Thursday 21st May
I am contacting you to let you know about the plans for a phased returning to school for certain year groups. It is important to note that these plans are still being finalised and the contents of this letter describe some of the important steps we plan to take in school for a safe return for our staff and pupils in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6.
Much can still change with these plans. There will be an announcement on the 28th of May from the government about the scientific evidence that backs a return to school and if that is positive, our return to school plans will be put into place.
Overall responsibility for the plan
The Trust board of the Galileo Multi Academy Trust have ultimately responsibility for the return to school plan. They expect all schools within the trust to have a common risk assessment that ensures that risks can be minimised as much as possible and the pupils and staff can return safely.
Due to the different nature of schools within the Trust, there will be some difference between returning, with each school deciding on the safest and most appropriate approach for its own staff and its own pupils.
Phased return of Year Groups
After considering our return to school, I intend to return the following groups on the following dates.
|Year Group||Date of return to school|
|Year 6||1st June 2020|
|Year 1||4th June 2020|
|Reception||8th June 2020|
|Nursery||11th June 2020|
The reasons for returning on these dates will be to ensure that the systems in place around school can safely handle an increased number of pupils, as well as ensuring that social distancing, school meals and cleaning can take place safely with the selected groups.
Although we are still establishing the exact number of pupils in school for the safe return, we have planned for all pupils in the nominated classes to return to school and have plans in place to do this safely. From the 1st June, I do expect less pupils to be in the groups than the maximum planned for.
|Class||Staff||Classroom||Max pupils||Estimated pupils*|
|Key worker Group||KA, LB, NB and MH||Miss Allen’s Y4 classroom||15||10-15|
|Year 6 SR||SR, BM, CP||Mrs Rule’s Y6 classroom||15||7-10|
|Year 6 KL||KL, AC, HW||Mrs Campbell’s Y5 classroom||15||7-10|
|Year 1||RP, LM, KS, LP, HW||Mrs Smith and Mrs Park’s Y1 classroom||15||8-11|
|Reception||JD, KM, JM, JG||Mrs Dent’s Y2 classroom||15||8-11|
|Nursery||AL, VL, ZB, JK, RS||Miss Dixon’s nursery||15||8-11|
|*All estimates are based on initial survey results and will be much more accurate after the second survey on Monday the 25th May.|
All classes will be kept separate from other classes. Due to the social distancing guidelines, pupils will maintain social distancing in class, with classroom furniture, resources and activities arranged so that contact between pupils in each class is minimised.
Classes will not mix and staff in classes will only teach their allocated pupils. Playtimes and lunchtimes will be organised on a rota basis so that pupils can still take part in a range of activities within school, but with the risk of coming into contact with other pupils and staff minimised as much as possible.
Within class, there will be set routines throughout the day to remind pupils about social distancing, handwashing and class systems to ensure that pupils know how to keep their bubble as safe as possible.
If numbers within any class group exceed 15, there will be a need to create a new bubble for the new pupils to join.
Nursery, reception and Year 1 classes will have their own toilets. Within the keyworker group and year 6 using the existing toilets in key stage 2.
Each class will have their own cloakroom area. At this stage we recommend that the only thing pupils bring to and take from school will be a water bottle, packed lunch, if applicable, and a coat.
One way systems in and around school
To minimise the risk of pupils and staff coming in close proximity to each other, there will be a one way system used around school to ensure that pupils and staff do not pass too closely in our narrow corridors. Pupils will be told about the one way systems on a daily basis, with signage and markings used around school to indicate one way routes.
Daily drop off and pick up
A one way system will be used with the class groups to drop pupils off and pick children up. Parents of pupils coming into nursery, reception and Year 1 will enter school via the Blossom Tree Nursery gate. They will walk into the nursery playground and then into the KS1 playground. Pupils will then head into their classroom. Parents will then leave via the KS1 playground gate and leave the school premises via the school car park. Whilst on the school premises, parents and carers will have to maintain a appropriate social distance of at least 2 metres.
Keyworker pupils and Year 6 pupils will enter via the main school gate and will enter their classrooms via their classroom doors. Parents will then leave the school premises via the school car park.
We recommend that only one parent comes into school to drop pupils off.
If parents have no alternative but to bring a buggy or push chair into school when dropping pupils off, they need to enter school via the main entrance and walk around the perimeter of the via the KS2 classrooms until they reach the nursery playground. After dropping their child/children off they will then leave the school via the KS1 playground gate and car park.
To help assist parents with the new ways to enter school, there will be staff present at school entrances to point pupils and parents in the right direction, as well as footmarks on the floor to show the route.
To help support a safe, socially distanced entry and exit from school, there will be a staggered entry and exit time. This will prevent a large build up of parents and pupil on the school grounds and will also allow anyone on the school site to exit with a reduced risk of coming into contact with someone else.
|Class||Entry point||Entry time||Exit time|
|Key workers||Main gate||8:40am||3:10pm|
|Y6 KL||Main gate||8:30am||3:00pm|
|Y6 SR||Main gate||8:30am||3:00pm|
Cleanliness and hygiene in school.
Maintaining effective handwashing techniques is the most effective way to keep pupils and staff safe in school. This coupled with a range of other strategies and very important steps to keeping our pupils and our staff safe.
To help assist with this the school will use the following techniques:
- minimising contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend childcare settings, schools or colleges
- cleaning hands more often than usual – wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered
- ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
- cleaning frequently touched surfaces often using standard products, such as detergents and bleach
- minimising contact and mixing by altering, as much as possible, the environment (such as classroom layout) and timetables (such as staggered break times)
School will continue to be cleaned on a daily basis by our cleaning team, with pupils always entering a classroom that has had its door handles and surfaces cleaned, carpets hovered and any waste removed.
Throughout the day, the staff in the classroom will also provide addition cleaning or surfaces and any resources used by the class.
School will close at 12:30pm every Friday for a deep clean of the whole school prior to the return of the classes the following week. This means that on a Friday, pupils will need to be collected at the following times.
Friday pick up times
|Class||Entry point||Entry time||Exit time|
|Key workers||Main gate||8:40am||12:25pm|
|Y6 KL||Main gate||8:30am||12:15pm|
|Y6 SR||Main gate||8:30am||12:15pm|
Upon our initial return, pupils in receipt of free school meals, as well as pupils in reception and year 1 who receive universal free school meals, will received a packed lunch from school. This will allow classes to either eat their pack lunch in classrooms or outside if the weather permits.
Year 2 pupils in the key worker group will also receive a packed lunch, as well as year 6 pupils in receipt of free school meals.
Routines in case of illness
Within school there will be a stringent monitoring of pupils and staff health to ensure that any risk of illness spreading in school is reduced as much as possible. The school will deal with most issues such as slips and trips in a normal manner, but if anyone presents with issues such as a sore throat, sickness or diarrhoea, or headache. Parents will be contacted and the pupil sent home. Parents will be asked to monitor the pupils and as long as the pupil does not present with any further illness or does not develop a high temperature, a new and persistent cough or issues to do with taste or smell, they can return to school when they are feeling better.
If a child is awaiting collection, they will be accompanied by one of the members of staff in the class, maintaining a 2 metre distance, to the meeting room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, with appropriate adult supervision.
If a child or member of staff has coronavirus symptoms, they must go for a coronavirus test, which can be booked at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested.
During this time, while waiting for the results of the test, the pupil must isolate for 7 days, with the household isolating for 14 days. Where the child or member of staff tests negative, they can return to their setting and their fellow household members can end their self-isolation.
Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive, the rest of their class or group within their childcare or education setting will be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The other household members of that wider class or group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.
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 the school and other settings on the most appropriate action to take. In some cases a larger number of other children, and staff 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.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
As a school we are taking every precaution necessary to ensure that pupils and staff can return to school safely. Guidance from the DfE has stated that schools do not need to wear PPE such as face masks and aprons when dealing with children within the classroom. The only time staff will use PPE in school is when a pupil presents with an illness.
As I think that the precautions we are taking will support a safe return to school, pupils will not need to wear gloves, face masks or aprons when they are in school.
When our pupils return, we know that the school will seem slightly different to them. The classes have been rearranged to accommodate a smaller number of children and there will be new ways of entering and leaving school.
Within classes there is the possibility that pupils will not be with their usual teacher or their friendship group. All of these issues will impact on the mental well being of our pupils With this in mind, staff will be concentrating on making sure that the mental wellbeing of all of our returning pupils is focussed upon. There will be exiting, fun activities for pupils to take part in, but they will happen in different ways. All staff have been working incredibly hard to ensure that when our pupils get back to school, although the setting looks different, the focus on enjoying our time at school and engaging in interesting, relevant learning activities is still there.
Our next steps as a school are to continue to prepare for a phased return of our pupils, making sure that our classrooms and school areas are clean and can provide a safe working area for pupils and staff. Please be aware that it will not be until after our second survey that we will have a more precise figure for the number of children attending school and this could affect classes, as well as entry and exit times. A final confirmation about the school start on the 1st of June, or subsequent dates after that, will be sent to parents on the 29th May.
On Monday the 25th of May a second survey will be sent out to parents, asking them if they intend to send their child/children into school. This will allow school to know how many pupils will be in school and how best to support them. If parents indicate no in this survey, their child/children will not be able to attend school on the 1st of June and at least 48 hours notice must be given before any admission can be provided.
As head teacher of New Marske Primary School I do think school it is safe for a phased return of our pupils in the stages outlined in this letter. Although no organisation can reduce every risk regarding coronavirus, I know that the steps taken in our risk assessment will significantly reduce any risk to our pupil and our staff.
If any parent has any questions regarding school opening and how we are planning to keep our pupils and staff safe, please contact school via the email@example.com email address or via 01642 486392. This telephone will be available between the hours of 9am – 5pm over the bank holiday weekend and during normal school hours next week.