Back to School!
1 September 2020 (by admin)
Dear Pupils, Parents and Carers,
I hope this letter finds you and your family well. Many of you will be wondering what will be happening next week when your child returns to school, and many of you will have questions or worries about how school will run, and whether it will be safe.
I hope this letter will help respond to some of those questions, although I must be honest that we cannot give definitive answers to everything, and the situation may well change as we move through the next few months.
For those that want to read the full document, here is the link to the government guidance, which was released on July 2nd and updated on the 28th August: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools
The critical issue for us all at Fairfields is to balance the need to get our young people back into school, with the need to keep everyone safe, and to prevent a second wave of infections. Although we cannot guarantee absolute safety, the evidence now suggests very low risk for those of school age, and no heightened risk for adults working in schools.
We fully acknowledge that there will be a small number of pupils, staff or families where the risks are much higher, and we will do everything we can to ensure that anyone in that category still receive an education.
Below is an outline of the measures we will be taking in Fairfields.
- Increased hand washing and sanitising: we are increasing the number of areas where pupils and staff can wash, and hand sanitiser will be provided in all classrooms and at other key points. Staff will reinforce this constantly. We will also be sanitising and temperature checking before children enter the school.
- Respiratory hygiene: tissues will be provided in all classrooms, and ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ will be strictly enforced by all staff.
- Enhanced cleaning: the facilities staff will be carrying out additional cleaning and disinfection of common areas, and items like door handles which are likely transmission hot spots. In addition, all classrooms will have disinfectant wipes and sprays for pupils and staff to use at the start of lessons. The school has been deep cleaned throughout the holidays including carpet cleaning.
- Minimise contact between groups and maximise social distancing where possible: this is the main area where there will be major changes.
- The start and end of the day will be staggered as well as break and lunch times to minimise crowding, to allow cleaning between services and to allow pupils to eat and have time on the playground.
- A teaching space will be created at the front of every classroom, wherever possible. Classrooms are being rearranged wherever possible so that pupils all face the front, rather than each other, which may help minimise transmission. Pupils will sit in the same seat wherever possible.
- A ‘no physical contact’ rule will be introduced. It is not possible to enforce social distancing, but it is possible to enforce a rule which requires pupils to keep their hands to themselves. This will need to be reinforced through the behaviour system, and we hope that both pupils and parents will understand the reason for this, and will support the school in keeping all members of our community safe.
- There can be no sharing of equipment; pens and pencils cannot be lent or borrowed in class.
- Pupils are encouraged to come to school on foot or by bike wherever possible to minimise crowding on public transport. We acknowledge that this is not possible for all pupils.
- Although wearing masks is not currently recommended for use in schools, we will have a supply available. This will primarily be for staff to help limit spread between classes and between year groups. We will keep this under review.
- Registers for every morning and afternoon session and class seating plans will help the Public Health England teams identify pupils or staff who need to self-isolate in the event of a confirmed case in school. As soon as a case is identified, we will follow the instructions and guidance given by our local health protection team and we will inform any pupils and parents who need to self-isolate. Over the Summer, the guidance has changed and we do not anticipate needing to close the whole school, or even sending home a whole year group unless absolutely necessary. But we will follow the advice at the time.
Please see the question and answers document with queries which were raised at the information evening in July. We look forward to seeing everyone in school on Monday 7th September.
Miss Kelly Dillon