Dear Parents and Carers
As discussed in my previous letter of 2nd January I am confirming that school will be open from Wednesday 6th January 2021. This is a rapidly changing situation and I may well contact you before then to advise differently. As I type this I have received notification that Scotland has announced a lockdown including school closures commencing midnight tonight. You may be aware that our Prime Minister is briefing the nation at 8.00pm today after which everything might change! I did not want to wait to provide you with this information. At a meeting with Headteachers today The Public Health Protection Team have stated that the infection rate per 100,000 is currently 234 (as at 31.12.20) which has risen from 132 (mid December). This rate is considered ‘low incident’ and compares with Tier 4 areas in the south that have a rate of 1500 per 100,000.
I have now (virtually) met with school leaders to review the protocols and restrictions we need to put in place to minimise the potential transmission of the virus. I have also consulted with school staff to establish what we need to put in place to ensure that New York Primary School is as safe an environment as possible. I detail below some of the measures in place but would ask you to note that the area of greatest concern to school staff is the risk posed by families who do not follow the rules both nationally and at school level. This places a significant risk on pupils and parents and ultimately our community. I have also received several emails from parents who voice concerns and in each case state that the actions of families not following the rules is a factor.
The following protocols are in place to ensure our best endeavours to minimise virus transmission and maximise safety for our school community and beyond. Please take them seriously and respect the safety of others.
Parent and carer responsibilities
|Essential Protocol||Rationale||Parent role|
|Arrive to school on time||Minimises crossing bubbles for pupils and staff. Eliminates office staff needing to open gates||Arriving on time for school is a parental responsibility. Be clear of your child's start time and ensure you meet it.|
|Collect your child on time||Minimises crossing bubbles for pupils and staff.||Ensure you are clear about your child's home time and ensure you can meet it.|
|Staggered timings||Different year groups have staggered timings to minimise risk to pupils and staff.|
They are as close as we can get them and they are there for reasons of safety.
|Please do not ask if you can take a child early or late due to a slight difference in timings.
These are unprecedented times and we need to work with what we can.
|Bringing items from home||Pupils may bring packed lunch bags from home which will be wiped down upon entry. Some homework items can be brought in to school but try to resist sending in things from home that are not essential.||We have many protocols to secure items from home including mobile phones, inhalers etc. PE kits should be brought into school on Monday and left in all week please.|
|Eating lunch in classrooms||Several classes have been eating their lunch in class with teachers and support staff.|
This has been a safe pupil protocol throughout the Autumn Term.
|We are extending classroom lunch to additional classes to remove any risk of transmission. Your child might now be eating in a classroom instead of a hall.
This means they will be given food in a box and not a plate and bowl.
|Breaks and Lunchtimes - (in all weather)||All pupils receive regular outdoor breaks and lunchtimes. These are staggered and each class is allocated a rotating zone to access. This will continue.||Superbubbles of 2 x year groups access outdoors at anyone time but the bubbles do not mix and stay in their zone.
Please ensure that your child arrives in school with warm clothing. (Outdoors is the safest place)
|Collecting from school||Staggered timings have not changed.||Please do not arrive too early this can cause congestion.
Please wear a face mask even on the path outside.
Do not socialise with anyone else on the path or on the school yard.
Socially distance 2 metres - spots and stars will guide this. KS2 parents only one adult to collect.
KS2 parents leaving the yard ensure there is a 2 m distance between you and the person in front - even if it means queuing.
|Speaking to staff||Staff are unable to speak to parents at the end of the day.||Please ring the school office and arrange this in advance
Please do not approach staff, they will approach you if they need to speak briefly.
|Breakfast Club||This will continue to operate (depending upon numbers) but strictly for children of Key Workers who need to access their place of work.||Please do not send your child into the Breakfast Club without consent.
Prompt arrival before 8.30 is essential
|After School Clubs||These will continue to operate for the children of Key Workers and remain within a year group bubble.||Please book in advance Please ensure that you collect promptly
Please do not chop and change when you child attends
|Pupils who are symptomatic||If in school we will isolate your child and contact you immediately||Please do not send your child into school if they are symptomatic or have been in contact with anyone who is or is awaiting the results of a test or has tested positive.|
|Remotely learning||Where a pupil is unable to attend school due to isolation or testing positive and is well enough to carry out school work, we will provide remote learning and support you with this.||Please ensure that your child completes home learning and returns it to ensure feedback for teachers. We have various ways to support you with this but it is your responsibility to ensure that you child continues to work from home if unable to attend school.|
Please remember the national Tier 4 restrictions include;
- You must not meet socially with anyone you do not live with unless they are part of your support bubble.
- You cannot be outside your house unless you have a reasonable excuse such as going to work, going to buy or collect food, going for medicine etc.
- Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with
- Wear a mask
Failure to comply with any of the above rules and school protocols places pupils and adults in school at heightened risk.
What else is school doing to minimise risk and maximise safety?
The table below outlines additional in-school protocols.
|Cleaning||Extended cleaning including deep cleans and daily cleaning.||This includes a cleaner based in school throughout the day to clean toilets every 30 minutes, wipe door handles, push boards, tables surfaces and incidental cleaning areas.|
|Reduced use of super bubbles.||Pupils will operate within a year groups bubble only and mainly in class bubbles.||This includes staff not mixing outside their year group bubble. The exception to this is outdoor breaks when 2 bubbles are out but accessing different zones.|
|Classrooms||Highly ventilated with windows and doors open to ensure fresh air.||Coats can be worn if cold and the amount of ventilation can be varied.
Teachers may wear a visor
|Hygiene||Regular handwashing and sanitising throughout the day||This is a routine which will continue and includes equipment.|
|Interventions||Smaller groups not mixing across a bubble||Teacher or support staff to wear a visor.|
|Corridors||Reduce corridor congestions with staggering times for transitions||Some classes to keep coats in classrooms to avoid contact in corridors. Bubbles also have allocated entry and exit points.|
|PPE||School has a plentiful supply of PPE to ensure the safety of pupils and staff.||Additional lightweight visors ordered. All staff requested to wear these.|
|Visitors||Limited visitors permitted into school.||Visitors into school follow visitor protocols and will be in school for the benefit of pupils.|
|Premises have undertaken a Health and Safety Audit and all statutory checks are up to date.||All statutory work undertaken and up to date||Fire evacuation procedures will be tested upon return in January.|
|Inclusion||The protocols listed above are for all pupils.||Where school considers there is an exception, parents will be contacted directly.|
I hope this information is useful to you. I apologise for the length of it but I wanted to provide you with as much information as possible. We have worked and are continuing to work tirelessly to ensure that we provide as safe an environment as possible to minimise risk of virus transmission but we really need our families to support by doing their bit too.
Let’s wait and see what happens at 8.00pm tonight. I might be sending a different letter to you tomorrow!
Mrs J Shaw