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Letter to parents

Emailed to all parents on Monday 1st June 2020

Monday 1st June 2020

Dear Parent/ Guardian,

Hopefully you are all well and continuing to look after each other during the current global pandemic. Further to the information sent via email last week (also posted on the website and APP), this letter gives more details about the possible opening of school to larger numbers of pupils over the next few weeks.

 

The current situation still remains ‘conditional’, dependent on the Government’s ‘5 Steps’ being met and the Department for Education are continuing to discuss a variety of proposals for a safe, phased return to school life for EYFS, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils (as well as continuing to support children of key workers where necessary). As such, the situation is constantly changing, however, provisional plans have been made in consultation with staff, governors and the local authority.

Key elements will be outlined to you here but there is also a detailed plan which will be posted on the school website tomorrow, once I have walked through school with a health and safety colleague from the local authority later today. A detailed risk assessment has been created and is also being updated to include any updates which come from the government. This will also be available via the school website later this week.

 

Overarching principles of a return

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 decided that it would be safer for this date to be delayed until Monday 8th June at the earliest.

 

When might my child be able to return?

The proposal, risk assessment and previous information distributed to parents, reflect the carefully considered decisions that have been made. We have decided that the safest way to return to larger numbers in school safely is to take a careful, phased approach, introducing one year group at a time. The proposed dates that school are working towards, but will be continually reviewed, are:

W.b. 1st June - Open to children of key workers only (Mon-Friday, 8.45am – 3.30pm)

W.b. 8th June – Reception pupils return (Mon-Thurs, 9.00am – 3.00pm)

W.b. 15th June - Year 1 pupils return (Mon-Thurs, 9.15am – 3.15pm)

W.b. 22nd June - Year 6 pupils return (Mon-Thurs, 8.30am – 2.45pm)

When year groups are re-introduced, they will work in ‘bubbles’ of no more than 12 and attend school Monday to Thursday. This will allow for additional cleaning to take place. Key workers children will continue to be able to attend school on a Friday, but only when absolutely necessary.

 

How will school be different?

Key changes:

  • Bubbles of no more than 12 pupils, who will stay away from any other bubbles for the majority of the day. The same staff will work with these bubbles the majority of the time.
  • Bubbles will be based on year group or ‘key worker’ and every pupil will only be assigned to one bubble.
  • Different staff may be required to teach your child, often in a different classroom, than they are used to.
  • Reduced resources in classrooms to reduce items that are more likely to transmit infection.
  • Regular hand washing.
  • Increased cleaning.
  • A changed curriculum to reflect the challenges posed by grouping pupils differently reduced timetables and limited resources.
  • Pick up and drop off times adapted to reduce the amount of parents on site at the same time. Only 1 person allowed on the premises to collect a child.
  • No access to school unless by prior appointment. (please telephone)
  • Strict social distancing by adults on the premises at all times.
  • Limited (if at all) items sent back and forth between school and home. A pencil case to be brought from home with pencils, sharpener, coloured pencils and rubber. This will remain in school. This will help us to insist that children do not share equipment.

 

  • If water bottles are brought in, they cannot be refilled at school, as the water fountains will be disabled.

 

  • Children will be allowed to wear their own clothes, but must wear freshly washed clothes each day.

 

What if my child does not return to school?

We will still support all pupils, whatever their year group with home learning, although this may be slightly less than previously if your child’s normal class teacher is teaching a bubble in school. We will keep parents informed on any changes.

We do not want pupils not in the Government’s ‘priority’ year groups to be disadvantaged or for parents in reception, year 1 or year 6 to feel pressured that a decision not to return to school means that we will no longer support them at home.

 

Next steps for children whose parents have already confirmed they would like them to return before the end of term.

 

  • Bubble groups, and the adults with each group will be confirmed when children return to school.
  • A revised home-school agreement which you will receive via email tomorrow, needs to be returned prior to your child returning to school.

 

As I have previously stated on several occasions, the decision over whether your child returns is solely yours. We have attempted to provide detailed information for you to consider and I would urge all families to make the decision that is right for you and you feel most comfortable with, remembering that any decisions are not final for the whole half term and will be reviewed regularly. There are no right and wrong answers in this situation and, again, I will support all families with their decisions.

 

Thank you for your continued support.

 

Stay safe and well.

Mr. Matthews

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