Dear Parents and Carers,
We hope you are all well and safe. I would firstly like to thank all staff within school who over the last few weeks have kept your children happy, loved and reassured in these testing times. And for also working tirelessly to provide home learning activities.
When Boris Johnson announced his decision to re-open schools on June 1st to Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children he had not at that point informed schools of the guidance that would follow later. Nor, had he provided any indication of how this may happen.
Following the recent government announcement regarding a phased return to school for some pupils, we have been working closely with Durham County Council to establish what is right for our school. The council is supporting all schools in the county, to establish a pattern and timeframe that works for them. They have provided a risk assessment, which is designed to put the health and safety of children first and ensure each school mitigates, to the best of their ability, risks associated with a phased return. Working with the Council, we have decided that the following approach best suits the needs of children and families at Newton Hall Infants’ School.
Taking into consideration this risk assessment in relation to our provision, including, cleaning, staffing, social distancing and classroom space, we are unable to offer a Reception place to everyone who has indicated that they would like their child to return. We have had to look at each child and again prioritise children whose parents are key workers or children identified as vulnerable. Whilst we appreciate this may not be the happy news you had hoped and expected for children returning to school, as always, the safety to children and staff is our main priority. Additionally, the number of children of key worker parents is increasing and we anticipate will continue to do so.
We do not know what is planned by government over the next few weeks and we await guidance as we know you do too. School will regularly assess the situation and keep you informed with any decisions made.
Due to the larger number of children attending school from June 1st we have implemented a large range of safety measures which may upset some of our children. Please have a conversation with your child and show the photographs of how school will look.
We have also attached a document called ‘How to Prepare Your child for School’ which can be used to help you with your conversations.
Your child will be placed in a group with other children based in one classroom in which they will complete all activities, including lunch, and will not be able to mix with children in other groupings. Playtimes will also be staggered.
Only staff and children will be allowed to enter the school. We request that only one adult brings and collects their child and that the timings you are given are strictly adhered to. These will be issued shortly. We ask that parents on the yard do not cross the white line. Classrooms will be clearly identified. As administration staff continue work remotely we remind you that the best method of communication is by e-mail.
Any child with symptoms of covid-19, or living with someone who is displaying symptoms of the virus, must not attend school – please inform school if this is the case.
Extra soap, hand sanitiser and cleaning products have been ordered in preparation. Children will be instructed to wash their hands, following Government guidance, regularly throughout the day.
Children will also be taught the Government protocol of ‘catch it, bin it, kill it.’
Frequently touched surfaces around the school, e.g. desks, door handles, taps, will be cleaned frequently throughout the day.
PPE equipment will be available for staff to use in certain circumstances, e.g. administering first aid or caring for a child who is displaying symptoms. A classroom is available as an isolation room and if a child is displaying symptoms parents will be notified and must collect their child immediately.
Children are asked to only bring into school a named water bottle, a coat, sun hat and that you apply sun cream before sending them to school. Whilst you may choose to send your child to school wearing school uniform, guidance is that clothes worn for school are to be washed daily, therefore we will remain flexible.
Parents identified as being a key worker will receive an e-mail shortly detailing drop-off and collection arrangements. Text messages will be sent to those of you we are unable to accept at this point.
Meanwhile, we thank you for your on-going patience and understanding. You are doing brilliantly in home-schooling and keeping your families safe.
Please continue to check the school website regularly for updates and thank you again for your support and understanding.
Take care and we send our love as always.