Conditional Phased Return of Year 6 and Year 1 Children
Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope you and your families are well.
I need to begin this letter by thanking you for your understanding and patience in these incredibly difficult times, particularly since last Sunday evening’s announcement. As you will no doubt appreciate, I also learned about this in real-time, as you did. Therefore, I haven’t wanted to make any kneejerk, impulsive decisions. Rather, I have wanted to reflect and carefully evaluate our appropriate next steps.
Since Boris Johnson’s announcement last Sunday, I have been working closely with other BD5 Headteachers, the Local Authority and our Chair of Governors to conduct a detailed risk assessment and formulate an associated plan. It has always been our intention to prioritise the health and well-being of the children and adults within our school community in a concerted attempt to reduce the spread of coronavirus in a big and busy primary school.
I have met with all staff today at school, in small groups and adhering to social distancing (of course). One of the key areas that we have talked about in our planning for re-opening is the mental health of the children, teachers and support involved. I obviously want to take every precaution to ensure that children and staff are safe and are working in an environment which minimises the spread of any potential virus infection. That being said, I am keen that these measures do not impact on the emotional health of the children who return to us and the adults who work with them. At Marshfield, we have always prided ourselves on the relationships in our school and in these challenging times, those relationships will be more important than ever.
Staff and I have collaboratively agreed the following course of action. This has also been supported by Bradford Local Authority and is synchronised (to some degree) with neighbouring schools. Please be mindful that these plans are completely conditional on government guidance and could be subject to change.
School will open for Year 6 children on Tuesday 2nd June
School will start at 9:15 a.m. to allow a controlled and staggered arrival with key worker children and other groups already attending school. Following the same reasoning school will finish at 2:30 p.m. School will close at midday on Friday afternoon to enable teachers to have their PPA time.
School will open for Year 1 children on Monday 8th June
School will start at 10 a.m. to allow a controlled and staggered arrival with Year 6 children, key worker children and other groups already attending school. Following the same reasoning school will finish at 2 p.m. School will close at 12:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon to enable teachers to have their PPA time.
Arrangements for key worker children and other vulnerable groups will remain exactly the same.
For all children the following measures will be put in place:
- Making sure that children do not attend if they or a member of their household has symptoms of coronavirus.
- Promoting regular hand washing for 20 seconds with running water and soap or use of sanitiser and ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the catch it, bin it, kill it approach.
- Cleaning more frequently to ensure that the virus doesn't settle on frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, handrails, table tops, play equipment and toys.
- Minimising contact through smaller classes or group sizes (of no more than 10 children) and altering the environment as much as possible, such as changing the layout of classrooms. School will only be open for Year 6 and Year 1 classes (from the onset). Siblings in other year groups will not be permitted to attend school.
- Reducing mixing between groups through timetable changes, such as staggered break times and staggered drop-off and collection times.
- Reducing access to the school site. Children will remain in school for the whole day and will not be permitted to go home for lunch. Parents will also only be granted access to the school grounds via invitation only.
- Ensuring social distancing in the school canteen. Children can bring a packed lunch to school. The school canteen will be closed for hot food. However, grab bags will be prepared for children who would prefer a school meal or those children who are entitled to free school meals.
- Reducing the spread of contamination. Own clothes to be worn which are fresh on – we recommend putting clothes straight in the washing machine once returning home from school to minimise and control the spread of infection. Thorough hand washing to take place at home just before leaving the home and returning from school.
School will be Different
I have attached a few photographs of what classrooms will look like under the ‘New Normal.’ In all honesty it will break my heart to see children seated on their own and working independently. Such restricted learning goes against everything we believe in at Marshfield. However, you know we have marvellous teachers and they will quickly adapt their teaching styles and learning opportunities to ensure some fun and sparkle amidst these uncertain and worrying times.
I have attached a copy of our risk assessment for your information. Bringing children and staff back into school without exacerbating anxieties is of paramount important to us. Therefore, in my risk assessment attached, I have attempted to take every precaution possible to keep children safe, while trying to make their phased return to school a positive and joyful one. Please note that although we will be taking all steps possible to reduce the spread of coronavirus, a (medium to high) risk will still remain.
It is NOT COMPULSARY to send your child to school and you will have my full support on whatever you decide is best.
When we have learned from our suggested phase return plans for Year 6 and Year 1, I will write to you regarding the reintegration of other year groups. This situation is completely new to all of us and I am not prepared to make any false promises or reassurances at this stage.
If you have any further questions or enquiries please email or telephone the school office.
Thank you in advance for your support and understanding.
Look after yourselves and stay safe,