I hope you and your loved ones remain well. I want to begin by thanking you for your co-operation and support during this difficult time. As educationalists we are here because we care and want to educate your child but we are also facing our own personal challenges.
After the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday 10th May, we now have to move to the next, challenging phase of devising out own ‘road-map’ to wider re-opening. I understand that employers are now encouraging more parents to return to work. I fully appreciate that this may create a challenging situation at home but, unfortunately, the school’s position on key workers has not changed.
In planning our re-opening we have very limited information. I can hand on heart say that the only information we have been given is the same information as the general public. This has made it extremely hard to make some decisions.
I mentioned in my previous blog that as an infant school and following Government guidelines, initial priority will be given to children whose parents are identified as key workers, vulnerable children and children in the Reception classes.
When we open the doors of our school again it will be a very different experience and environment for the children.
These changes include:
- Smaller class groups, children are not guaranteed to be taught in particular friendship groups, by their usual class teacher or in their usual classroom (children will stay in these smaller group ‘bubbles’ for their time in school with no social interaction with other children or adults, a photograph of how classrooms will look is attached);
- Adjustments to the curriculum to reflect new ways of working;
- Staggered drop off and collection times;
- Staggered playtimes – with no contact between groups;
- Limited movement around school – children will work and eat lunch in their ‘base’;
- Limited access to resources. – each child will have their own equipment and stationary;
- Emphasis on personal hygiene – frequent handwashing;
- Parents need to be available to collect their child urgently if they display symptoms and if a child or an adult in their group contracts the virus, the whole group will be sent home to self-isolate for 14 days.
Families with more than one child will have to adhere to the timetable of return. We are unable to accommodate siblings outside the allocated year groups.
I appreciate all this information potentially leaves you with a dilemma – totally understandable. It is important to us, however, that we give you the facts. Parents will not be pressured into ensuring their child returns to school and will not be penalised for non-attendance. School will still provide learning activities for children working at home.
The Durham National Education Union are inviting parents to a Zoom meeting Tuesday 19th May at 6pm. Use the following link to book your place to hear their views and to share your opinions https://forms.gle/rCgFMsiPLfxMVvGm6
They also have a Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DurhamNEU/ should you want more information.
We look forward to a safe return for all our staff and pupils. Take care and stay safe.