As our schools are reopening to all staff and children for the first time since the beginning of the lockdown, we are trying to maintain as high of a level of normalcy as possible, while also making sure that the return to school is safe for all our children, their families, and our staff.
In these FAQs, which will be regularly updated if and when information changes, we will endeavour to answer any questions you may have about the measures in place, our expectations or teachers, pupils, parents, and carers, and any other questions related to the schools reopening that you might have.
Does my child have to attend school?
Yes. Unless there is a serious medical reason for them not to, your child, like every other child, should be attending school from the first day of term for their year group.
Will my child be expected to wear a mask?
The Government revised its guidance in August on face coverings for staff and children. The Government is not recommending face coverings are necessary for children under the age of 12. Schools have been given the discretion to require face coverings in communal areas if they believe that is right for their particular circumstances.
Will wrap around care and after-school clubs still be provided?
Initially, while we all get used to the new measures, we will not be running any wrap around services or after-school clubs until at least October Half Term. However, we understand how important these services are for many families and are working on a way of safely delivering them in the future.
What is expected of pupils and staff in the school?
At our school, we will adhere to the 5 Principles of Public Hygiene and Safety. These are:
- Stay at home if ill or a contact — (more information can be found in questions below)
- Wash your hands! Catch your coughs! — We will strongly encourage all pupils and staff to wash and sanitize their hands regularly and to catch any cough in a tissue that is then disposed of. The best way to keep everyone safe to develop personal hygiene habits.
- Clean! Clean! Clean! — Cleaning regimens are being increased, and during and after each school day shared equipment will be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly.
- Reduce Mixing and Maximise Social Distancing — We will continue to use a bubble system where pupils are kept in separate groups. Between lessons we will also ensure that children are kept socially distanced from members of different bubbles using staggered drop off, pick up and break times. Children will be reminded regularly to keep their distances from other children and adults.
- Engage with Test and Trace — All pupils and their families are asked to engage with the NHS Test and Trace process. As a school we are also well prepared to engage with the process.
What measures are being put in place in the school?
A full list of measures, and risk assessment can be found in the COVID-19 School Operation Plan in the school information – Policies and Procedures section on the school website.
Included among these measures are:
- Additional hand sanitiser being available throughout school.
- Regular handwashing timetabled into the school day.
- The continued implementation of a bubble system where pupils are kept in contained groups.
- Increased cleaning regimes at the school and the disinfection of equipment and surfaces used after each school day.
- The enforcement of social distancing for staff and pupils in all communal spaces in the school.
The full set of measures have been explained and demonstrated to staff and have been made clear to each pupil upon their return.
Will cleaning personnel be provided with PPE?
Yes, disposable gloves, aprons and a face shield are provided for cleaning staff to wear.
What will be done if we suspect an adult or child is showing symptoms?
If a member of staff or pupil has symptoms, they must self-isolate and arrange to be tested. If they test positive, contacts, for example, those in the same bubble at school, should then also self isolate for 14 days and arrange for a test.
If you are a contact, you will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace. We ask that all our school families and staff engage with the NHS Test and Trace process.
What will be done if there is an outbreak at the school?
While we believe that the measures being put in place will significantly reduce the chance of an outbreak occurring, if this does happen, we will contact the regional Public Health England team (Dorset) and will follow their advice regarding the next steps to take.
What will be done if there is a local outbreak in the region?
The School will work with the Local Authority to make sure that we are an important part of Local Outbreak Management Plans should they need to be implemented.
Are children less likely to catch COVID-19?
Children seem to be less likely to be infected and are usually less seriously affected. However, children can still often be infected and any child who experiences COVID-19 symptoms must self-isolate with their household and should be tested.
Will parents and family members be permitted into the school?
No. Parents are permitted to drop their children off at school at the school gates, where a member of staff will greet the children. We ask that parents, carers and grandparents remain socially distanced when dropping children off and picking them up and not enter the school site itself in order to maintain social distancing.
Should I change the way my child is transported to school?
We encourage all families to come to school in one-household groups and, if at all possible, walk or cycle to school. For those for whom alternative means of transport has to be arranged, such as a taxi service, you will be contacted directly by the school and we have been working with the Local Authority to ensure that this is done as safely as possible.
Is the school prepared for the likelihood of a winter flu epidemic?
While flu cases will likely increase as we move into winter, in order to minimise any risks, we ask that every symptom that could be COVID-related be treated as such.
If my child has to self-isolate, will the school provide home-learning resources?
In this case, your child’s teacher will endeavour to provide home learning resources so that your child does not fall behind. However, due to the high demands of capacity, we will not be providing the same level of home-learning resources available during the pre-summer lockdown period. Access to Microsoft class Teams will continue to be in place to aid communication between school and home. If an entire class bubble has to isolate the teacher will set work for the class on Microsoft Teams, this may include links to Oak Academy resources
I believe my child to be at risk or vulnerable — What should I do?
While we expect every child to return unless there is a serious medical reason for them not to, if you believe your child to be vulnerable, please contact the school and we will provide what support we can.
My child has PE, should they be changing in and out of their kit at school?
If your child has a PE session, we ask that they come to school wearing PE kit and remain in PE kit until they go home. They should arrive in PE kit appropriate for the weather that day. A full list of PE sessions will be provided by each class teacher.
How do I contact my child’s class teacher?
The class teachers can be contacted via email on the class email addresses, or via the school office by email or phone call.