Dear Parents and Carers,
By now, I’m sure you’re well aware that schools may reopen on June 1st to Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils if the government thinks it is safe to do by then.
Since the announcement, we have been busily making plans of how we, as a school, can prepare for our children returning, making sure that we do all we can to ensure that we are ready.
We are currently conducting thorough risk assessments and putting together an action plan that follows the government guidance that has been trickling through this week and although not all of our plans have been finalized as yet, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share with you some of the measures that we will be putting into place:
· There will be a change to school hours for all year groups attending. This will be to ensure that pupils can arrive safely and be collected safely. Start and end times will be staggered.. More detailed timings will follow next week.
· Only one adult will be allowed to drop off/pick up and parents will not be allowed on site to minimize the congregation at classroom doors. Where possible, please try not to bring siblings. We are currently looking at our school site to create a one way drop and collection process as social distancing will need to be followed to ensure the safety of everyone.
· We can only have a maximum of 15 pupils in each classroom. This means that any children attending are unlikely to be in their usual classroom or in their usual classes as pupils will need to be grouped differently during this time. No Reception classes will be used during this time as guidance specifically states that soft furnishings/toys/other resources will need to be removed. Rather than do this, we have taken the decision to move Reception children to another area of school.
· Children will be placed into groups of no more than 15 and will be kept in these groups every day that they attend. They will sit in the same seat and have their own resources available on their tables so they do not have to share equipment with others. There will be no mixing with other groups.
· We are not in a position to have siblings who are in other year groups so please do not put us in the difficult position of having to say no.
· We will not be able to offer breakfast clubs and afterschool clubs from Monday 1st June.
· Playtimes and lunchtimes will be staggered to ensure that the groups in school do not mix.
· We will continue to provide provision for key worker families that have been attending since we closed on 20th March. They will stay within their current group and will be kept separate from other children within the school. These places will still need to be booked on a weekly basis and in advance so that we can staff this provision effectively. We will not be able to accept this group of pupils other than days when parents are at work and proof of working hours must be provided.
· We are putting plans in place to teach subjects such as Literacy and Maths however we will be unable to pick up where we left off with our normal curriculum. Children’s emotional wellbeing will the most important thing.
· We will continue to send home learning resources for children who are at home.
One of the most common questions we have been asked is what if parents decide that their children will not be returning. Whilst government advice is that schools need to strongly encourage children to attend, we have also been told that there are no plans to fine parents if they choose not to send their children.
You probably have many questions – so do we! For every question we think we’ve solved, another 4 pop up. I will inform parents of more details as soon as we have finalized them. Please be patient with us as we try to put together all of our plans as to how this is going to work. I will be sending out more detailed information to each returning year group next week.
As I said at the beginning of this week, the safety of both our pupils and the staff here at Stow Heath will always be my top priority. You can be assured that we will do our very best to take every step to make our school as safe as possible. We will do our upmost to explain to returning children why school is a bit different to what it was before, why they can’t mix with other children and why their classrooms looks different. Whilst we will try to keep children apart, it seems almost impossible to say that we will be able to maintain social distancing. I’m sure parents will agree with me that, although we will do our best to try, due to the age of the children, social distancing cannot be guaranteed.
I have spoken to many parents this week and I cannot thank you enough for the support that you have given our school. The kind messages we receive mean so very much. It’s certainly not how I would want to reopen the school but, as ever, we will do our level best to make this transition a successful one.
For now, stay safe.