2nd September 2020
I am writing to you to further update you with regard to the guidance that was announced on 26th August.
Personal Protective Equipment (FaceMasks)
You may have seen in the latest announcement regarding COVID and return to schools that the Government have made a ‘U-turn’ in its decision on face coverings in schools. The Government has also decided that schools can take their own position on the wearing of face masks.
It is our belief that the use of face masks by pupils in and around school should not be implemented. The reasons behind this is that our pupils would find the hygienic management of face masks difficult. If a mask is not used, removed and managed safely, then this can increase the possibility of transmitting germs.
We accept that some secondary pupils may wish to wear a mask on transport due to the difficultly of not being able to socially distance on a bus. If this is the case, then your child must remove their mask before entering school. Their mask must be stored and kept in their bag until the end of the day.
We have made the decision that staff may choose to wear face coverings in communal areas of the school if they wish based on their own personal views and their home circumstances. However, within the classroom, face coverings generally will not be permitted except in exceptional circumstance where staff are at increased vulnerability because their own health issues. If this is the case, the face covering will be completely transparent so that pupils can still see the member of staff’s face.
As it stands the guidance suggests that where schools are situated in areas of local lock down that face coverings should be worn, currently this is not the case in our area. We will continue to work closely with PHE and the local authority on information regarding local COVID status and will constantly review our position.
Arrangements to keep students safe
I wrote to you in July and again last week about our plans for September and how we were going to manage the full opening of the school. These plans are still the ones that we are working with, however, once the school is up and running we will review and amend based on what is/isn’t working and the views of everyone – pupils and staff – who are using the systems.
I know that for some parents will be concerned over the safety of schools reopening and the provision in place. We have worked hard to ensure that our plan is a sensible and measured model, supported by robust hygiene procedures to ensure everyone’s safety. We will continue to review and adapt this model as and when it is necessary to do so.
Please see the attached FAQ to remind you of the expectations in school.
Expectations of pupil behaviour
We welcomed a number of pupils back to school in June and July, without exception, their behaviour was exemplary. We expect the same from every pupil as we return to a full opening. We will not be able to accommodate in school any student who does not fully cooperate with teachers or who in any way deliberately undermines the measures we have put in place to keep students safe.
We also recognise that some children may need additional support to adapt to the changes in school and individual risk assessments will be carried out for these pupils if required. This will of course be shared with parents.
Regrettably, extra-curricular activities will be not be running in September and will be reviewed for October. As soon as it is safe to begin our extra-curricular programme, we shall certainly do so.
Meetings in School
Parents and carers should not come into school except in an emergency and by invitation.
I am sure that as we are getting close to the ‘back to school’ date, there will be many pupils who begin to feel anxious and nervous about returning to school, seeing friends and beginning learning once more. This is to be expected; we all get back to school nerves after a normal six week summer holiday and this is over five months. The start of term transition and the work we will continue to do throughout the term will very much focus on supporting pupils with these feelings and hopefully getting back to a school routine will also help with this situation.
As always we are here to help, do please get in touch if you need us. This is very important so please do not think that you cannot or should not. Anything that we can do to aid the transition back to school or to support a change in family circumstances is very useful to know.
Attached with this news post is the final version of FAQs and a welcome back to pupils, that you may wish to go through with your child before they return next week. There are two versions, one for Primary and one for Secondary.
Thank you once again for your support and I am very much looking forward to welcoming your child to school next week. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school.
With very best wishes