1st April 2021
We are pleased to see happy, smiling faces in our Reception and Key Stage One classes as we finally start to return to normal. We are looking forward to being able to welcome all of our children back after the holiday (assuming everyone is fit, well and Covid-free) on Monday 19th April (8.30am R, KS1; 8.45am KS2).
Firstly, I would like to clarify a few misunderstandings that some parents have had:
- Children across key stage 2 have not been widely mixing and certainly not mixing indoors: Y3 and Y4 ‘mix’ in the toilets etc. and so do Y5 and Y6. There were limited, short periods of time when all key stage 2 children had access to the playground/field at the same time – even then, they rarely choose to mix. It is also accepted that outdoor transmission rates are greatly reduced. This would be further evidenced by the fact that we had no lunchtime staff test positive.
- The very limited amount of ‘mixing’ at lunchtime has not been identified as a factor in the Covid outbreak: one class in KS2 had 11 positive cases and another only 1. This clearly shows that transmission most likely occurs in classrooms.
- Staff are allowed to move between bubbles, but should take the precautions necessary to mitigate risk, which was the case.
- School-wide PCR testing was requested by PHE. This naturally saw figures for positive cases rise. Most children were asymptomatic; had this situation not arisen, we probably would never have known.
- Public Health and the Local Authority Health Protection Team are happy with our arrangements for protecting our community from Covid-19.
When the children return to school, little will be different. We will return the measures that have kept us almost Covid-free for the last year, but with a couple of amendments (which will unfortunately mean cut-backs elsewhere).
- PPA cover will be split, and Mr Perks has agreed to work extra hours and cover in Reception, Y1 and Y2. We have made the decision to fund this rather than employ an additional TA to run intervention work and Covid catch-up programmes. There may still be occasions when it is unavoidable for Mrs Raithby to work with key stage 1
- We are completely separating Y3 and 4 from Y5 and 6 again. This is simply to reduce the number of children affected and needing to self-isolate were we to have any further positive cases amongst key stage 2 children (which we do think is a strong possibility, given the situation locally). We will ensure adequate supervision and first aiders by using TAs to cover this and increasing some staff hours. For TAs to cover lunchtimes, we will have to reduce their other commitments.
- With no surplus, we may need – on occasions – to use agency staff, but where we do they will be asked to take a lateral flow test before entering school.
- School staff will now increase lateral flow testing to three times per week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Results to be reported no later than 8pm so that we can take action if required.
- All children are to come to school in their proper PE kit on PE days
Please remember that this continues to be a team effort and we are relying on families to support us. Only one adult should drop off/pick up (times remain unchanged) and you must wear a face mask (if you are exempt you still have the option to choose to wear one in the interests of protecting yourself and others). You should adhere to the one-way system and socially distance. Contact with school staff should be minimised so please phone or email in where possible.
I will be continuing to have contact with the local authority health and education teams to monitor the situation locally and to ensure that we are safely staffed for our full reopening after Easter. During the holiday, work on improvements to the school will be continuing, and the buildings funding pot will be being put to good use. When they return, the children will hopefully find the school looks much better than it did when they left.
I hope you have an enjoyable Easter break.