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St Mary's C of E Primary School

Credenhill, Hereford

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IMPORTANT - Parents back to school Letter - 21 May 2020

21/05/2020

 

Dear Parents and Carers,

We hope that you, your family and loved ones are remaining safe and well. I am writing to you today to give you a clearer understanding of what education in school will look like in the coming weeks. Children in Year R, Year 1 and Year 6 are most likely to return before their peers. The exact date of any child’s limited return has yet to be clearly defined but it is expected to be early June providing the government can meet the 5 tests and that ‘R’ rating remains below 1. If this is the case we will be opening the wider school to children in Year R, 1 and 6 on Monday 8th June 2020.

We are also aware that rates of infection may continue to differ in different parts of the country and indeed the county. With the local area currently showing higher infection rates, we will continue to monitor this closely.

The government have expressed a wish that school open to all year groups before the official end of the summer term, but as yet no further details have been received from the government in this respect. We will ensure that we update parents of other year groups as and when we receive this information.

When we reopen our school it will be very different to before lockdown. The government have issued us with very stringent guidance and we have spent a great deal of time carefully considering how to minimise the risks to both children and staff. We have had to consider the space that we have available and have worked closed with property services regarding the capacity of each classroom to ensure safe social distancing for children and staff alike. We have also had to consider the amount of staff that are available to work in school (some staff are still in their 12 week shielding period and as such we have a reduced staff).  

 We would like to share with you the measures that we will be putting into place.

  • We will continue to open for children of Key workers and vulnerable children regardless of year group, 5 days a week 8:55am – 3:15pm. Arrangements for pick up and drop off will continue as previously arranged with parents dropping off and collecting from the top staff car park.
  • During this period, Breakfast club will be available to Key worker children and vulnerable children only.
  • To ensure we are able to follow stringent health and safety measures we will open to years R, 1 and 6 on a phased timetable: 
    Reception and Year 1 will attend 1 day a week in smaller cohorts to ensure that we meet the government, Local Authority and union guidelines on social distancing and rigorous safety procedures.
    Year 6 will attend for 1 and a  ½ days a week for the above reasons.
  • High quality home learning will continue for all year groups.  Workbooks will be purchased and available to all children. This is to support parents who may need to go back to work and are finding it difficult to deliver home learning.  We will notify you when books are ready for collection and how to collect them in line with social distancing.
     
     
     

Opening Arrangements for Year R, Year 1 and Year 6

  • Year R will be split into two groups: cohort 1 and cohort 2. Cohort 1 will be in school on a Monday, cohort 2 on a Tuesday. You will be advised as to the cohort your child is in via text message and, if advised by the government, this will begin on Monday 8th June.
  • Year 1 will be in school on a Wednesday. If advised by the government this will begin on Wednesday 10th  June.
  • Year 6 will be in school on a Thursday all day and a Friday morning until 12:00pm. If advised by the government this will begin on Thursday 11th June.
  • 15 minute staggered slots will be allocated to each child for drop off at the beginning of each day. Entry to school will be from the bottom car park. If you drive a kiss and drop system at the bottom school gate will be in operation.  You will be allocated your arrival time via text message in the coming days. This is to ensure children arrive and comply with government guidelines on social distancing
  • 15 minute staggered slots will be allocated to each child at the end of the day for collection. Children will be released to you from the playground. You will be allocated your collection time via text message in the coming days.
  • Social distancing measures will be in place for those that walk to school; parents will not be allowed on to the playground under any circumstances and marked stand points will be in place outside the school gates.
  • Pick up and drop off times will be fixed and it is important that you adhere to these times to minimise the risk to other children and parents.
  • There will no hot dinners available. Universal free school meals apply to year R and Year 1, as such there will be a packed lunch supplied daily for each child. Year 6 will need to bring a packed lunch on a Thursday. Children will need two full fresh water bottles to be brought into school on a daily basis (this is to reduce handling of taps etc). Please remind your child that they must not share lunch boxes or water bottles.
  • Due to a requirement for children to wear clean, freshly laundered clothes we do not expect children to wear their uniform as we understand it is easier to wear casual clothes on a daily basis. Please send in a set of spare clothes in case of accidents and for hygiene issues.

 

Here is a list of measures we will be undertaking to minimise the risks in school

  • All staff will have had training on the procedures for the wider opening of school.
  • Rooms have been measured to ascertain capacity and cohort sizes have been planned according to this advice.
  • Social distancing will be up held as much as possible but we are aware that children of such a young age find it exceptionally challenging to consistently follow these guidelines. We feel that it is important to be honest with you and are sure that you will understand how difficult this will be.
  • Movement around school will be limited.
  • Playtimes and lunchtimes will be staggered in three groups.
  • Children will not share equipment and will sit at the same allocated table.
  • Staff ratio to children will be as high as possible according to the staff we have in school.
  • Each group of children will use allocated toilets to minimize contact with any other child.
  • Regular and supervised hand washing will continue to be enforced following government guidelines.
  • Rooms and resources will be cleaned at the end of every day and there will be sufficient sanitisation products available to staff and children.
  • Adults will be restricted from entering the school.  If you have any queries or questions for the office these should be sent via email or telephone conversation.  If you need to speak with a member of staff these can be arranged so that you can talk over the phone.
  • An updated behaviour policy with expectations on behaviour during this time is on the school website. Expectations will be shared with the children on a regular basis.
  • Please do not send your child into school with any illnesses.
  • We understand that parents should check with their child’s GP if their child falls into a high risk group.
     

Obviously, these are very different and challenging times and the arrangements above will be under constant review in the hope that we will be able to open to children more frequently as time goes on.  As such, we would ask for your whole-hearted support for what we are doing even though your child/ children may not be in school as much as you had hoped initially. In return, we are making the safety, emotional and mental well-being of your child/ children our highest priority. Many hours have been put into additional risk assessments and discussions with unions and local authority. The school cannot 100% guarantee that there is zero risk of infection, despite our rigorous safety checks, therefore we respect your decision as to whether you choose to send your child into school.

You have no idea how much we have missed the children daily and we long for the time when school will be back to normal. You are always in our thoughts.

Yours sincerely,

 

Mrs B Davies - Executive Headteacher

Mr R Wydenbach - Chair of Governors

Mrs K Jones - Deputy Headteacher

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