I am writing to outline our plans for a return to school after the summer holiday. School will reopen to all pupils from Monday 7th September. We are looking forward to welcoming all the children back to school from our current year R and year 1 cohorts. Our new Year R cohort will begin their school life with us too and we look forward to welcoming them into Townhill Infants after the summer. Please can I take this opportunity to wish all of our current Year 2 cohort good luck at their new junior schools.
Firstly, can I reassure you that we have undertaken a rigorous risk assessment to ensure that we have considered all the factors within the new guidelines to minimise the risk to children and staff. I think it is important to state, as the government have reiterated, that in whatever we do there is always going to be an element of risk. This is true in any situation including the current one with COVID 19. As always, our priority is the health and well-being of our children and staff which is why we have completed a very detailed risk assessment.
The children will be in ‘bubbles’ which means that they will be in a group of no more than 30 children in a classroom. They will remain with this group for the whole day. During the first week, in their class, we will be carrying out a range of assessments as this will give us a clear baseline to plan the next learning steps for all the children. After this we will using our rapid catch up plan. This will enable us to deliver a differentiated catch up plan based on the needs of the children, pitching the learning at an appropriate pace and level. For example, accelerating at a faster pace for those children who need it and a more repetitive pace for those children who may need more overlearning to embed the required skills and knowledge. As part of this we will be offering Nurture provision in Year 1 and 2 all day to support those children who need further support and differentiation.
During this first half of the Autumn term we will be focusing our teaching and learning on the core subjects; reading, writing, phonics and Maths. We will also be undertaking some bespoke SMSC learning taking into account the children’s emotional wellbeing. We hope this will support your child on returning to school after a significant period of not being able to attend our educational setting. PE lessons will continue as normal.
After half term we will resume our normal broad and balanced curriculum ensuring the children have a wide range of opportunities in all subjects.
There will be staggered arrival and collection times for each group of children. This will help support social distancing. There will be a one-way system in operation. We will be operating a ‘drop and go’ approach so parents will need to say goodbye to their children outside their classroom. At this current time we will not be operating an open door system with parents coming into the classrooms in the morning. We would kindly ask that only 1 parent per child for drop off and collection please. Please can you only come onto the school site when it is time for your child to come to school and leave as promptly as you can, as we are trying to minimise the possibility of having groups of parents on site. When you are waiting for your child could we kindly ask that you maintain social distancing from other parents, as again this will minimise any potential risks.Thank you for your co-operation with this.
Year R- Arrival to start school -8.55 (register will close at 9.05) Pick up time for the end of school 3pm
Year R Parents will enter through the main school gate then continue to your child’s outside classroom door.The children in Miss Ketts class will need to come in through the large green gates in the year R block. Staff will be there to guide parents to the right place. At 8.55 the teacher and TA will open the door and welcome your child into school. Parents will say goodbye and your child will go into their class. Parents will then follow the one way system and exit using the same gate. Collection of children will be in reverse so children will exit through their outside door/green gate and parents will collect their child from here. Please enter through the Main school gate to wait to collect your child.
Year 1- Arrival to start school - 8.55 (register will close at 9.05) Pick up time for the end of school 3pm
Year 1 Parents will enter through the main school gate. If your child is in Miss Drury’s class they will come in through the main office door so please wait outside the office where the picnic benches are. If your child is in Mr Riley’s class they will come into school via the back door near the kitchen so please wait along the path near the car park. Staff will be there to guide parents to the right place. At 8.55 the teacher and TA will open the door and welcome your child into school. Parents will say goodbye and your child will go into their class. Parents will then follow the one way system and exit using the main school gate. Please enter through the main gate to wait to collect your child from the same place that you dropped them off.
Year 2- Arrival to start school -8.45 (register will close at 8.55) Pick up time for the end of school 2.50pm
Year 2 Parents will enter through the main school gate then continue to your child’s outside class door (Holly Blue or Red admiral). At 8.45 the teacher and TA will open the door and welcome your child into school. Parents will say goodbye and your child will go into their class. Parents will then follow the one way system and exit using the same gate. Collection of children will be in reverse so children will exit through their outside door and parents will collect their child from here. Please enter through the main school gate to wait to collect your child from their class’s outside door.
We are currently reviewing arrangements for those children who are siblings in different year groups to see if we need to a plan specific entry and exit system and will advise you of this by the end of term. Please contact school if you wish to discuss this further if the drop off and collection times are going to cause a problem for you. We have tried to keep this to our normal school day as much as possible, as I know that this is part of how parents plan the other commitments they have, for example work.
The children will have their own designated chair and table space in their classroom. The layout of the classrooms will support social distancing so that the children will be able to sit with other children on a table in a safe manner. In the new guidelines the need to maintain social distancing is less prevalent and it recognises that for younger children this is a challenge. However to minimise the risk we will ensure that the children are working within a safe zone and minimise their face to face contact inside as much as we can.
Each group of children will be using a designated toilet and sink as this will support social distancing with other groups of children who are not in their bubble. During the first half of the Autumn term we will not be operating boys and girls toilets so that we can give each bubble their own set of toilets and sinks. We will ensure that privacy is maintained for the children, for example all the boys using the toilet then the girls and an adult will oversee them whilst they are in there. Children will only be able to use the toilets at set times of the day for both going to the toilet and to ensure there is regular handwashing ( these are planned regularly throughout the day). If the children need the toilet at any other time they will be accompanied by an adult to ensure they use their group’s toilet and sink.
On entry to school, children must either wash their hands for 20 seconds or under adult supervision use hand sanitiser which the school will provide. This will be repeated at regular intervals throughout the day- on entry, after play, before and after lunch. There will be hand sanitiser in each class room as well as anti-viral spray for surfaces to be regularly cleaned.
The playground has been divided into zones so that each ‘bubble’ of children will have their own zone to play in, again to maintain social distancing from other bubbles of children.
Playtime for Year R will be at 10.15- 10.30
Playtime for year 1 will be 10.30-10.45
Playtime for year 2 will be 10.45-11.00
We will be operating a staggered lunch break. This will mean year groups will be eating their lunch at different times. We will be returning to eating in the hall as we can space the bubbles out on separate tables. This also means we can offer a full hot lunch menu each day. Children can still bring a packed lunch if they would prefer.
Lunch will be served in 2 sittings;
Year R and Mr Riley’s class- 11.45
Year 2 and Miss Drury’s class -12.25
Dinner staff will be in from 12.00-1.00 to supervise the children outside. At lunchtimes we will have 4 classes eating their dinner whilst the other 4 classes are having outside play, then they will swap over as per the times above. At lunchtimes year 1 classes will have lunch play at the back of Yellow Brimstone utilising the artificial grass area/ the paved area and the Trim trail. All children will return to class to begin learning at 1.00.
We will resume sending reading books home at least once a week however this will not include a shared story book for the foreseeable future. This is because all books being returned to school will need to be cleaned as per the guidance to minimise the risk of cross contamination.
We are currently investigating a number of online reading book options as well that we may utilise when sending reading home for the children. We will send more information on this when we have made a decision.
Suspected COVID infection
I have copied the guidance given in the latest update that I have received on the re-opening of schools in September:
If anyone in the school becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), they must be sent home and advised to follow ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’, which sets out that they must self-isolate for at least 7 days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19). Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms.
If a child is awaiting collection, they should be moved, if possible, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age and needs of the child, with appropriate adult supervision if required. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, move them 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 must be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else. PPE must 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). More information on PPE use can be found in the safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance.
Anyone with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms should not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital. Any members of staff who have helped someone with symptoms and any pupils who have been in close contact with them do not need to go home to self-isolate unless they develop symptoms themselves (in which case, they should arrange a test) or if the symptomatic person subsequently tests positive (see below) or they have been requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace. Everyone must wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and running water or use hand sanitiser after any contact with someone who is unwell. The area around the person with symptoms must be cleaned with normal household bleach after they have left to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people. See the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance.
Public Health England is clear that routinely taking the temperature of pupils is not recommended as this is an unreliable method for identifying coronavirus (COVID-19).
Schools must ensure they understand the NHS Test and Trace process and how to contact their local Public Health England health protection team.
Schools must ensure that staff members and parents/carers understand that they will need to be ready and willing to: book a test if they are displaying symptoms. Staff and pupils must not come into the school if they have symptoms, and must be sent home to self-isolate if they develop them in school. All children can be tested, including children under 5, but children aged 11 and under will need to be helped by their parents/carers if using a home testing kit
provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with if they were to test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or if asked by NHS Test and Trace
self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who develops coronavirus (COVID19) symptoms or someone who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) Anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can and should get a test. Tests can be booked online through the NHS testing and tracing for coronavirus website, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the internet. Essential workers, which includes anyone involved in education or childcare, have priority access to testing.
Schools should ask parents and staff to inform them immediately of the results of a test:
if someone tests negative, if they feel well and no longer have symptoms similar to coronavirus (COVID-19), they can stop self-isolating. They could still have another virus, such as a cold or flu – in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people until they are better. Other members of their household can stop self-isolating.
if someone tests positive, they should follow the ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’ and must continue to self-isolate for at least 7 days from the onset of their symptoms and then return to school only if they do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste. This is because a cough or anosmia can last for several weeks once the infection has gone. The 7-day period starts from the day when they first became ill. If they still have a high temperature, they should keep self-isolating until their temperature returns to normal. Other members of their household should continue self-isolating for the full 14 days. Schools must take swift action when they become aware that someone who has attended has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). Schools should contact the local health protection team. This team will also contact schools directly if they become aware that someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) attended the school – as identified by NHS Test and Trace. The health protection team will carry out a rapid risk assessment to confirm who has been in close contact with the person during the period that they were infectious, and ensure they are asked to self isolate. The health protection team will work with schools in this situation to guide them through the actions they need to take. Based on the advice from the health protection team, schools must send home those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive, advising them to self-isolate for 14 days since they were last in close contact with that person when they were infectious. Close contact means:
direct close contacts - face to face contact with an infected individual for any length of time, within 1 metre, including being coughed on, a face to face conversation, or unprotected physical contact (skin-to-skin)
proximity contacts - extended close contact (within 1 to 2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with an infected individual travelling in a small vehicle, like a car, with an infected person
The health protection team will provide definitive advice on who must be sent home. To support them in doing so, we recommend schools keep a record of pupils and staff in each group, and any close contact that takes places between children and staff in different groups (see section 5 of system of control for more on grouping pupils). This should be a proportionate recording process. Schools do not need to ask pupils to record everyone they have spent time with each day or ask staff to keep definitive records in a way that is overly burdensome. A template letter will be provided to schools, on the advice of the health protection team, to send to parents and staff if needed. Schools must not share the names or details of people with coronavirus (COVID-19) unless essential to protect others. Household members of those contacts who are sent home do not need to self-isolate themselves unless the child, young person or staff member who is self-isolating subsequently develops symptoms.
If someone in a class or group that has been asked to self-isolate develops symptoms themselves within their 14-day isolation period they should follow ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’. They should get a test, and:
if the test delivers a negative result, they must remain in isolation for the remainder of the 14-day isolation period. This is because they could still develop the coronavirus (COVID-19) within the remaining days.
if the test result is positive, they should inform their setting immediately, and must isolate for at least 7 days from the onset of their symptoms (which could mean the self-isolation ends before or after the original 14-day isolation period). Their household should self-isolate for at least 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms, following ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’
If schools have two or more confirmed cases within 14 days, or an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected, they may have an outbreak, and must continue to work with their local health protection team who will be able to advise if additional action is required. In some cases, health protection teams may recommend that a larger number of other pupils self isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole site or year group.
If schools are implementing controls from this list, addressing the risks they have identified and therefore reducing transmission risks, whole school closure based on cases within the school will not generally be necessary, and should not be considered except on the advice of health protection teams. In consultation with the local Director of Public Health, where an outbreak in a school is confirmed, a mobile testing unit may be dispatched to test others who may have been in contact with the person who has tested positive. Testing will first focus on the person’s class, followed by their year group, then the whole school if necessary, in line with routine public health outbreak control practice.
The school office will remain closed for all but emergency traffic in the Autumn term. However if you do need to speak to the office then please go the main doors and one of the office team will come out to help you. Alternatively you can ring the school on 02380474835 or email using the firstname.lastname@example.org account.
Children will need to stay within their ‘bubble’ for the whole day. Social distancing will be supported as much as possible. Any injuries etc. will be dealt with by the office as they will have the appropriate PPE needed to deal with this. If a child is sick the ‘bubble’ will need to be taken outside and again the office staff or site manager should be called for to deal with this.
Children will have an individual zippy wallet for their frequently used resources like pencils, white board pen and white board.
Children need to wear school uniform. Please can we kindly ask that, as much as possible, you child comes in fresh, clean uniform each day as this will help minimise any potential risk.
Children will need to bring a named water bottle each day.
I appreciate that there is a lot of information contained in this letter but I wanted to ensure that we provided you with all the relevant facts and guidance as to how school will operate from September 7th . These are unprecedented times and we are all faced with challenges and issues we have not dealt with before. Our children are at the heart of all we do and there welfare and well being is central to this. Any decisions I have made have been to ensure we can open as we have been directed to do but paramount in my mind is, and always will be, the children.
The changes we have had to make will make school different but please be reassured that all the staff are committed to making sure school continues to be the fun and nurturing place it was before we went into lockdown.
Please can I take the opportunity to express my thanks and gratitude to you for your support during these very challenging times. I know that all the staff would like to express their thanks for all the kind words from parents. I would like to say a thank you to all the staff for their hard work and dedication. The whole school community staff, children and parents have made these difficult times much easier to navigate with your support. September, again, will bring new challenges but by continuing to work in partnership we can ensure that we continue to give our children at Townhill a purposeful and engaging time at school.
Please do not hesitate to contact school with any questions and concerns you may have.
Beverly Corbin - Headteacher