Threemilestone School – September 2020
All staff in our TMS team are really excited about the prospect of returning to the next stage of normality in September. We can’t wait to see 430 children buzzing through the doors, with excitement and enthusiasm, ready to learn and achieve great things, being part of our family.
We are sharing our plans for September, as they stand now, now we are near the end of term. There is more guidance being released in the middle of August, directed to schools with further guidance on opening. We will then update this post and email out to our families in time for you to prepare yourself for the start of term.
No-one can currently predict what the national, or local landscape will be like in September and so any changes will be influenced by whether the ‘R’ level has decreased or increased, amongst many other complicated factors!
To support you, we have answered questions we feel our families would need to know in the build up to the full return to school. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if there is anything which is unclear, or we have not mentioned.
When will the school day start?
We are having a half an hour staggered start, and end of the day. You will be able to drop your children off between 8.30-9.00 and pick up between 3.00-3.30. When EYFS start school, they will be able to be picked up from 2.30-3.15 to allow for extra time for communication at the end of the day. We are not allocating specific times, but anticipating that the collections will be spread and families will continue with social distancing whilst waiting. Please, only have one member of the family on site. We would appreciate it if families could then move away from the school site as quickly as possible, avoiding catching up with friends on the playground! There will not be a one way system in place, although the blue gate going from the front playground onto the pavement, will be exit only.
Please do not arrive before 8.30. The school gates will remain locked until 8.30. If children come early, this will lead to queuing on the playground which does not support people in social distancing; is not safe for our families to wait on the pavement and can add to any anxieties for children who need to start the day positively. If your children are walking to school, please ensure that they do not arrive earlier than necessary, and please put in writing what time you would like your child to leave if they are walking home.
Where do I need to drop my child off?
Children will be dropped off at their classroom’s external door, where you will be met by the class teacher. The only classroom without an external door is Mr Wake’s class and his class will go through the main door on the back playground – there will still be a member of staff there to welcome you in. There will be no playtime before school for KS2, and also no lining up in the playground for EYFS and Year 1.
A film is currently being put together by our staff team showing which door to come into, and also there is a map attached to this letter.
Does my child have to return to school?
It is very clear in the guidance that attendance is mandatory from September. We will expect all children to attend school from September unless they are unwell, or there are exceptional circumstances, for which there must be an absence request form application. There is more information later in this letter about what procedures should be followed if a child or a member of the household has symptoms of Covid.
Is my child expected to wear a school uniform?
When we return in September, we will be following our usual uniform guidance. Returning to school uniform creates a sense of pride and togetherness in a school community, which we value at TMS. Ties must be worn, and can be purchased from the office (£4 cash only). Parts of the uniform with the school logo on can be purchased from the school website and will be delivered to school, for collection the week before we start school. Sensible black school shoes must be worn. Children must not wear hoodies to school. A full PE kit must be in school at all times.
Does my child need to bring in their own equipment?
We are asking children to continue bringing in their own resources: a pencil case full of their own equipment ready for learning. Reading books are allocated to the classroom bubbles for the children to choose from to take home. PE kits will be brought in from home and hung up on allocated pegs. There will be a procedure for all sporting and musical equipment to be cleaned regularly and thoroughly. We would encourage all children to bring their own water bottle into school and please ensure it is named.
How is hygiene and cleanliness going to be managed?
Handwashing will continue to be an important part of the school day as it is the main mitigating factor in protection against Covid. Children will handwash (with soap) on entry to school, before eating, after going to the toilet and if they are using any resources in the classroom.
Tables and chairs will be wiped down twice a day (at least) and all resources used which can’t be wiped down (e.g. lego, maths counting equipment etc) will be soaked in disinfectant each night.
Lunch will be served by adults, who will be wearing gloves.
Are after school clubs starting?
For the first half of the Autumn Term, there will be no lunchtime or after school clubs. This is due to staff having to be available for the extended school day with a staggered pick up. We feel with the current guidance, we cannot hold clubs as the children attending will not come from the same bubbles, and the children attending would differ each day. This decision will be reviewed after half term.
How do ‘bubbles’ work in September?
‘Bubbles’ at TMS will exist in year groups – a ‘bubble’ of 60. This allows for interventions and movement between the 2 classes. The ‘bubbles’ are then able to play together, and eat together.
How will Snacktime work?
Children will be asked to bring in their own ‘healthy’ snack from home. There will be no snacks or juices available from the kitchen. This is due to the kitchen providing an earlier lunch service and the potential of ‘bubbles’ mixing.
How will lunchtime work?
There will be 2 ‘bubbles’ in the hall at one time, separated by a significant gap, in excess of 2 metres. All the children in the year group come in together and sit in their classes. Children with packed lunches will continue as usual. Children with school dinners will be served their meal by staff in the hall.
In the system we will have in place at the start of term, meals will be served and allocated to each child. There will be no choices, or opportunities to not have some parts of the meal they may not be so keen on, or, for example, not have gravy. Staff will clearly be understanding when encouraging the children to eat as much as they can, but we realise this may be a factor in deciding whether your child has school meals or packed lunches.
The most exciting part of this new plan, we feel, as a school, is that all children will remain and sit together for the allocated time. This will enable staff to encourage and teach correct table manners, social skills and conversation, without children dashing off because they feel they are missing play time. After the allocated time, all the children leave together and the tables and stools will be cleaned before the next ‘bubble’ comes in.
If your child is rather slow at eating, this may be something you practice over the summer; we are aiming for 25 minutes for Years 1 and 2, and 20 minutes for Years 3-6.
To begin with children in Early Years, will be served their lunch in the classroom, so their ‘bubble’ remains in one area. We will be able to be more flexible with timings.
Will the school still have assemblies?
We are planning NOT to have assembly gatherings of more than one ‘bubble’ together in one room. However, we recognise that assemblies are an important part of the school day, and so assemblies will happen through Zoom on Monday and Wednesday, with our usual Friday celebration assembly.
Will Wrap around care still be open?
Initially, we are limiting numbers to our Wrap around care (Shells, Pebbles and Bibbles). According to the guidance, it is safe to continue, keeping smaller and consistent bubbles. It is probable that these numbers will rise, but for a September start, we are limiting numbers to:
- Shells Max 20 children
- Pebbles Max 20 children (years 4, 5, 6)
- Bibbles Max 20 children (EYFS, years 1, 2, 3)
What will the classrooms look like?
The classrooms at TMS will look as they usually do. Our usual practice is not to have ‘groups’ of tables with children sitting face to face for a significant amount of time throughout the day. Children are also able to sit together, facing forward, in whole class teaching in front of the teacher ‘on the carpet’. Equipment and surfaces will be regularly cleaned, but unfortunately we are still unable to have any soft toys or furnishings as we are unable to wipe these down.
Can visitors come into the school?
We are allowed to have family support workers, social workers, SEND professionals and peripatetic music teachers into school. Volunteers are able to come in and hear readers, as long as they stick with the same ‘bubble’.
Will PPA days still be able to go ahead?
1 day every 2 weeks, we are still able to go ahead with the day where teaching staff have their ‘Planning, Preparation and Assessment’ statutory time. The day in school, from Years 1-6, looks exciting for the children as they have a rotation of learning in our newly named ‘Galaxy Day!’ This is where Mrs Browning teaches music, Miss Andrew teaches PE, Miss Hilbery teaches French in KS2, and Mrs Ewart, Miss Tocher, Mrs Prout, Mrs Rowland and Mrs Blight also lead learning activities. This is still able to go ahead. The member of staff is able to enter the ‘bubble’ to lead the learning, but has to ensure they are keeping a distance in their interactions with children. In EYFS the children will also be involved in a rotation of learning with adults from within their bubble.
Will swimming still go ahead?
With current guidelines in place, we will be unable to go to the Leisure Centre for swimming lessons.
Will there be residentials planned?
We are currently unable to book all residentials for Summer 2021. Before we do, we need to thoroughly check on insurance and terms and conditions of the visits. Although we want to remain positive and have something to look forward to, we also have to bear in mind the probability of more lockdowns, and we do not want to put families under the financial pressure and face the possibility of losing money.
What is the hierarchy of protective measures which is often talked about?
Essential measures include:
- a requirement that people who are ill stay at home
- robust hand and respiratory hygiene
- enhanced cleaning arrangements
- active engagement with NHS Test and Trace
- formal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in school wherever possible and minimise potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practicable
Does the school have my up to date contact details?
In the annual reports sent home in May, there was a data sheet with all the current details we have in school. Every child needs to return their data sheet either signed confirming the information is correct, or with any amendments which need to happen. Many families have already returned theirs – thank you. If you would like another copy to be sent home, please contact the office.
If a child or staff member becomes unwell during the school day
- If your child, or anyone in your household is displaying symptoms, you must not send your child to school.
- If a child is unwell in any shape or form, they are to remain at home.
General advice is for anyone feeling ill to be sent home.
- If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of taste/smell in an education or childcare setting, they must be sent home and advised to follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection guidance.
- The meeting room by the school office is allocated for children to remain until collection.
- If they need to go to the toilet while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate toilet if possible. The toilet should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.
- If a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs), PPE should be worn by staff caring for the child while they await collection
- If two or three children become unwell at the same time, we will try to isolate them where possible.
- Where a child or staff member is taken ill with Covid-19 symptoms, a test should be booked. Children and staff must not come into the school if they have symptoms, and must be sent home to self-isolate if they develop them in school.
- All children can be tested, including children under 5, but children aged 11 and under will need to be helped by their parents/carers if using a home testing kit.
- By the autumn term, all schools will be provided with a small number of home testing kits that they can give directly to parents/carers collecting a child who has developed symptoms at school, or staff who have developed symptoms at school, where they think providing one will significantly increase the likelihood of them getting tested. Advice will be provided alongside these kits.
- Parents or staff will need to inform the School immediately of the results of a test:
- if someone tests negative, if they feel well and no longer have symptoms similar to coronavirus (COVID-19), they can stop self-isolating. They could still have another virus, such as a cold or flu – in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people until they are better. Other members of their household can stop self-isolating.
- if someone tests positive, they should follow the ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’ and must continue to self-isolate for at least 7 days from the onset of their symptoms and then return to school only if they do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste. This is because a cough or anosmia can last for several weeks once the infection has gone. The 7-day period starts from the day when they first became ill. If they still have a high temperature, they should keep self-isolating until their temperature returns to normal.
- Other members of their household should continue self-isolating for the full 14 days.
Protocol for dealing with a confirmed case of Covid 19
- Once a positive test has been confirmed, TPAT must be informed immediately and Mr Eddy, Health and Safety, will contact Public Health England.
- The PHE will ask for the following information:
- Pupil/Staff member name
- Pupil/ Staff member address
- Date of test
- Location of test
- School URN and address
- The health protection team will work with schools in this situation to guide them through the actions they need to take. Based on the advice from the health protection team, schools must send home those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive, advising them to self-isolate for 14 days since they were last in close contact with that person when they were infectious. Close contact means:
- direct close contacts – face to face contact with an infected individual for any length of time, within 1 metre, including being coughed on, a face to face conversation, or unprotected physical contact (skin-to-skin)
- proximity contacts – extended close contact (within 1 to 2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with an infected individual
- travelling in a small vehicle, like a car, with an infected person
- Household members of those contacts who are sent home do not need to self-isolate themselves unless the child, young person or staff member who is self-isolating subsequently develops symptoms. If someone in a class or group that has been asked to self-isolate develops symptoms themselves within their 14-day isolation period, they should follow ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’. They should get a test, and:
- if the test delivers a negative result, they must remain in isolation for the remainder of the 14-day isolation period as they could still develop the coronavirus (COVID-19) within the remaining days.
- if the test result is positive, they should inform their setting immediately, and must isolate for at least 7 days from the onset of their symptoms (which could mean the self-isolation ends before or after the original 14-day isolation period). Their household should self-isolate for at least 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms, following ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’
- In the event of having to call PHE, the government recommends that schools keep a record of pupils and staff in each group, and any close contact that takes place between children and staff in different groups. This should be a proportionate recording process. Schools do not need to ask pupils to record everyone they have spent time with each day or ask staff to keep definitive records in a way that is overly burdensome.
- Schools should not request evidence of negative test results or other medical evidence before admitting children or welcoming them back after a period of self-isolation.
- Further guidance is available on testing and tracing for coronavirus (COVID-19).
Containing a Possible Outbreak
- If schools have two or more confirmed cases within 14 days, or an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus (COVID-19) is suspected, they may have an outbreak, and must continue to work with their local health protection team who will be able to advise if additional action is required.
- In some cases, health protection teams may recommend that a larger number of other pupils self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole site or year group. If schools are implementing controls from this list, addressing the risks they have identified and therefore reducing transmission risks, whole school closure based on cases within the school will not generally be necessary, and should not be considered except on the advice of health protection teams.
- In consultation with the local Director of Public Health, where an outbreak in a school is confirmed, a mobile testing unit may be dispatched to test others who may have been in contact with the person who has tested positive. Testing will first focus on the person’s class, followed by their year group, then the whole school if necessary, in line with routine public health outbreak control practice.
We are really looking forward to welcoming back our whole school community on the 7th September.
If there are any questions, as always, please do not hesitate to contact us – there is no such thing as a silly question, or a worry which cannot be shared!