I hope you are well and had some time to relax over the half-term break.
Following the announcements by the PM on Monday we are now planning the full re-opening of our schools from Monday 8th March. Our approach to re-opening will be slightly different depending on the phase of school your child attends and I will detail that below. There are though, some common principles that apply to all our schools which I would like to bring to your attention:
1. Attendance at school will be mandatory from Monday 8th March but this will staggered in secondary schools and all children will be expected to return to full-time education, except those who have been told by their consultants that they have to continue to shield until the 31st March – these children will continue to be supported with Home Learning by their school. This is a very small number of children across our schools.
2. Children who live in households with extremely clinically vulnerable or clinically vulnerable adults are expected to attend school.
3. Our schools will all remain COVID-19 safe with the same systems in place that we operated in the autumn term with staggered breaks and lunchtimes, good hygiene, regular handwashing and use of sanitisers, cleaners onsite during the school day and children staying within class bubbles or year group bubbles. Our risk assessments are being updated and will be published on websites prior to Monday 8th March. All staff will be using face coverings in corridors and communal areas as well as in classrooms, depending on the age group they are teaching. Full PPE will be used in all schools for staff delivering first aid, testing and personal care, we have lots of stock available.
4. It is really important that parents do not send their child to school if they are unwell and have any COVID-19 symptoms – it is vitally important that these children are tested and that you keep them at home, until test results are received, so we ensure we minimise as much as possible any infection in school and we can keep all children in school. If you are in any doubt, please contact your child’s school for advice before you send your child to school.
5. Uniform is an expectation, but we do ask if parents have uniform that they no longer require if this could be donated to school, so we can support parents who may struggle to purchase items for the next few months.
6. We hope to start extra-curricular clubs and activities in the summer term once we are allowed to do so by the Government.
7. All our staff will be tested twice weekly in-line with guidance.
There is some difference on timings and testing requirements for schools:
• Primary – HLC Primary, Wrekin View and Crudgington Primary – all children will return to school on Monday 8th March and are not required to have tests unless they are unwell or have symptoms of COVID-19.
• Special – Queensway and Severndale – we already have a very high percentage of children attending school and all children will return on Monday 8th March. We will be testing secondary age children, with parental permission and those who can manage a test, will do so upon their return, in-line with the government guidance.
• Secondary – Charlton, Ercall Wood Academy, HLC Secondary – there will be a staggered return from Monday 8th March as we have to test all children prior to a return to face-to-face teaching. This is a complex process, and we are planning the best way to manage testing to ensure we minimise the risk of having to send any students home if we identify any asymptomatic cases. Therefore, it is likely we will ask students to come in and have a test, then return home and return the following day to start school as normal and stay in school. This means we can reduce close contacts until we have test results.
You will receive further information on the details from your child’s school once we have agreed the system we think will work well, we will then be testing children on a further two occasions with 3-5 days of their first and second test whilst attending school.
Parents will need to give permission for their child to be tested and you will receive an electronic form to complete.
All Secondary students must wear face coverings in school on corridors, communal areas and also now in classrooms until the Easter holidays. It is really important that you provide these face coverings.
This is a lot of information to take in, but I wanted to give you an overview of what is happening and the planning we are doing. You will receive detailed information from your child’s school by the end of the week, so you are fully informed.
We are delighted our children are returning and we want to ensure we manage this well and successfully so we keep children in school until the Easter holidays; hopefully we will be really back to normal by the Summer term!
My best wishes to you and your family and thank you for your incredible support over the last few months.
Dr Gill Eatough