Proposed partial re-opening of school from June 1st (at earliest) for children in Reception, Year 1 & Year 6.
You will no doubt be aware of the Government’s announcement (above). We received initial guidance on Monday evening, further arrived yesterday and we are told further advice will be issued.
We have already begun planning an idea of what school may look like at re-opening and I wanted to be very clear and honest with you all from the outset that school re-opening under the current guidance will, in many respects, look, feel and be very different to how school was before closure in March.
At this stage I cannot provide you with a great deal of detail. We are still reading and re-reading guidance and as I said before, still receiving it from the DFE and from Leeds City Council. When we re-open we have to be sure that school is as safe a place as possible. In outline, our initial planning, based on Government guidance received so far, includes the following:
- Class sizes will be limited to a maximum of 15 children.
- The new classes will work with the same teacher and teaching assistant each time they are in and they will not be allowed to mix with any other children or adults in school, even at break times or lunchtimes.
- Not all the children will be working with their usual teacher and teaching assistant, nor will they all be working in their usual room, but we will try to ensure there is one familiar adult with them.
- We haven’t finalised our plans as yet, but we will endeavour to offer the children as much time in school as we can. At the moment, we don’t know how many children are likely to return and we are mindful of the Government’s ambition for all year groups to return a few weeks after these initial cohorts. Any knowledge of numbers likely to be returning to school will help us to shape our final plans.
- We may not have all children in Year R, Year 1 and Year 6 in school on June 1st. We want to make school as safe as we can and we would rather build up numbers than have to cut back if some unforeseen issues arise.
- To allow for effective social distancing, our initial plan is to stagger the start and close of the school day for different groups so that not everyone comes to school and leaves at the same time. That might mean some children arriving at 9:00, some at 9:15, some at 9:30 – we are not at the stage of having full detail for timings at the moment. The advice is for only one adult to accompany each child to school. We will probably use different entry & exit points to school for different year groups.
- Lunches will be prepared by school and the children may have to eat meals in their classrooms. We are discussing what kind of meals we can offer with our catering supplier.
- Any staff absence may result in the closure of some classes and this may be at late notice – i.e. possibly on a morning before school is due to start. We simply have no spare staff to fill in and in any case the advice is to limit mixing of children and adults between groups.
- Any positive results from Covid-19 testing will result in the closure of that child’s or adult’s class for two weeks.
- We will be continuing to wash hands regularly, trying as far as possible to always keep a 2 metre distance
- We also understand that making the decision to return your child or children to school may not be an easy one for you. The Government has said school is re-opening and they encourage families to send their children to school and they have also said no fines will be issued for non-attendance to parents, nor will school be held accountable for rates of attendance. Any child who is, or living with someone who is vulnerable, or shielding should not return to school. Whatever anyone says, I know this may not be a straightforward decision for you. We will respect your decision if you wish to keep your child at home, although we will contact you to keep a dialogue open with you.
- To support us in our planning, I would be grateful if you could complete a very quick on-line survey for us. We won’t be checking names, but it would be really helpful for us if we could have some indication of numbers likely to return. Obviously, you don’t have to do that and you have the right to change your mind, but it would be really useful for us if you could respond to help make sure we can plan the re-opening effectively. I will send further details about how to take part in the survey later on. Thank you for your support with that.
We want to do our best to support our community and society in general. You no doubt have many, many questions around re-opening. Can I please ask that you bear with us. We have only recently received advice and guidance and we are working on detailed plans.
Expect further communications. I just wanted to give you a flavour of our planning and to be as transparent as possible with you. There has to be a note of caution also. Ideas and plans may change for a whole host of reasons, and the purpose of this letter is not to present a final plan for re-opening, but to give you an idea of how it may look. Class sizes and strict separation of groups throughout the day are certain to be an aspect of school life after re-opening.
Thank you for your patience and understanding. It is a very difficult and trying situation for us all.
Finally, please say a big hello to all the children. We really do miss working with them every day.