As of this moment, there has been no U-turn by the government so we plan to be fully open on Tuesday as planned.
We have made updates to the risk assessment which is focused on keeping our staff and children as safe as possible. I hope that these changes will be for a limited time as the national and local picture improves. They are in line with measures we took at the beginning of lockdown in March.
We will still be in Year group bubbles. This has always been a challenge in a school as complex as ours and as a result we have some staff who have been working between year groups to support children with additional needs. However, these staff will now be assigned to one Year group only.
Whole staff and governor meetings have been conducted virtually since the first lockdown but phase groups and the senior leadership team could meet socially distanced in classrooms. From now on, only staff in the same year group can meet in the same classroom. This will ensure that there are never more than 3 adults in one classroom for meetings.
What is essential is that we create as much distance as possible between each other. Phase group staffrooms will not be in use and staff will take their breaks in classrooms and in outside areas.
Staff have been wearing masks when moving around school but not when teaching their own class. For this interim period, they will wear visors when teaching the whole class and add masks when working closely with children.
Outside duties are not affected but staff must wear masks at all times.
We will continue to ensure that there is frequent and thorough hand washing and sanitizing. We will reinforce wiping schedules for shared equipment and individual equipment for pupils.
Inside group work between classes in the same year group will stop during this interim period. This decision was not taken lightly, as group work within the year group is carefully matched to need, but in the present climate this is all about minimising risk, therefore indoor mixing between classes of children within the same year group will be put on hold. The year group can still be outside together and we will continue to stagger break and lunchtimes so that year groups still do not mix. The EYFS outside space has been split between Nursery and Reception.
As part of the inset day tomorrow, we will further plan the detail of how these updates will be implemented in each year group.
I must also politely request that you do not ask to talk to staff on the gate. If you have any concerns, please email/use Tapestry or Dojo and we can arrange a phone call as necessary. This is for your safety as well as the safety of staff. Social distancing, mask wearing and timely drop offs outside the gate have never been more important. Please use the Scopay system for booking meals and BC and ASC.
If in the future, we should be told by the government to reduce numbers to key workers and vulnerables only, then these children will stay in their own year group bubbles staffed by their own year group adults on a rota basis. If this happens I will write to you to explain how we will contact these families.
All these changes have been made with the wellbeing of children and staff at heart and we will continue to adapt plans as necessary should the government directive change.
It is wonderful news about the vaccine and I am hopeful that these tightening of measures will be for a short while as the national and local pictures improve and we can embark on the exciting journey of getting back to the way we were before the lockdown in March.
I am so looking forward to welcoming the children back on Tuesday and seeing you – although from a distance!