Thank you all of you who have responded so promptly to our google form sent last week. I realise that many of you will want to wait for your decision to be a more informed one. Of course, this is fine, and we understand.
As with everything that this lock down has brought us, the phased reopening of schools brings so many more questions. I hope to be able to answer as many of them as possible so that you understand and feel reassured with the protective measures we are taking to make the school a low-risk place for your child/children. No doubt you have been watching the news coverage on this matter so are beginning to understand what welcoming the children back to Nightingale might look like.
In organising your children into their smaller groups, we will of course take into account their needs, friends and the adults of whom they know and are used to working with. Our staff know your children well so are in a good place to do this. Children will stay within these groups for the day; learning together, taking breaks and lunchtimes together and of course having fun together. For our older children, they will be allocated their own desk and resources which will be kept consistent from day to day. We know that, unlike older children and adults, early years children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. Therefore, the consistent use of groups and staffing will be applied and other protective measures practiced.
During planned staggered break and lunch times, each group will be allocated a designated zone to play in. We are so fortunate to have so many diverse outside areas on our school site that we can utilise whilst continuing to keep groups separate.
Those children that have been attending school since closure and those who have been in our key worker group will be part of the returning children’s groups e.g. a Year 1 child whose parents are key workers will be grouped with their Year 1 friends and not continue to be part of the key worker group.
School Catering Service
We encourage our children to take up the offer of a school lunch especially those in Year R and 1 who have universal free school lunches (different from Free School Meals). Our kitchen will be open and will be operating a tasty and nutritious menu as always. We are, however, seeking options that will allow this service to be efficiently run, so that groups can stay together. This may take the form of a picnic lunch offer so some year groups can eat comfortably in either their classrooms or outside.
Staggered starts and finishes
Each class will be allocated a start and finish time which will remain the same. We will let you know in due course. There will be an allocated area where the hand overs will take place. We have chosen spaces on our school grounds where you will be able to apply social distancing measures to keep everyone safe.
- Keyworker Tarmacked area outside the hall
- Year R Grass area close to the office, outside Year R gates
- Year 1 Grass area outside of picket fence near Year 2 classrooms
- Year 6 Playground next to MUGA and the adventure playground
On arrival, you will need to wait in your allotted area for the handover. A staff member will signal/greet your child so you know you can say goodbye and send your child over to the staff member. Staff will then organise their groups ready to enter the school safely. The hand over at the end of the day will take the form of a queuing system. Staff will line their groups up, check the parent is there and then send them over to you. Communication between staff and parents will need to be kept to a minimum. Any detailed communications can be emailed to the office to be forwarded on to the relevant member of staff.
Entrances and Exits will be sign posted to allow for the safe flow of people to and from our school site. There will be signs and staff on hand to assist and direct you. To minimise the amount of people on site, we are asking that only one parent does this hand over. Younger siblings who cannot be cared for at home can come on site for these handovers.
You will know that these times in school are usually a social time, but we ask you to avoid this temptation by not gathering at entrance gates and doors, and leaving promptly for the smooth running of the school and to minimise contact in the interest of infection control.
Hygiene Protective Steps
We shall be asking the children to follow school instructions on hygiene, such as handwashing and sanitising, including hand washing as soon as they arrive in school in the morning. Children need to form a sense of belonging again, so it is important that they should be wearing school uniform which will need to be washed daily. Where this is an issue for parents, we ask that instead they wear clothes as close to our school uniform as possible. Any coats or clothing items that cannot be machine washed should be avoided.
As well as frequent hand cleaning we will be returning to the messages around good respiratory hygiene practice – catch it, bin it, kill it.
In preparation for the return, our teachers have been clearing their classrooms and other learning environments of unnecessary items and resources with a particular focus on removing soft furnishings, soft toys and toys and resources that are hard to clean.
Our school will be cleaned throughout the day as well as additional hours after school. We are extremely thankful to our cleaners who have agreed to do many additional hours to keep us all safer.
Shielding and Clinically Vulnerable Children
Children who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable due to pre-existing medical conditions have been advised to shield. We do not expect these children to be attending school. Clinically vulnerable children are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. A small minority of children will fall into this category, and parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.
Wrap around Care
Unfortunately, given the current school’s capacity, we are unable to run Breakfast Club, The Roost and after school clubs. Our staffing numbers and the stringent measures in place mean that this is sadly not possible.
If a child or member of staff develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus, they will be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days with fellow house members isolating for 14 days. Any child developing the symptoms during a school day, will be moved to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door with supervision until collection. The group of children that the child is in and members of staff with that group will not be asked to isolate.
Closure on Friday Afternoons
Please note, on Friday afternoons the school will need to be closed for deep cleaning. We will be asking you to collect your child/children in staggered waves from 12:45pm.
You will know that schools were instructed to remain open during the Easter and summer half term. We have not had an instruction from the Government to open during the summer holiday.
Other Schools Provision
Each school, depending upon their own unique circumstances will have developed their own phrased return. This may differ from ours. We are extremely fortunate at Nightingale to have this phased reopening to this scale given the stringent measures we are putting into place.
Hope this helps in answering some of your questions and concerns. I will endeavour to keep you up to date, at the earliest possible stage, as our plans progress further.
Yours sincerely and with best wishes,
Mrs Hannah Beckett