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We are now offering 30hrs to nursery children from September 2020! Please email the school office for more information.

St Swithun's Church of England Primary Academy

Valuing individuals, aspiring and achieving together in faith

COVID19 management in school - information for parents

Welcoming pupils back to school safely in September

The government is planning for all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. Our school will be open to all children from the start of September and children will be expected to attend every day.

Over the past few months, our school leaders have been working closely with teachers, the Local Authority, SNMAT and unions to ensure that our school reopens in the safest way possible. 

We successfully welcomed back several year groups during the summer term. We thank our parents for the feedback that enabled us to work in partnership for the safety and educaton of our children and our teachers and support staff for all that they have done to keep our pupils safe.

The safety of our pupils and staff is our main priority. We have put robust measures in place to reopen our schools in a way that enables pupils to continue their education and development while minimising the risk of spreading the virus. These new measures will require a number of changes to how we will organise your child’s day as detailed in the letter to parents 28.08.20.

Please contact the school office (office@st-swithuns.snmat.org.uk) if you have any questions or concerns about your child returning to school. Hopefully, the steps we are taking will reassure you and your family.

We’ve answered some of the most common questions that parents have asked our schools below. 

 

Why are schools reopening now?

Returning to school is vital for children’s:

  • Educational progress
  • Wellbeing
  • Wider development.

This is why it is important that all pupils return to school in September. Missing out on more time in the classroom risks pupils falling further behind.

The opening of schools also allows those who are caring for children to resume their working lives.

The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus is very low. The negative health impacts of being out of school are more likely to affect children. A recent study by Public Health England found that only 70 children, out of 1.6 million who had returned to school in June, tested positive for COVID-19 and just 128 members of staff. Since reopening in June, only 30 schools reported an outbreak – where two or more people were infected – which was just 0.01% of the total number open, or one in 10,000 schools.

 

What are schools doing to keep children safe?

There is evidence that the risk to children from COVID-19 infection is lower than in the general population.

We have been planning and preparing for reopening for several months and have put detailed plans and comprehensive measures in place to enable our children to continue their education and development while minimising the risk of spreading the virus. 

We will be using protective bubbles to help manage risk. A bubble for us is a class (2 year groups) who spend their day together, away from other bubbles. Staggered start and finish times further help to reduce the number of children entering and leaving the school site at any one time.

We have also thought carefully about the curriculum and will be avoiding activities that bring children into very close contact with each other. Children will use individual resources rather than sharing materials with other children. If any resources are going to be used by more than one child during the day, then they will be carefully disinfected before being used by a different child.

We have enhanced cleaning procedures in our schools. Cleaning is being carried out more often in classrooms and all communal areas, such as toilets and corridors.  Surfaces in the classroom and dining hall including tables and chairs, and frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, will be cleaned regularly during the day.

We will also use the health and safety measures that have become familiar during the pandemic, including:

  • Regularly washing hands thoroughly
  • Practising good respiratory hygiene (such as adopting ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach with coughs and sneezes)
  • Following social distancing measures, where these are possible
  • Using contact tracing if there are positive cases.

 

Will children and staff be expected to wear face coverings in school?

The Government has issued new guidance about face coverings in schools (please click here to access this guidance). The guidance applies to secondary schools, but not to pupils in primary schools where the risks to children are lower.

In areas where there are additional local restrictions in place (these areas are listed on gov.uk), face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils in secondary schools when moving around the school, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain. It will not be necessary to wear face coverings in the classroom, where protective measures already mean the risks are lower, and where they can inhibit learning.

 

Is it compulsory for pupils to attend in September?

It is vital that children return to school for the sake of their educational progress, wellbeing and their wider development. Missing out on more time in the classroom risks children falling further behind.

School attendance is mandatory from the beginning of the autumn term. This means that it is your legal duty as a parent to send your child to school regularly. The usual rules on school attendance will apply and the government is asking that schools take action to enforce attendance if a child misses school without a valid reason.

A small number of pupils will still be unable to attend in September in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result themselves, or because they are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19. You must let us know if this applies to your child.

During the autumn term, we will focus on children’s wellbeing as well as their education to smooth their return to school. We are very aware that many children have been away from school for a long time and that the experience of coming back will be difficult for some children. If your child has found lockdown exceptionally difficult and you are worried about them settling back into school, please contact the school to discuss how we can support your child to return.

We understand that some parents and carers will have concerns about their children returning to school in September. If you consider that your child may have additional risk factors, please do contct school office@st-swthuns.snmat.org.uk or hthomas@st-swithuns.snmat.org.uk

 

What can parents do to help?

There are a number of things parents can do to help children return to school safely and happily:

  1. Make sure your child attends
    • The government has made school attendance mandatory from September.
    • Schools will record attendance and follow up on absences.

2. Know when your child is expected back in school

  • The time that your child is expected to start school may have changed, so please make sure you have carefully read the latest correspondence from the school 
  • Plan your routine to make sure your child gets to school on time.

3. Encourage your child to behave well at school

  • It will be very helpful if you can talk gently to your child about their behaviour at school before they return. We expect children to be kind and fair and to do what their teachers ask them, straightaway. This includes washing their hands regularly and not standing or sitting too close to their friends.

4. Help reduce the spread of COVID-19

  • If your child has symptoms of COVID-19, has recently had a positive COVID-19 test result, is self-isolating or is a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 they should not attend school. If your child is unable to attend school for one of these reasons, please report it to the school immediately via the office phone number: 01777702043 or email: office@st-swithuns.snmat.org.uk
  • Children will be expected to clean their hands on entering and leaving school and regularly throughout the day. Please help by making sure that your child knows how to wash their hands thoroughly, using soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. 

 

What will happen if a pupil falls ill or develops symptoms at school?

Any child who falls ill or develops COVID-19 symptoms in school will need to be collected from school immediately. A child who is unwell will be supervised and kept comfortable in a room with a desigated toilet and washroom facilities before being collected by a parent or carer from the main door (main school). Nursery and Reception children will be collected from the FSU. There is a First Aid resource in each bubble’s home base (the area of the school where they will have all or most of their lessons)

 

What will happen if a pupil or member of staff tests positive for COVID-19?

If a pupil or member of staff develops one or more of the symptoms of COVID-19, they will be sent home and asked to book a test.

If someone tests positive, the school will contact Public Health England (PHE) and follow their guidance. Following advice from PHE, the school will contact parents by text message if their child has been in close or direct contact with someone who has tested positive, advising them to self-isolate for 14 days.

The DfE has also published two information leaflets for parents: Returning to primary school: what parents need to know

ACCESS APPLICATION FORM UPDATED 09.06.2020

Department for Education Coronavirus helpline - this helpline has been set up to answer questions about the virus related to education.  Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline.

You can help to slow the spread of Coronavirus!

Make sure you and your children follow these general principles to prevent spreading any respiratory virus:

  • Wash your hands often – with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or an alcohol-based sanitiser if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home and don’t attend work or school.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home.
  • If you’re worried about your symptoms, please call NHS 111 – don’t go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment.

 

Please follow this link to access an nhs video that shows the most effective ways to wash hands:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/

 

Resources to explain Coronavirus to children.

 

Some useful points of contact for support

  • Parentline 07520 619919 – Healthy Family Teams confidential texting service to provide parents and carers advice around feeding, child development, parenting advice and support, emotional health and wellbeing, behaviour difficulties and family health.
  • Chat Health 07507 329952 - this is a confidential texting service for 11 to 19 year olds in Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.
  • ChildLine 0800 1111 www.childline.org.uk  
  • Kooth - www.kooth.com - this is an online counselling service.
  • Health4kids – www.healthforkids.co.uk – this is an NHS site supporting young children and parents.
  • Notts Help Yourself – www.nottshelpyourself.org.uk – this is a site for advice, information and local services available.
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services crisis team  - Tel 01158542299 or 01158440560 or email CAMHSCrisisTeam@nottshc.nhs.uk
  • Young Minds – www.youngmids.org.uk
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