COVID-19 update and going back to school

26 August 2020

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope you have all been having a wonderful summer and this letter finds you well. The school is very nearly ready for the return of all pupils on Thursday 3rd September and our new hall area looks fantastic.

The school is still in negotiations with school dinner providers so I must remind you that we are not able to offer school dinners for the start of term and will be working hard to resolve this situation.  If providing a packed lunch causes you any problem, please contact us and we will do our best to support you.

Since writing to you before the end of the previous term, we have been carefully planning for the return of all year groups and been adapting the risk assessment to support us in minimising any risks of whole school opening to both pupils and staff. If you wish to read the full risk assessment document, I will be posting a link on our school website.

Our most important consideration is the safety and welfare of the children and staff.  The staff are still the same welcoming and friendly people and firstly, we want to make school as ‘normal’ as possible but keeping within the Government guidelines.

I write to update you with some information about the start of term but also to reassure you that these procedures can and will be adapted if needed to ensure the safe operation of the school for your children.

Dropping Off and Picking Up

We are using the main school gate and you have a ‘window’ to drop off and pick up your children.  The idea being that not everyone will arrive at the same time and please ensure you are socially distancing keeping a distance of 2 metres from others. If you have children in Pre-School and main school, you can drop off and pick up at the Pre-School times so that you, or your older children, are not waiting around.  On arrival at school, all children will need to go straight into their classroom; they will not be using cloakroom areas and will have all their coats etc by their desks.

  • Entry window 8:30 – 8:40 for Pre-school
  • Entry window 8:40 – 8:55 for Reception to Y6
  • Exit window 3:00 – 3:05 for Pre-School
  • Exit window 3:05 – 3:20 for Reception to Y6
  • Pre-School children will enter and leave the building through the classroom door to the playground.
  • Reception, Y1 and Y2 children will use the main school reception entrance door.
  • KS2 children will use the Verney building main door.

The expectation is that parents will not generally be allowed onto school grounds, however, we are mindful that some children may need to be settled in if they are distressed.  If this is the case, a parent will be allowed onto the school playground with their child to settle and reassure them so that they can enter school. All we ask is that you maintain social distancing and leave as soon as your child is in class.  If your child/children are confident enough to proceed to class on their own then please let them do so, we are more than happy for older East Claydon children to walk their siblings to the doors if that helps.

We are also aware that we may have times when the gate could become congested and so if that happens we will use a two gate system where you will enter from the playground gate, walk along the playground and leave via the gate near the staff carpark.

General Principles to Minimise Risk

All the children will be reminded about social distancing and the need to stay within their bubble when in school. They will have an allotted place on the playground/field but if the weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse then we have plans in place to stagger playtimes on the tarmac playground. Each bubble has an allocated toilet area and in line with the current government guidelines, there is a continued emphasis on hand washing/sanitising and we will be wiping surfaces in the classroom regularly.

Social distancing is much harder for younger children and we will ensure that we are mindful of group sizes when they are participating in activities in the classroom. Our older children will sit side by side in class, facing forwards rather than in table groups and we have organised the classrooms so there is a gap between each table.  Each child will have their own stationary to use and they will be reminded not to borrow from each other. If you wish, your child may bring in a small pencil case but it should be made of a material that could be wiped down daily. We know fluffy pencil cases from a well-known high street retailer are popular but we think these will be difficult to wipe down safely.

We will be keeping rooms well ventilated. We need to find out if the air conditioning units in the Verney building recycle the air or draw in fresh air, so until we know for sure they will not be used.

Staff will wipe down surfaces before and after eating (which will take place in the classroom), please send your child/children in with water bottles which will be brought home every night to be washed and refilled for the following day. Lunch boxes, snack pots etc are fine to be brought in and will be sent home each day.

Please can you minimise what is brought into school; children will only really need a water bottle, their packed lunch, coats etc, reading book and pencil case if necessary. If your child requires any medicines, please send these in on their first day back. Please ensure the correct paperwork has been completed for medicines.

Uniform

Children will need to wear school uniform. The Government guidance states that uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, nor do they need to be cleaned using methods which are different from normal.

Children in Reception to Y6 will have a PE session on both Tuesday and Wednesday.  Please send your child to school in their PE kits on these days.

Illness

We are approaching that time of year when coughs, colds etc become more common. To keep the whole school community safe we all need to make sure we follow the public health guidelines and get tested if experiencing any symptoms.

Our children sometimes just get a high temperature and I know I will not have been the only parent to dose them up on Calpol etc and send them into school.  Please just be more aware in these exceptional times. It is very important that you inform us if your child is unwell as soon as possible so that we can discuss next steps with you.

We will be actively engaging with Public Health England and any Track and Trace initiatives.

Face Coverings

We currently have no plans to ask children to wear face coverings in school and will be following the guidelines set out by the Government for Primary aged children.

In summary, I hope this information answers some of the general questions you will have had about the school reopening.  Please direct any further comments or questions to office@eastclaydon.org.uk.

Thank you for your continued support and I cannot wait for the school to be full of children again.

Yours sincerely,

Mr G Avery,
Headteacher