Information for students returning to school in September 2020
Please ensure that you and your child read this document carefully before they come into school. There is a lot of information which is difficult to reduce further. There will be full copies of the school risk assessment and guidelines for the return on the school website, but this document should contain all the information you need. All of our preparations are based on the latest government guidance issued to support schools bringing all students back to school in September.
The Department for Education issued guidance on the 2nd of July 2020 and this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools
The guidance gives clear instructions on attendance at school and arrangements schools should consider putting in place, but it also acknowledges that every school is different and leaves some organisational decisions to school leaders. The information and changes to school routines detailed in this document are all in line and in some cases above and beyond with this guidance.
Should my child attend school?
It is clear from September, as long as there are no further announcements to the contrary all students are expected to return to school.
Shielding for adults and children will come to an end on the 1st of August. This means that even the small number of shielded students can return to their setting, as can those who have family members that have also been shielding.
If rates of disease were to rise in local areas, children and young people (or family members) from that area, and that area only, will be advised to shield during the period where rates remain high and therefore they may be temporarily absent and will continue with their remote learning.
Children who generally remain under the care of a specialist health professional may need to discuss their care with their health professional before returning to school in September (usually at their next planned clinical appointment).
If your child is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical or public health advice, please contact their House Office with the details.
Illness and coronavirus symptoms
Students should not attend school if they have coronavirus symptoms or have tested positive in the last 7 days.
If any student becomes unwell during the day with a new continuous cough or high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell, parents will be contacted and they must immediately be collected from school. They will be advised that they must self-isolate for at least 7 days and must make arrangements 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.
After a test-if the test is negative
A negative test result means a low risk of having coronavirus.
Other members of the household can stop self-isolating. If the student feels well and no longer has symptoms similar to coronavirus, they can stop self-isolating and return to school. If the student still feels unwell they could have another virus, such as a cold or flu, in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people and they should remain at home until they are better.
Please inform your child’s House Office or Attendance if your child has had a negative test and bring the confirmation to school when they return.
After a test-if the test is positive
A positive test result means that when they took the test, the student had coronavirus. They must continue to self-isolate for at least 7 days from the onset of their symptoms and then return back to school only if they do not have symptoms other than a cough or loss of sense of smell or 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, and other members of their household should continue self-isolating for the full 14 days).
When to self-isolate
The medical advice is clear: you must self-isolate if you have coronavirus symptoms or live in the same household as somebody who does. The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A high temperature-this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- New, continuous cough-this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste-this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Please inform Attendance or your House Office if your child has had a positive test. You will need to provide details of anyone they have been in close contact with if asked by NHS Test and Trace. Your child’s name will be kept confidential but the academy must notify the local health protection team.
Public Health does not (based on current evidence) recommend the use of face coverings in education settings, therefore the majority of staff and students will not wear them in school. However, if travelling by public transport, students will need to bring appropriate face coverings for use when travelling and a plastic bag to store it and/or dispose of it in the yellow PPE bins within the academy.
Minimising Contact between individuals
Minimising contacts and mixing between people reduces the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). In September all students will be taught in the “House Bubble” which will see students only taught by teachers in their House and only attend lessons with other students in their House. This model will allow us to teach a broad curriculum, but not a full one, and as such will be reviewed at the latest by the 25th September to make necessary amendments if it still needs to be in place. An outline of the House Bubble plan can be seen below. Click here to view pdf of Reopening Plan 2020 (Bubble).
Some students have no option but to use public transport, but where possible this should be avoided. There will be yellow bins for temporary face coverings and gloves on entrance to school for the disposal of their PPE on arrival. Students should not touch the front of their face covering during use, when removing coverings or until they have washed or sanitised their hands.
Staggered Start and Finish Times
In order to keep students distanced at the start of the day, on arrival students will only be allowed to use an allocated House area of the playground from 08:15-08:30. They will only be allowed to enter the academy by Broadway Avenue and will not be able to enter the school building until their Head of House instructs them to do so, once they are lined up. This entrance will be staggered and each House will then occupy their own area of the school. At the end of the day Houses will individually dismiss students between 15:00-15-10 via Broadway Avenue ensuring that Houses do not mix at the school gates or on the pavements. Students will not be allowed to wait for other pupils in other Houses and must make their way home immediately after dismissal.
Passing in the corridors is considered low risk, however we will be limiting the amount of movement time within the school day. Where possible students will be taught in the same classrooms, and where this is not possible will only move to another classroom within their House Bubble. There will be a one way system in place, and clear markings on the floors to keep social distancing measures in place.
Toilets will be allocated to each specific House, but some will have to share them. When sharing is necessary this will be managed so that students from different Houses will not be able to use them at the same time. Toilets will be cleaned regularly throughout the day. Students must wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds whenever they use the toilet. Posters are displayed to reinforce this. Students must not wait or gather around toilets including during lunchtimes.
Although there will be some movement between classrooms, classrooms will not be shared with students from other Houses on the same day. Desks will be arranged so that students sit side by side facing towards the front, rather than in groups facing each other. Students will be expected to use hand sanitiser whenever they change classrooms. They should also have tissues in their pocket to catch a sneeze or cough, and ensure this goes in a bin immediately. Tissues will be available in classrooms for those that do not have one.
Break and Lunchtime
Morning break will take place within Houses and will take the form of a comfort break, the canteen will not be open and students will not be allowed to eat in their House area. At lunch time, a wide selection of hot and cold food will be served in the main and Worth dining halls. Remember that students will not be able to pay in cash, and the cash top-up machines are no longer in use. Parents must top-up their child’s account using ParentPay.
What should Students bring to school?
Everyone should have tissues in their pocket to catch a sneeze or cough. Students should bring their own pens and stationery including calculator, ruler, pen, pencil, rubber and green pen. They will not be able to share these items with other students. The school will store student exercise books in their House area and provide text books or photocopies where needed. Students should actively avoid bringing in and taking home non-essential items.
What happens if my child becomes ill or needs First Aid in school?
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate and follow the Government guideline for their family. Nobody should enter the school site with symptoms of coronavirus.
Any student who becomes ill with any symptoms during the day will be sent to their House isolation room. A qualified first aider will attend to your child and if deemed necessary will contact you to collect your child and take them home. They must make arrangements to have a test and isolate for 7 days if tested positive or return back to school when well enough to do so after a negative test. It is enviable that some students will be sent home more regularly during this period as we try to protect the safety of all the students and staff.
Staff dealing with students will wear gloves and a face covering, whilst where possibly minimising contact with them, remaining outside of the isolation room. Should a student need a toilet they will be taken to a designated cubicle, closed until it has been cleaned. The isolation room will be disinfected after every use and at the end of every day.
First Aid will only be administered if necessary. Parents will be contacted to collect their child if this is a reasonable alternative. Students may be asked to treat themselves, e.g. to apply a plaster.
Behaviour in school
Students will be expected to follow the Behaviour for Learning Policy as outlined on our website. Normal high standards will have to be increased from September not only to ensure student and staff safety but also to ensure that absolutely no learning is lost as a result of poor behaviour.
Visiting the school is discouraged and visitors will not be allowed to enter the school except in exceptional circumstances. Email, telephone calls will be used as an alternative wherever possible. On rare occasions where a visit is unavoidable, it is important that an appointment is made as any room used must be disinfected before and after use. Only one person will allowed in reception at a time and most communication will take place in the lobby area where there is a screen in place. Anyone in school will be expected to use hand sanitiser.