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Dear Parents/Carers,

 

We are looking forward to welcoming all our lovely children back from Thursday 3rd September. We understand that many of you will have mixed feelings, which may include excitement, relief, worry, fear or a whole load of other completely valid emotions. We take our responsibilities very seriously, and hope to reassure you about all the things we are doing to make this a safe and happy return to school.

 

This update follows the detailed information we sent out before the summer. Most of those arrangements are unchanged, so I will simply remind you of them, while giving a few extra details and highlighting the few places where guidance has changed. I have also included the unchanged arrangements at the end of this letter, so that you have it all in one place. It’s long, but hopefully useful.

 

Many things about school will feel just like they used to, and there are far more similarities than differences. Although your child will be moving into a new class, with a new teacher, we don’t have a lot of staffing changes and we are all familiar, friendly faces. Mr Kernaghan is now a daddy, and we welcome back Ms Brown, our mid-day supervisor, who returns from maternity leave. You may remember that Miss Parsons went on maternity leave before lockdown, and her teaching assistant role is currently shared between Miss Meaden – who is well known to the children - and Mr Winterbottom, who joined us in February. We welcome Miss Moss to our team as a Learning Support Assistant in Reception (alongside Mrs Russ and Ms Baumforth). Mrs Jones is not returning at the start of term, but she is well and we hope to see her back soon. Mrs Mascia will be based alongside Mrs Oldale in Year 6, for much of the time, and Mr Winterbottom alongside Miss Savage in Year 3.

 

The layout of school is unchanged, so your child will be taught in the classroom they were expecting to move to. Classrooms are still bright, warm, welcoming environments, with displays on the walls. Teachers and Teaching Assistants always work hard to make them look and feel lovely, and now is no different (just without so many soft furnishings). Desks face the front, with some spacing, but this is how Key Stage 2 classrooms were often arranged anyway. The children are still sitting next to someone and will still interact with a learning partner in lessons. Where practical, they each have their own pack of stationery etc. on their desks, which I think they will love. Although we will encourage children to keep some physical distance when they can, they are in a class bubble and should feel very much like part of that group – all together, in work and play, and not isolated. Class discussions and opportunities to share ideas will run through every lesson, and we’ll actively encourage togetherness in lots of ways.

 

We are able to manage the flow around school and keep groups separate without the need for lots of warnings, stop signs and barrier tape (just a bit of that outside). The children will not feel like they are walking through a crime scene or a maze – school looks very much like it always did.

 

The structure of the day will be largely the same as it was. Aside from staggered starts and finishes, which in any case are not too different from our normal times, they will still start with registration and Collective Worship, have maths and English lessons in the morning, and a full range of other lessons in the afternoon (nursery and reception will maintain their child-led learning through play, including lots of time outside). There will still be a morning break – outside when the weather permits – and a lunch break. Lunch will feel a little different, as we have to eat in the classrooms for now, but they will still have a chunk of time to play, and this will also be outside whenever possible. Play areas are similar to before, although each class will have a separate space – by staggering break times, they will actually find they have more room to run around and fewer arguments over equipment! Games will have to be non-contact, but we have lots of ideas and can teach/direct them towards particular activities that they might enjoy.

 

Collective Worship (a Church of England school’s version of assembly) will still take place each day, but in classrooms. Sometimes this will be led by the class teacher, or by children in the class, and sometimes it will be led by me, beamed into the classroom through the magic of technology, so that we can all come together as a school. We are exploring other things we can do to promote a feeling of togetherness as a whole school community, without being able to be in the same room.

 

PE lessons will still happen, with a few tweaks and adjustments. We will use the running track frequently, go outside for PE whenever we can, and be active in the hall and classroom if the weather is bad.

 

As I said in my previous letter, children will follow a broad and balanced curriculum in all subjects.  Key areas of the curriculum that were not covered because of the lockdown will be prioritised at the start of the academic year. Teachers have worked hard together to incorporate these priorities into their planning for September and beyond. As we always do, we will tailor our teaching to each child’s understanding and ability, and no one will be left behind. Of course everyone will be anxious about lost learning time, but we are confident that over time the effect of this will be reduced. We know that there will be gaps, but we will back-track, consolidate anything which is shaky, teach anything which wasn’t taught, and move forward from there. There will be a special emphasis on reading, across all subjects. Children will be able to resume bringing home reading books, within their bubble.

 

We will prioritise mental health and wellbeing – always important, and never more so than now. We will ease children in gently, and be very responsive to any difficulties they may have in adjusting back into school life. They will get the help and support they need.

 

We are excited to see them again, and we will do everything we can to make the full reopening of school a positive experience for everyone.

 

Changes to guidance since my previous letter

 

The main changes since my last letter, in July, are around quarantine and self-isolation.

 

Quarantine after travelling abroad

 

It is important for anyone thinking about going abroad to be aware of the latest quarantine rules at the time, and to stick to them. If you visit any countries which are not on the Government’s exempt list, you will need to quarantine for 14 days from the day you arrive back in the UK, and your child may not return to school until this period is complete. You currently have to quarantine on your return if you have visited Croatia, Austria, Trinidad and Tobago, France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos, Aruba, Belgium, the Bahamas, Andorra, Spain and Luxembourg. This list is changing regularly, so make sure you know the up-to-date status of any country you visit.

 

Self-isolation and household isolation

 

The stay at home guidance for anyone with symptoms of Coronavirus has extended from 7 days to 10 days (14 days still applies to close contacts). Here is the (rather complicated) official public health wording from the Government as it stands:

 

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19 – go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/ to arrange. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

If you are not experiencing symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19 you also must self-isolate for at least 10 days, starting from the day the test was taken. If you develop symptoms during this isolation period, you must restart your 10-day isolation from the day you develop symptoms.

After 10 days, if you still have a temperature you should continue to self-isolate and seek medical advice. You do not need to self-isolate after 10 days if you only have a cough or loss of sense of smell or taste, as these symptoms can last for several weeks after the infection has gone. See the ending isolation section below for more information.

If you live with others, all other household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the household became ill or if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken. If anyone else in the household starts displaying symptoms, they must stay at home for at least 10 days from when their symptoms appear, regardless of what day they are on in their original 14-day isolation period. The ending isolation section below has more information.

If you have symptoms, try and stay as far away from other members of your household as possible. It is especially important to stay away from anyone who is clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable with whom you share a household.

Reduce the spread of infection in your home by washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser, and cover coughs and sneezes.

Consider alerting people who you do not live with and have had close contact within the last 48 hours to let them know you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Following a positive test result, you will receive a request by text, email or phone to log into the NHS Test and Trace service website and provide information about recent close contacts.

If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, then use the NHS 111 online COVID-19 service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

 

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms again at any point after ending your first period of isolation (self or household) then you must follow the guidance on self-isolation again.

 

Ending self-isolation

 

If you have had symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test, then you may end your self-isolation after 10 days and return to your normal routine if you do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell or taste. If you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal and seek medical advice.

After 10 days, if you just have a cough or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), you do not need to continue to self-isolate. This is because a cough or anosmia can last for several weeks once the infection has gone. The 10-day period starts from the day when you first became ill.

If you continue to feel unwell and have not already sought medical advice, you should use the NHS 111 online COVID-19 service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

 

Ending household isolation

After 10 days, if the first person to become ill feels better and no longer has symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste they can return to their normal routine.

If you live with others, then everyone else in the household who remains well should end their isolation after 14 days. This 14-day period starts from the day the first person in the household became ill. People in the household who remain well after 14 days are unlikely to be infectious.

If anyone in the household becomes unwell during the 14-day period, they should arrange to have a test to see if they have COVID-19 – go to testing to arrange. If their test result is positive, they must follow the same advice for people with COVID-19 symptoms – that is, after 10 days of their symptoms starting, if they feel better and no longer have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell or taste – they can also return to their normal routine. However, if their test result is negative, they must continue with isolation as part of the household for the full 14 days.

Should someone develop COVID-19 symptoms late in the 14-day household isolation period (for example, on day 10 or later) the isolation period for the rest of the household does not need to be extended. Only the person with new COVID-19 symptoms has to stay at home for at least a further 10 days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have COVID-19 - go to testing to arrange.

At the end of the 14-day period, anyone in the household who has not become unwell can return to their normal routine.

If any person in the household with COVID-19 symptoms has not had any signs of improvement and has not already sought medical advice, they should use the NHS 111 online COVID-19 service. If they do not have internet access, they should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency, they should dial 999.

A cough or anosmia (a loss of, or change, in the sense of taste or smell), may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the infection having cleared. A persistent cough or anosmia does not mean someone must continue to self-isolate for more than 10 days.

Everyone finds this confusing – don’t worry! We can help, so please talk to us if you think there is any chance your child or your household needs to self-isolate and we will go through it with you.

Basically, if anyone becomes unwell at any point with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a change in their normal sense of taste or smell, that person must have a test as quickly as possible, and self-isolate along with their whole household and support bubble until either they have a negative test result or they have isolated for 10 days. Err on the side of caution, and keep them off if you are not sure, but you must take your child for a test if they have Coronavirus symptoms. Please keep us fully informed, so that we can follow the correct procedures and cooperate with NHS test and trace. The whole household should self-isolate for 14 days, under these circumstances, or until the person with symptoms has had a negative test result.

If anyone in your household develops symptoms, your child must stay away for 14 days in self-isolation (or until the person with symptoms returns a negative test result), but you only need to get them tested if they develop symptoms themselves. If this happens, please tell us immediately and keep us informed of any results.

If a child develops symptoms within school, we will isolate them and contact you to take them home straight away – they would then need a test as soon as possible. If this test is negative, they can return to school; if it is positive, they must continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days – with everyone else in their household self-isolating for 14 days. We are not medical professionals, and we cannot diagnose Coronavirus, so we have to make decisions based on our analysis of symptoms – we will follow the most recent guidance at the time, and if we send your child home to be tested it is to protect everyone, not to be awkward. We need everyone’s cooperation, and we will not enter into arguments about whether a child has a common cold or Coronavirus, because until they are tested we will not know.

If a child is identified as having been in close contact with a person who has tested positive, either through NHS test and trace or otherwise, they must follow the guidance, which is to self-isolate for 14 days (even if they get a negative test result).

Illness or absence unrelated to Coronavirus should be reported in the normal way, on days that we are expecting your child to attend. Any vomiting or diarrhoea must be followed by at least 48 hours off school, as usual.

Arrangements for full reopening – unchanged from previous letter

Attendance

 

Unless your child is ill, or has been granted permission to be absent for exceptional circumstances, attendance will be compulsory again from September. The Government is clear that they want all children back in school full time. This means that any unauthorised absence could result in a fine issued by the Local Authority.

 

Arrival at School

 

If you walk to school, and find yourselves close to another family on the pavement, please ensure that you keep 2 metres distance at all times. Please avoid using public transport if you can – we understand if some of our children have to come to school this way, but it is safer not to at the moment. If you do have to use public transport, you must all wear a face covering. There is no recommendation to wear a face mask while walking in the open air, but if you and your family choose to wear a face covering on the way to school, there will be a procedure in place for your child to remove it on entering the building. This is in line with current guidance about face masks worn by children in schools, which is that they can increase rather than reduce the risk of infection.

 

Please arrive through the pedestrian gate and leave through the car park gate, so that we can create something of a one-way system. Only one adult from each family should come on to the school premises, please, to minimise contact between adults and enable everyone to move safely.

 

Please arrive strictly within your allocated drop-off time (not earlier) and come to the correct zone:

 

NURSERY

8:50-9

Rainbow Gate

RECEPTION

8:45-8:55

Rainbow Gate

Y1

8:40-8:50

Rainbow Gate

Y2

8:45-8:55

Hall Side Door

Y3

8:45-8:55

KS2 Side Gate

Y4

8:40-8:50

KS2 Side Gate

Y5

8:35-8:45

KS2 Side Gate

Y6

8:35-8:45

Y6 Side Door

 

Nursery children coming for the afternoon only should arrive at 12 noon.

 

You must pass your child to a member of staff before leaving – please do not just drop children at the bottom gates, as they are your responsibility until they come into school. The exception to this is children in Years 5 and 6, who may come to and from school on their own if you email giving written permission.

 

We respectfully ask you to arrive at the correct zone, pass the children over to us safely, and leave – this goes against all our instincts, as we are normally very happy to chat with you and to see you talking with others in the morning, but please minimise the time spent standing in the school grounds, even if you are keeping a two metre distance, so that other people can arrive and leave safely. Please try to ensure that your child does not interact closely with anyone else on their way in, as we have to keep the bubbles separate.

 

We will give you our usual friendly greeting, but if you have anything more to tell us please would you phone or email, and we will be more than happy to discuss anything or take a message over the phone. We’re not trying to avoid you, but physically we have to!

 

For the foreseeable future, we have to ask parents and carers to remain outside the building and also not to come through the side gates, which is where we will be meeting and greeting the children. Everyone who has been attending during this lockdown period has managed really well with these arrangements, including our very youngest children in Nursery and Reception. The only exception to this rule will be the new starters in Nursery, whose parents/carers will have a pre-arranged time to bring them individually up to the Nursery conservatory and help them to settle in, and any Reception children who are completely new to our setting if they need similar support.

 

Clothing and Equipment

 

Children will need to be in their normal school uniform from September - details of our uniform policy can be found on the school website, and requirements are the same as before the lockdown. Please ensure that every item is clearly named – we still see far too much un-named lost property in school. PE kit should be brought in every Monday, please, and should remain in school until Friday, when it must be taken home and washed. Everyone must also have a raincoat and, in case of sunny weather, a sun hat. They will all need a clearly named water bottle, containing water only. Children with asthma inhalers or auto-injectors should carry these with them as normal. Children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and any others who might need it should have a change of clothes including underwear – please bring this in a named plastic bag on the first day, and leave it in school. All other equipment will be provided, and children should not bring anything unnecessary into school. Please keep bags as small as possible.

 

Groups or “Bubbles”

 

Children will be taught in their normal class groups. However, as far as possible, classes will be kept apart from each other. This will include break times and lunchtimes, and movement around school will be carefully managed. Children will be told which toilets and sinks to use, and there will be no assemblies or other occasions/activities which bring together more than one class. Staff will sometimes have to work across different year groups, and this is permitted within the guidance.

 

Within each class, seats will face forward whenever practical, and close face-to-face contact will be minimised. Obviously there will still be a need for children to move around their classroom during the day. Where circumstances allow, distance between adults and children will be maintained, and we will minimise time spent within 1 metre of anyone. The guidance makes it clear that distancing in school is not always possible or practical, and therefore the main risk management is through keeping children in their class-sized bubbles and maintaining good hygiene.

 

Hygiene

 

There has been a consistent message around handwashing and personal hygiene since the Coronavirus arrived. Children will wash their hands as soon as they arrive at school, at key points through the day and whenever necessary. When sneezing or blowing their noses, they will be encouraged to “catch it, bin it, kill it”, with bins emptied through the day. We have introduced an enhanced cleaning regime, and frequently touched surfaces, especially toilet doors and taps, will be regularly cleaned during the day. Please continue to remind your children at home of the need for good hygiene.

 

Lunch

 

We are able to provide hot meals, with an adapted menu which will be sent to you in advance. Free school meals are available for all those who are eligible, including everyone in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. The catering service have increased their prices to £2:20 per meal, to reflect increasing costs from their suppliers, and there will be a reduced choice, with no baked potato or school sandwich option during this period. We will send a menu before the start of term. Dietary requirements and allergies will be catered for. Lunch will be eaten in classrooms, with school lunches provided in disposable take-away containers. Children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 will be provided with a snack; children in Years 3-6 are welcome to bring a healthy snack with them. Anyone who prefers to bring a packed lunch may do so. Please remember that packed lunches and snacks must not contain nuts or nut products.

 

School Office

 

Mrs Oxley, Mrs Lambourne or I will be very happy to speak with you on the phone or to deal with any correspondence by email (info@calow.derbyshire.sch.uk), and we will be able to pass on messages to teachers, who will ring you back if you request it. No parents/carers will be allowed in the school building, except in case of emergency. Please avoid buzzing on the door unless absolutely necessary (e.g. you are dropping something urgent off during the day, collecting your child for an appointment, or bringing them in outside the arranged drop off time). If you do need to buzz on the door, please then stand well back so that we can open it safely and speak to you from the doorway.

 

Behaviour

 

We have created a specific behaviour policy which directly relates to this period of heightened risk. We will send it out to you, and it is important that you read and understand it before your child comes back in to school.

 

Breakfast Club and After-School Activities

 

Breakfast club will start from Monday 7th September, at a cost of £3 per session, with children from different year groups kept apart on separate tables. Breakfast will be provided, and we will modify our activities to minimise the risk of infection. At the moment, there will be no after school clubs, because of Coronavirus restrictions, but we will review constantly and re-introduce after-school activities when it is practical and safe to do so.

 

Pick-Up

 

Please follow the same guidance as above, just in reverse! Pick-up is in the same place as drop-off, at the following times:

 

NURSERY

3

RECEPTION

3:05

Y1

3:05

Y2

3:10

Y3

3:05

Y4

3:10

Y5

3:15

Y6

3:15

 

Nursery children who are leaving after a morning session only should be collected at 12 noon.

 

Please do not arrive before the allocated slot, come to the correct zone, stand back (but visible) and distanced from other adults. Remember, one adult per family, please. We will bring the children out as we see you.

 

Parents/Carers of Year 5 and 6 children may give written permission to walk home by themselves. 

 

 

Confirmed cases of Coronavirus among the school community

 

If we become aware that someone who has attended school has tested positive for Coronavirus, we will contact the local health protection team immediately (the team will also contact us directly if they become aware that someone who has tested positive has attended the school, as identified by NHS test and trace).

 

We will follow the advice of the health protection team under these circumstances, and everyone who has been in close contact with the person who has tested positive will be sent home and told to self-isolate for 14 days. This is likely to be the whole class and any staff who have worked with the person who has tested positive. It will also include anyone who has travelled in a vehicle with them, and may include other contacts too. Household members of those contacts who are sent home do not need to isolate themselves, unless the child who has been sent home subsequently develops symptoms, in which case their household will need to start a 14-day isolation at that point.

 

I would like to finish by saying a big thank you for all of your support during the lockdown, and a massive well done to everyone for looking after your families and keeping going in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. You’re all heroes. I am also grateful to our fantastic team of staff and Governors for everything they have done to support our school community during lockdown. This thing is far from over, but I hope that it will help all our children and families to be back in school once again.  

 

Best wishes,

Daniel Sumner

Headteacher

 

 

Calow Church of England (VC) Primary School,

North Road,

Calow,

Chesterfield,

Derbyshire,

S44 5BD.

01246 274370

 

Please address general enquiries to Pam Oxley, School Business Officer

CEOP

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page last updated: 25/11/2020

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