attend school.
What will happen if I refuse to send my child in?
The short answer is nothing. Whilst attendance registers will need to be completed, schools will not be held to account and parents across England will not be fined. We will do everything we can, as we have done already, to ensure the school is as safe as it can be given the constraints of the building, systems for hygiene and public health are followed whilst having the emotional health and well-being of the children and staff at the forefront of what we do. We will fully respect parent’s decisions.
Thank you for your anticipated support, as this is incredibly difficult for our school community and our focus must be on the safety of all concerned. We will be in touch with further details next week.
Initially, it would be useful if you could indicate if you intend to send your child to school. I would be grateful if you could provide that response as soon as possible, and at the latest by the end of the day tomorrow (Friday 15th May) to enable us to undertake more detailed planning.
Please send all replies to the admin email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mrs S. Bayliff