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Detailed plan for the reopening of school to more children from 8th June 2020 onwards

The following document contains the structure and logistics of a planned, safe return to school, using Government and BWD guidance, assimilating a ‘bubbles’ model into the context of Ashleigh Primary School. The tailored risk assessment should be read alongside this.

 

Ashleigh Primary School COVID19 Response -Proposal to begin to increase pupil numbers

 

Overarching Principles

 

Government guidelines make clear that ‘early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff’. Instead, schools are asked to work through a ‘hierarchy of measures’ to reduce the risk within these groups:

• avoiding contact with anyone with symptoms

• frequent hand cleaning and good respiratory hygiene practices

• regular cleaning of settings

• minimising contact and mixing

 

The Government have asked schools to plan a safe, phased return from 1st  June for current EYFS, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils (in that order). Blackburn with Darwen on the basis that the Government’s 5 tests had not yet been achieved put this date back to the 8th June at the earliest.

The staffing structure has some flexibility built into it, but we want to limit staff changes as much as possible, so that should an infection be present, contact and trace will be more achievable. This means that, should there be some non-COVID staffing attendance issues, it might be possible to re-deploy staff (and staff are prepared for this possibility) but, in some instances, it might be deemed unsafe to do so and therefore pupil groups may still be asked not to attend school (key worker groups are staffed more heavily on a rota to stop this being an issue for them). We will endeavour to not make further changes to the timetable but this is not necessarily possible and all parties would need to be as flexible as possible. Start dates for pupil year groups are proposed but will be confirmed with each year group prior to them starting.

This proposal and the attached risk assessment are based on reducing risk. No planning can take away all risk from any activity.

The nature of the current pandemic mean that this is likely to change, both before any proposed dates and once the plan has begun. All best endeavours will be made to keep all relevant parties informed of such changes.

The proposal will not be put into action until the Government’s ‘5 tests’ are achieved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arriving and Departing School

Groups of children

Bubble

Location

School Day

Entry into school

Exit at end of the day

Reception

Rabbits A

Reception Classroom

9.00am – 3.00pm

Reception class door

Reception class door

Year 1

Bears A

Year 1/2 Classroom

9.15am – 3.15pm

Kitchen door

Kitchen door

Year 1

Bears B

Year 4 Classroom

9.15am – 3.15pm

Kitchen door

Junior door

Year 6

Giraffe A

Year 6 Classroom

8.30am – 2.45pm

Junior door

Junior door

Year 6

Giraffe B

Year 5 Classroom

8.30am – 2.45pm

Infant door

Infant door

Key workers

Key A

Year 2 Classroom

(multimedia suite)

8.45am – 3.30pm

Main entrance

Kitchen door

Key workers

Key B

Year 3 Classroom

(multimedia suite)

8.45am – 3.30pm

Main entrance

Junior door

 

 

 

 

 

 

The main gate will be the only way on to the grounds, the infant end gates will be the exit. Parents should follow the arrows and not cross any do not enter points. In order to maintain social distancing, only one adult may come on to the playground to leave or collect their child, keeping any other children off the premises wherever possible. They should stand on one of the coloured dots on the playground. 

It is deemed preferable that Year 6 are also escorted to school, to discourage them from congregating, but we understand that this may not always be possible. It will be made clear to pupils that they should not break the 2 metre rule, even with members of their bubble, and this will be reflected in the School’s Behaviour Policy.

Parents are encouraged to walk to school, rather than drive, by the Government during this period.

 

The intention behind staggered times is for queues to be minimal. It is important that children are arrive and leave school at the allotted times, so that we avoid clashes between bubbles.

 

 

Why? Congestion at the start and end of the day is one of the main areas of concern for transmission as numbers on the site will be the highest they can be. It will need everybody to take responsibility and think about how to protect pupils, staff and other parents by staying away from one another. It also means that staff will not be available for conversations at the beginning and end of the day and hand overs must be extremely brief.

Location of Bubbles

Pupils will be split into ‘bubbles’, based mainly around their year group. There will not necessarily be a correlation between the child’s current class teacher and/or location (as has been previously explained). This means that it may be that your child will be in a bubble with different staff than they may be used to. Infant age groups will be taught by two members of staff, ideally one teacher and one teaching assistant. Year 6 groups will be taught by one member of staff, ideally one teacher.

Bubble groups are likely to be spread evenly to start. Pupils choosing to come back sooner in the term, as opposed to later are therefore no more or less likely to be placed with your child’s current class teacher.

 

We have been asked to work with no more than 15 pupils in a group by the government, but we deem it to be safer the fewer pupils are in a group, certainly initially. As I am sure you can imagine, although you may prefer your child to be with their class teacher, it is mathematically impossible to make this work in any other way. Parents may wish to take this into consideration when deciding whether to send pupils back or not.

 

How will bubbles work?

Where possible, children and staff will stay fixed to a bubble so that the transmission of germs is reduced to solely that group. They will have no/extremely limited contact with other bubbles in school. The bubble will stay together for the entirety of the day and there will be no physical whole school events (such as assemblies).

Bubble pupils will have assigned toilets and sinks to use. This may be within the traditional ‘girls’ or ‘boys’ bathrooms but every bubble will have their own cubicle toilet.

Bubble pupils will play together at break and dinner but stay separate from other bubbles. They will eat dinner in their own classes, having the dinner left at the door.

Within the bubbles, pupils cannot and will not be expected to keep a two metre gap from one another, although our Junior pupils in particular will be encouraged to think about personal space.

In reality, this means that our reception and year 1 pupils will continue to mingle within their own bubble – pupils at this age naturally wish to interact in close proximity with one another and, to not allow them to do so, would reduce a large amount of the purpose of school at this young age. It is also difficult to envisage how teaching at this age may be achieved if a distance was set between all pupils. Most importantly, experience tells us that young pupils may understand the concept of keeping a distance but are unlikely to stick to it.

Junior pupils will work in ‘spaced out’ settings, but our classrooms would not allow for a distance of two metres between desks. Junior pupils will be encouraged to consider reducing close contact with others but, at playtimes, this is unlikely to be maintained. Any pupils who wish to keep distant at playtimes will be given an area to utilise in order to do so but pupils will, most probably, choose to continue to mingle within their own bubbles.

Why? It is really important to consider, within any guidelines, what are realistic expectations that can be achieved. While staying two metres apart sounds fine on paper, experience tells us that children will be unable to maintain this and it will be impossible for staff to police this fully. This, as stated before, is reflected in the Government guidelines.

 

Key Group Bubbles

The bubbles containing key worker children will be run on a rota basis so that all teaching staff have some time away from school – this is important so that all teaching staff have chance to continue online learning for those children not in school. No more than two staff will run the childcare bubble and this could be a teacher and teaching assistant or two teaching assistants, depending on staff availability. If numbers are low, one member of staff may be deemed more appropriate.

Please note that no pupil can be in two bubbles at once, therefore key worker pupils will be in the respective ‘Key Group’ bubble not one of the other year group bubbles.

There are supplementary staff available in the childcare groups as this may expand beyond one bubble.

 

Any children of confirmed key workers are eligible to attend, using the same advanced notice system that has been in place since the school closure. Contact is made via office@ashleigh.blackburn.sch.uk  and the list has been updated to reflect current information from parents.

 

Why? By keeping the Key Worker Group bubbles as bubbles of their own, we are avoiding the risk to pupils and staff of any pupils being in more than one group and increasing the risk of transmission.

Key Elements of the structure of the day

The backs of chairs or spaced out pegs in cloakrooms will be used to separate limited items brought in by pupils (no bags) – only bring: bottles, coats, sunhats). Suncream should be applied before the start of the day if necessary.

An electronic register will be taken so that no physical registers are passed between bubbles and the office.

Regular handwashing intervals are factored in, including on immediate entry to school, after play and before eating. If access to the sinks is not possible, hand gel will be used instead until pupils can wash their hands properly.

Increased toilet breaks for each class will be arranged, to avoid pupils going too often at other points during the day.

Dinners will be eaten in class. A packed lunch will be provided from the kitchen team (in line with other schools) for all EYFS and Year 1 pupils. The usual school rules re. no nuts, fizzy drinks etc/ providing a healthy, balanced lunchbox apply. Please note, all key worker children in Year 3-6 will continue to bring their own packed lunch unless they order a school lunch in the usual way.

* Vouchers will continue to be ordered for all eligible Free School Meal families (as has been the case for the past two months). Please note that this is not the same as ‘Infant Free School Meals’ and we have contacted any eligible families. If your financial circumstances have changed over the past few months, please contacts Ms Adamson to see if there may be further support available to you.

Pupils will drink from their own water bottles as the water fountains will be out of action. Please wash and refill it before returning it to school the following day.

 

Why? These are arrangements to reduce the risk of transmission between pupils and staff. As such, the school day is likely to feel very different but we have attempted to create the best possible solution with the limitation that we face.

 

Time in school

Pupils will attend school from Monday to Thursday (apart from key worker pupils who can come in on a Friday if absolutely necessary, requests for these places will continue to be arranged via email as previously).

 

The proposed starting dates that school are working towards, but will be continually reviewed, are:

W.b. 1st June - Open to key workers and EYFS/ Year 1 teams to prepare rooms.

W.b. 8th June - EYFS return

W.b. 15th June - Year 1 return

W.b. 22nd June - Year 6 return

 

Why? The principle behind the staggered start is that less year groups to begin will allow the procedures and routines required to be embedded safely, for staff, pupils and parents, before pupil numbers build further. It will also give staff the necessary time to modify rooms, which in some cases will be considerable, and must also be done safely as too many staff in the building at once increases the risk for everybody. This week should have been a holiday period, but the staff team will use some of this time to begin the preparation procedures. It is crucial, if this is to work, that school is re-organised as effectively as possible before pupils return to school, so that they can become accustomed to their new environment quickly.

 

Opening in this phased way, and then only from Monday to Thursday, means that pupil numbers can be kept to safer levels once all 7 bubbles return to school in some way. It also allows further cleaning of the building to be undertaken in a safe manner. Although this system will not be preferable for all, consideration was given that it may allow some working families to negotiate with employees their working arrangements once pupils have up to 4 days a week in school. It is also important to remember that some year groups are still in a position where we have not been asked to plan for their return, given the guidelines currently in place. This means that, although we would ideally prefer to be able to provide more for all of our pupils, we see this as being an unexpected opportunity for some pupils to return but that this must be handled safely.

It should be noted that we will only confirm arrangements for the return of the next age group once we are satisfied that the arrangements for the previous year group have been effective. We will contact each year group separately to arrange this.

 

The priority groups have been identified by the Government as starting with youngest first. The routines around Year 6 will be slightly different (more attempts made to distance pupils more often), which is another reason why their start is being delayed for slightly longer. We have calculated that there is enough time to achieve the transition aspects that we feel are necessary but also need to add a little more detail to our plans now we know that some things are unlikely to happen.

 

REGULAR CLEANING OF SETTINGS

Cleaning

Deeper cleaning will be undertaken when the rooms are vacant, mainly Fridays) through an increase in cleaning staff time. Staff will also attempt to clean shared resources as they go.

Each room will have the usual cleaning products available to use during the day, while still understanding that everything cannot be cleaned instantly as the priority of bubble staff is the safety and supervision of pupils.

The focus after school will be increased cleaning of shared spaces, following the risk assessment to identify hot spots.

 

HYGIENE

A series of measures will be implemented to improve hygiene within bubbles. Key priorities (further identified on the risk assessment) are:

One bubble at a time, will visit the designated toilet area and designated sink/cubicles to reduce the need for other bubbles to mix.

  • ‘Catch it, bin it, kill it’ reiterated to the children and tissues are available in classrooms.
  • New pedal bins emptied daily.
  • Classroom resources cleaned wherever possible and thorough cleaning of rooms undertaken on ‘off’ days.
  • Trim trail to not be used by reception, year 1 or year 6 bubbles.
  • Pupils will be given individual stationery as much as possible, which will be stored in individual trays or similar.
  • Children will be expected to bring in a pencil case from home with pencils, sharpener, coloured pencils and rubber. There will be no sharing of resources. This pencil case will remain in school.
  • There will be significantly reduced resources in rooms, to allow for slightly more space where possible and for there to be less shared resources passed around inside bubbles. This may mean that some resources are stored elsewhere.
  • No resources will be sent home until the implications of transfer on surfaces are clearer. This means no books cannot be exchanged and parents are encouraged to continue using electronic books and/or personal books.
  • Rooms have been selected to offer good ventilation, which should be utilised.

 

 

Clothing

Uniform does not need to be worn. Practical clothes, suitable for outdoor sports, should be worn by all, including sensible shoes. There will be no PE kits held in school at any point, to reduce additional items which can transmit germs. Clothes should be washed regularly and pupils should wear fresh clean clothes each day. Allowing own clothes to be worn hopefully will take away the pressure to wash and dry clothes each night, as it might have done if the usual uniform arrangements were in place.

  • Staff should wear clean clothes every day and may want to consider changing prior to leaving the building.
  • Pupils are not to wear masks at it is deemed by Government guidelines to be counter-productive to do so.
  • No bags will be brought into school. Pupils only require coat and water bottle, with a lunchbox and cap where necessary. Suncream should be applied in the morning at home if necessary. This is to reduce the amount of items coming and going from school.

 

 

AVOIDING CONTACT WITH ANYONE WITH SYMPTOMS

Medical checks

The Government Guidance will continue to be followed and pupils and parents regularly reminded. No pupil or parents, showing any symptoms, should enter the premises. Any pupils or staff showing signs within the building will be dealt with as per the risk assessment.

Parents will also be reminded that any pupils with any other illnesses should be kept at home, as this increases the workload for staff. The usual ‘we will try and get through the day’ does not apply at present.

The Government Guidlines explicitly state not to use temperature checks, although individual parents are, of course, welcome to use this as a guide themselves as they would normally do and they may find this a usual check to take before setting off for school in the morning. No child with a temperature should enter the building anyway.

If school identifies any symptoms from staff or pupils within reception, year 1 or year 6 bubbles, the whole bubble will be asked to isolate for a period of minimum 7 days from the end of that school day or until a test result has been returned to confirm or deny a positive result. It is important that parents provide evidence of the result of this test to the headteacher/deputy headteacher before their child returns to school. Further details are held within the risk assessment. If a parent keeps a pupil off school, a conversation will be held with the parents to ascertain if it is felt that these are symptoms concurrent with cornonavirus.

 

Why? In order to provide the safe procedures that pupils and staff deserve, it is considered sensible to be very cautious as we proceed. Initially, the need to isolate should there be any signs of symptoms is deemed to be the most sensible approach to provide the re-assurance that staff and parents require in these circumstances. As with all of this strategy, there will be constant review of procedure and timescales. It will require the full co-operation of all for these measures to be effective.

 

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

Curriculum

What the children need to learn, and what they can be taught, will be significantly disrupted by the ongoing situation. The focus must be returning to school in a calm, safe manner and it is unlikely that many pupils will be in the right frame of mind to absorb the curriculum at the usual pace. Therefore, there will be a temporary focus on these areas until things can return to normal (which looks most probable to be in the Autumn as a minimum):

R/Year 1

  • Understanding of new routines
  • Basic reading
  • Basic maths
  • PSHE
  • PE/ Outdoor - This is why suncream, water bottles, caps are crucial
  • Topic/ creative
  • Should be seen as a hybrid of childcare and school, with work done in ‘mini groups’ at children’s level where necessary. If year group home learning can be followed for maths and English it will be.

 

Year 6

  • Understanding of new routines
  • Providing closure of primary school
  • Revision of some basics
  • Transition to secondary – through conversations with high schools
  • PSHE
  • PE/ Outdoor - This is why suncream, water bottles, caps are crucial

 

Key Worker Bubbles

  • Follow same principles as above.

 

 

 

Communication

Parents

The channels developed over the past few months will continue to be the main platforms for communication – School website/APP and email. It is vital that the minority of parents who have still not signed up to the school APP do so. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to maintain our usual ‘open door’ policy, as I am sure that parents will understand. Communication should be kept to a minimum and staff cannot be approached, in order to keep a two metre gap between non-bubble members. We are working to develop our use of class emails further to allow bubble staff to communicate with parents when necessary.

All forms will need to be completed electronically, should any be required. This includes (in rare instances) administration of medicines in school.

If parents decide to register pupils to return, they must notify non-attendance through the normal phone call.

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