Letter – Draft Proposals For Reopening

Click here to see Mrs Butterworth’s letter on draft proposals to open school in June.

Draft proposals for reopening after half term

This is a very long letter, but sets out our thinking at the moment, following consultation with staff, governors and yourselves through the online survey. We are still taking responses from this, but wanted to share where we are now.

If the government require us to open after half term, I want to give you an indication of what this may look like for your children. We have to plan for every scenario at the moment as we don’t know when we will get notification of opening. We have to plan to minimise risk, so must think well ahead.

Depending on numbers of children attending, we are considering two options at the moment.

1. All children in at one time.
2. Prioritised year groups: the government want us to prioritise the youngest first so Y6 may not attend if the numbers involved are too large.

Which children will be eligible for this?
So far, this will be for Nursery, Reception, Y1 and Y6 and for keyworkers’ children. At the moment, we have very few keyworkers’ children in school. If this increases, it will present an additional challenge. If you require this facility, you must contact us on the keyworker@bellsfrm.bham.sch.uk email address as soon as possible, and provide proof of your key worker status.

Parents and carers of children in these classes will be surveyed on Monday to record the names of your children and whether or not you will be sending them into school after half term, should the government say that we are pressing ahead with this. This may seem early, but we need to plan ahead for staffing needs and risk assessments.
If you decide to keep your children at home, your choice will be respected. Our survey has indicated that around 75% of you are not happy about returning after half term and your comments about this have been taken on board.
Parents and carers will be contacted where their child has a recognised condition such as asthma to carry out a risk assessment. Again, your choice to keep the child at home will be respected.

When will the school be open to children?
The school will open again at the earliest on Tuesday 2nd June. We will require Monday 1st June to sort out groups finally and organise rooms for each group. Once we can tell you when the school is open for your children, we will start at the usual time of 9.00 am and punctuality is essential. There will unfortunately be no breakfast or after school club facilities. We are not looking at staggering start or finish times at the moment as many of you would experience difficulty with this and it would require further staffing.
In order to ensure a full deep clean is carried out regularly, we will require school to close each Wednesday.

Entry and exit
Children in Nursery and Reception classes:
• Staff will collect children from parents/carers outside the front gates. The outer gate will be open from 8.45 am. We will need to demarcate the area outside the gates to allow for 2 metre distancing between parents. We know that this is going to be a very difficult time, as this is not how we usually work or want to work, but unfortunately for all of the safety reasons you know about, we cannot have parents/carers accompanying their children any further.
• One parent/carer only, to drop off and collect.
• At end of day, children will be sent one at a time to their parent or carer.

Children in Years 1 and 6
• One parent/carer to drop off at Brockworth Road gate and children go to an assigned member of staff on the playground. The gate will be open from 8.45 am and a member of staff will be available to greet the children and let you go. This is to avoid unnecessary congestion on the road outside.
• At the end of the day, the gate will be open from 3.00 pm. You can come into the playground and maintain social distancing between yourself and other parents/carers. The children will be sent out to meet you.
• When we have a full list of the children who will be returning to school, we will work out a system for parents/carers of more than one child, so that you are clear about which entrance to use. We won’t expect you to use both!
• It is absolutely essential that you are punctual both at dropping off and collection times. Registers will be taken as normal at 9.05 am. This will only be workable if we are reducing the need for children and staff to move through the building unnecessarily.

Social distancing
We will be aiming to maintain the 2 metre distance rule. As you know this is a huge challenge, especially with younger children. This means that in any one class area, we will only have a very small number of children. They will have one member of staff looking after them at all times. Each group with their teacher or teaching assistant will be known as a ‘bubble’. The bubbles will keep together and not mix with any other bubble at any time. Please note that your child may not have a teacher or teaching assistant who is familiar to them.

Teaching
• Online learning will continue for all children not in school.
• Children in school will follow the same learning as will be posted online every morning – maths and English at the appropriate levels.
• Weather permitting, there will be outdoor learning in the afternoons, including PE, as much as possible.

Hygiene/medical/PPE
• Children will wash hands when they come in, if they have been using tissues, before eating and after an outdoor play. Hand sanitiser will also be provided as needed.
• 2 metre distance reminder at all times
• Staff will be using gloves and masks if they wish to wear them.
• If your child displays any symptom such as a persistent cough or tell us that they are feeling unwell, we will contact you immediately. Your child will be taken to the medical room where office staff or I can supervise from a distance. We are not going to take temperatures as this too close and too risky. We can supervise you using our ear thermometers from a 2 metre distance, if you do not have a thermometer at home.

• First aid – all staff will have medical bags – plasters, wipes etc. Children will fall or have accidents, but we hope this will be very much reduced due to the small supervised groups. If they have an accident, the supervising member of staff will:
– Wear gloves
– Administer wipes and plasters where necessary. Older children can do this for themselves if possible and with some guidance. Younger children will be more of a challenge, but many can still be assisted to use a wipe. Where staff assist, they will strive to keep at arm’s length.
– For bumps to the head – children will be given an ice pack and will be monitored
-If we judge that further treatment will be necessary, you will be contacted to collect your child.

We know that all of the above will be a particular challenge with young children, and it is our natural response to offer more TLC than this situation allows!

• There will be tables and chairs out for the small group in the class areas – the rest will be stacked away. 1 chair, 1 table, 1 child.
• Alcohol wipes will be in every room for wiping surfaces. All areas will be thoroughly cleaned at the end of the day as by site staff.
• Children will have their own packs of equipment and will only have access to their own pencil, ruler, crayons etc.
• Play equipment will be limited as it all has to be cleaned frequently. Soft toys and furnishings will be stored away. There will unfortunately be no free access to toys and games to control contamination.
• Site staff will be cleaning areas at lunchtime and after the children have gone home.

Breaktimes
These will be staggered between groups.

Lunchtimes
We will only be providing sandwich lunches at this point. Staff will collect from the kitchen and eaten in the class are, or outside if the weather permits.

These measures are designed to minimise risk to both children and adults and will be kept under continuous review. We will do our very best to keep the children both safe and happy, but there are obviously restrictions on their usual freedoms in school. For example, this is not what I pictured for our Year 6 children in their final year, and the traditions of end of year assembly and parties just cannot proceed. As I have mentioned to several year 6 parents and carers as I have seen them, when this is eventually over, I would like to invite the children back to school for a Saturday party, to give them that closure which they will need.

For very young children this will present many challenges, and we will keep communication flowing in what will be a very much evolving picture! Please note that arrangements will be subject to change with as much notice as we can manage, depending on how the re-opening goes with each group of children.

I hope this gives you sufficient information at the moment to make an informed decision in the best interest of your child(ren) and families. I look forward to hearing your responses, for the key year groups, on Monday.

Kind regards,

Barbara Butterworth

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