Return to School Covid Update September 2021
Dear Parent/Carers and Children,
We hugely look forward to welcoming you all back on the 8th September and a special welcome to those families and children joining us.
I would now like to share our return to school Covid update so you and the children know what to expect on our return.
The beginning and end of the school day: We will be continuing with our ‘rolling start’ to the school day which means that children are welcome to come into their classrooms from 8.35am and registration will start at 8.45am, when the doors will be closed. Children who arrive after this time will need to go to Reception to be signed in by a parent or carer. Pupils will continue to enter the school via the main gate where a member of staff will greet and welcome them. Finishing times will be 3:15pm for all pupils. Parents can collect pupils from the school premises – teachers will confirm where to collect your child. Due to the small nature of our school site please respect everyone’s personal space and maintain distancing where possible. We will constantly review the safety of all pupils, parents and staff when accessing the premises.
Assemblies: We will continue with remote assemblies with the possibility of some mixed Key Stage assemblies while maintaining distancing.
Hand hygiene: Frequent and thorough hand cleaning is now regular practice. We will continue to ensure that staff and pupils clean their hands regularly. This will be done with soap and water in toilets or by hand sanitiser distributed around the school, including at the entrance to each classroom.
Respiratory hygiene: The ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach will continue to be promoted across the school.
Use of personal protective equipment (PPE): Most staff in schools will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work. Staff, such as First Aiders, who are dealing with a suspected positive case, will use the appropriate PPE.
Cleaning: We will maintain an appropriate daily cleaning schedule, which will include regular cleaning of areas and equipment with a particular focus on frequently touched surfaces.
Bubbles: Classes or year groups will no longer be ‘bubbled’ from September, enabling us to mix children as we would normally do.
Playtimes and lunchtimes: Our lunchtimes will return to normal and so children will be able to leave the classroom once they have finished eating and not need to move around the school as bubbles, but playtimes will continue to be staggered for some year groups. Pupils will play in their respective Key Stage groups. This is because we found this approach worked well last year and enabled the children to have more room to play on the playground, with the inevitable benefits.
Ventilation: When our school is in operation, we will work to ensure it is ventilated and that a comfortable teaching environment is maintained It is recommended that where external environmental conditions permit, all classroom windows and doors are kept open to maintain natural airflow and circulation. Please note – fire doors must remain closed. In colder months, where having all external windows open is not always practical, we will keep internal doors open, where possible, along with one external window in each classroom. At both break and lunch time, it is recommended that all windows are fully opened.
Face coverings: Staff, pupils and visitors are permitted to wear face coverings if they personally choose to do so. The government has removed the requirement to wear face coverings in law but expects and recommends that they be worn in enclosed and crowded spaces where you may meet people you don’t normally meet. During school events such as Parents’ Evenings etc…it will be recommended to visitors to wear face coverings, in line with government recommendations. However, in these circumstances, no visitor will be denied site access on the grounds of whether they are, or are not, wearing a face covering.
Contact tracing through schools: From September 2021, schools will no longer undertake contact tracing which means will not send home ‘bubbles’ if there is a positive case in a class. Instead, NHS Test and Trace will work with the positive case’s family to identify close contacts. Contacts from a school setting will only be traced by NHS Test and Trace where the positive case specifically identifies the individual as being a close contact. This is likely to be a small number of individuals who would be most at risk of contracting COVID-19 due to the nature of the close contact. School’s may be contacted to help identify those close contacts. Public health advice on testing, self-isolation and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19: Pupils, staff and other adults at the school will follow public health advice on when to self-isolate and what to do. They should not come into school if they have symptoms, have had a positive test result or other reasons requiring them to stay at home due to the risk of them passing on COVID-19 (for example, they are required to quarantine).
From 16 August 2021, children under the age of 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace if they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 case: and any of the following apply: · they are fully vaccinated · they are below the age of 18 years and 6 months · they have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial · they are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons Children will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and informed if they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a PCR test. If anyone in our school develops COVID-19 symptoms, however mild, we will send them home and they should follow public health advice. Asymptomatic testing/LFT’s: All staff are encouraged and will continue to undertake twice weekly home tests until the end of September, when this will be reviewed by the government. PHE also encourages regular twice weekly testing of ALL children attending schools.
Confirmatory PCR tests: Staff and pupils with a positive LFD test result should self-isolate in line with the stay at home guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. They will also need to get a free PCR test to check if they have COVID-19. Whilst awaiting the PCR result, the individual should continue to self-isolate. If the PCR test is taken within 2 days of the positive lateral flow test, and is negative, it overrides the self-test LFD test and the pupil can return to school if the individual doesn’t have COVID-19 symptoms.
Remote Learning: Not all people with COVID-19 have symptoms. Where appropriate, we will support those who need to self-isolate, because they have tested positive, to work or learn from home if they are well enough to do so. We will maintain our capacity to deliver high-quality remote education for the 2021-22 academic year.
Distancing: Social distancing measures have now ended, and it is no longer necessary for the government to instruct people to work from home.
Educational Visits: These will resume this year and we will undertake full and thorough risk assessments in relation to all educational visits and ensure that any public health advice, such as hygiene and ventilation requirements, is included as part of that risk assessment.
Stepping measures up: Central government may offer schools or local areas of particular concern an enhanced response package to help limit increases in transmission. If we have several confirmed cases within 14 days, we may have an outbreak, and this may mean we have to resume some of our enhanced measures such as face masks, bubbles and distancing.
Finally, and importantly, we have again planned for some wonderful and fun teaching experiences for your children this year and life at Aveton Gifford Primary School will be about fun, friendships, learning and being our best.
We look forward to welcoming you all back safely very soon.
Mrs Fern de Beer & The Aveton Gifford Teaching Team