As our schools are reopening to all staff and children for the first time since the beginning of the lockdown, we are trying to maintain as high of a level of normalcy as possible, while also making sure that the return to school is safe for all our children, their families, and our staff.
In these FAQs, which will be regularly updated if and when information changes, we will endeavour to answer any questions you may have about the measures in place, our expectations or teachers, pupils, parents, and carers, and any other questions related to the schools reopening that you might have.
Does my child have to attend school?
Yes. Unless there is a serious medical reason for them not to, your child, like every other child, should be attending school from the first day of term for their year group.
Will my child be expected to wear a mask?
We strongly recommend that all pupils above nursery and reception age, and parents wear a mask when entering and leaving the school. The expectations are also being made of staff, and we have provided two washable masks and a number of disposable masks for each member of staff. Staff and pupils will also be instructed how to correctly remove and dispose of masks.
Will wrap around care and after-school clubs still be provided?
Initially, while we all get used to the new measures, we will not be running any wrap around services or after-school clubs until at least two weeks after the school reopening. However, we understand how important these services are for many families and are working on a way of safely delivering them in the future.
What is expected of pupils and staff in the school?
At our school, we will adhere to the 5 Principles of Public Hygiene and Safety. These are:
- Stay at home if ill or a contact — (more information can be found in questions below)
- Wash your hands! Catch your coughs! — We will strongly encourage all pupils and staff to wash and sanitize their hands regularly and to catch any cough in a tissue that is then disposed of. The best way to keep everyone safe to develop personal hygiene habits.
- Clean! Clean! Clean! — Cleaning regimens are being increased, and after each school day all used equipment will be cleaned and sanitized thoroughly.
- Reduce Mixing and Maximise Social Distancing — We will continue to use a bubble system where pupils are kept in separate groups. Between lessons we will also ensure that children are kept socially distanced from members of different bubbles. We also take a zero tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour and the invasion of personal space by any pupils.
- Engage with Test and Trace — All pupils and their families are asked to engage with the NHS Test and Trace process. As a school we are also well prepared to engage with the process.
What measures are being put in place in the school.
A full list of measures, and risk assessment can be found in the COVID-19 School Operation Plan in the school information - Policies and Procedures section on the school website.
Included among these measures are:
- The installation of hand-sanitisation stations throughout the school.
- The continued implementation of a bubble system where pupils are kept in contained groups.
- The installation of a one-way system between classrooms and different areas of the school.
- Increased cleaning regimes at the school and the disinfection of all equipment and surfaces used after each school day.
- The enforcement of social distancing for staff and pupils in all communal spaces in the school.
The full set of measures have been explained and demonstrated to staff, and will be made very clear to each pupil upon their return.
Will cleaning personnel be provided with PPE?
Yes, all cleaning staff will wear disposable gloves and aprons as a minimum and face protection will also be worn if necessary.
What will be done if we suspect an adult or child is showing symptoms?
If a member of staff or pupil has symptoms, they must self-isolate and arrange to be tested. If they test positive, contacts, for example, those in the same bubble at school, should then also self isolate for 14 days and arrange for a test.
If you are a contact, you will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace. We ask that all our school families and staff engage with the NHS Test and Trace process.
What will be done if there is an outbreak at the school?
While we believe that the measures being put in place will significantly reduce the chance of an outbreak occurring, if this does happen, we will contact the regional Public Health England team and will follow their advice regarding the next steps to take.
What will be done if there is a local outbreak in the region?
The White Horse Federation is working with the Local Authority and Regional School Commissioners to make sure that we are an important part of Local Outbreak Management Plans should they need to be implemented.
Are children less likely to catch COVID-19?
Children seem to be less likely to be infected and are usually less seriously affected. However, children can still often be infected and any child who experiences COVID-19 symptoms must self-isolate with their household and should be tested.
Will parents and family members be permitted into the school?
No. While parents are permitted to drop their children off at school, we ask that you remain socially distanced when doing so, and do not enter the school site itself in order to maintain social distancing.
Should I change the way my child is transported to school?
We encourage all families to come to school in one-household groups and, if at all possible, so walk or cycle to school. For those for whom alternative means of transport has to be arranged, such as a taxi service, you will be contacted directly by the school and we have been working with the Local Authority to ensure that this is done as safely as possible.
Is the school prepared for the likelihood of a winter flu epidemic?
While flu cases will likely increase as we move into winter, in order to minimise any risks, we ask that every symptom that could be COVID-related be treated as such.
If my child has to self-isolate, will the school provide home-learning resources?
In this case, your child’s teacher will endeavour to provide home learning resources so that your child does not fall behind. However, due to the high demands of capacity, we will not be providing the same level of home-learning resources available during the pre-summer lockdown period.
I believe my child to be at risk or vulnerable — What should I do?
While we expect every child to return unless there is a serious medical reason for them not to, if you believe your child to be vulnerable, please contact the school and we will provide what support we can.