School Re-opening Following National Closures - March 2021
Following the government advice and guidance, which we received a few weeks ago, we are very pleased to share with you our plan for the return of all of our pupils to Maple from March 8th 2021. The guidance which we have received has helped us to carry out a thorough risk assessment and provision will be in place ready to welcome the children to school for the beginning of term. Our utmost priority is, and always will be, the safety of our children, staff and you as their families and we want to reassure you that we are putting in as many protective measures as we are able to in order for us to make the school the safest place that we possibly can.
PROTECTIVE MEASURES AT MAPLE As an Infant School, it is recognized within the most recent guidance that the youngest children cannot socially distance from staff or from each other and therefore the emphasis for our environment will be to keep our classes as separate as we are able to. Alongside this, we will also be putting additional measures in place to support our school community to enable all children to return to school in the way outlined and to follow the government guidance:
DROP OFF AND COLLECTION TIMES To support social distancing measures and to reduce the number of people on our site at any one time, we will be staggering the timings of when you will need to drop off and collect your child from school from Monday 8th March. These will be as follows:
Reception children will need to arrive at school at 8.30am and they will be collected at 3.00pm
Year 1 children will need to arrive at school at 8.45am and they will be collected at 3.15pm
Year 2 children will need to arrive at school at 9am and they will be collected at 3.30pm
Due to the strict guidance that we are adhering to, we ask for families to ensure that they arrive promptly at the time allocated for them. If your child is late and the time has passed, then we will need to ask you to bring your child into school via the school office. Please ring the doorbell at the front gate and a member of staff will collect your child from you. We are sure that you will understand that we ask families to not congregate together near school and to adhere to social distancing recommendations at all times. We also ask families to move away from the school gate as soon as possible.
DROP OFF AND COLLECTION ARRANGEMENTS All drop off and collections for children attending reception, year 1 and year 2 will take place via our entrance on St. James’ Road. Nursery children will access the Nursery via the gate at the front of the school.
We will be continuing the system which has worked incredibly effectively over the last few months and the children have got used to very quickly. We will clearly identify an ‘entrance’ and ‘exit’ pathway at the St James’ Road entrance to enable you to safely drop off and collect your child. Distancing measures will be in place to support you in following the recommended social distancing measures. Staff, including members of the senior leadership team, will be waiting at the main gate to welcome your child into school.
We know that this will be a different experience for your child and they may find coming into school unsettling after time away. You will be asked to say goodbye to your child at the school gate – please make sure that your child is aware of this. Should your child really find this difficult, then we will ask you to return to school slightly later to support your child. Unfortunately, at this time we are unable to allow parents to remain with their children at the gate. All other gates will be locked and the school site will be secure.
At collection, we ask parents to wait again at the same gate, where we will dismiss each child individually as their parent comes to the front of the line. We know that this system may take a while to get used to and we thank you in advance for your patience.
ATTENDANCE We expect all children to now be attending school and our attendance and absence policy will come into effect from the start of term. Please remember the expectations for informing the school office as soon as possible if your child will not be in school on a particular day.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CHILD IS UNWELL? As all children will be back at school it is even more important that families make the school aware of any medical conditions which your child or a member of your household may have. Please email the school office if you would like to inform the school of any medical needs or if you would like to discuss anything with a member of the senior leadership team. The NHS link provided below may help you to identify any conditions which may apply to your child or a member of your household.
It is essential that children and staff MUST NOT enter Maple Infants’ School if they or any member of their household are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19. Please telephone or email the school office to inform them that your child will be absent from school if your child cannot attend school due to this reason. If you need further advice regarding testing, then a member of the school office team will be able to support you with this.
Similarly, we will be ensuring that anyone visiting the school, only does so via pre-arrangement and they will only be allowed to enter the school site it they too can confirm that themselves or any member of their households are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.
We have a clear procedure in place if anyone becomes unwell in school with a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of the sense of taste and/or smell. If your child becomes unwell whilst in school, then we will contact you immediately to come and collect them and you will be advised to follow the staying at home guidance and arrange a test to identify whether they have COVID-19. Whilst we are waiting for your child to be collected, they will be supported by a member of staff in a designated space. Due to the age of our children, it is likely that your child will need supporting if they are feeling unwell and so the member of staff supporting your child will wear PPE equipment and they will stay with them in a well ventilated space.
GROUP SIZES Wherever possible the children will be kept in the same class group at all times each day and they will not mix with children from other groups. For the children within our Nursery, the morning and afternoon Nursery group will remain separate and the classroom will be cleaned thoroughly between each session.
CLASSROOMS The children will use the same classroom or area of a setting throughout the day and each room will be cleaned thoroughly at the end of each day. The usual layout of our classrooms may look slightly different when the children return in September as furniture may have been moved to make more space to adhere to our safety expectations. The desks will be arranged so wherever possible pupils sit side by side and are looking in the same direction (i.e. not facing each other). The teacher remains at the front of the class and maintains 2 metres social distancing where possible.
Staff will be allocated to each class, but at times staff will need to move between classes and year groups. Where this is the case, they will try wherever possible to keep their distance from pupils and other staff as much as they can, ideally 2 metres from others.
Classroom window(s) will be opened in the morning and will be kept open enough to maintain good general ventilation wherever possible. Please be aware of this and ensure that your child is dressed appropriately – parents may wish for their child to wear layers of clothing under their school uniform as the weather changes.
The staff within each class will manage the use of resources and will make sure that any resources used are cleaned appropriately. Wherever possible, the children will have access to their own frequently used resources e.g. pencil, scissors etc.
PLAYTIME AND LUNCH ARRANGEMENTS Play times and lunchtimes will be staggered so that children can remain in their class groups. Our school catering team (ISS) will be able to provide a school packed lunch for children or children may bring their own into school from home. ANY FAMILY REQUIRING A SCHOOL MEAL MUST PRE ORDER ONE VIA THE ISS WEBSITE, https://www.feedinghungryminds.co.uk/, AT LEAST 24 HOURS BEFORE IT IS REQUIRED. May we please remind families that these must not contain nuts, fizzy drinks or sweets.
Children MUST bring their own named water bottle into school.
Each class group will have access to an area of the playground at specific times throughout the day. The children will also have access to school fruit in class, which will be washed before being offered to the children. Wherever possible, the children will have access to resources which can be cleaned after use, e.g. plastic hoops, but they will not be allowed to use the large fixed playground equipment in the main playground (climbing frame, tunnels and play houses).
TOILETS Each classroom has its own allocated toilet and handwashing facilities and staff will ensure that the children use the toilet one at a time. Where classes share a toilet block, specific cubicles will be allocated for each classroom to avoid classes crossing over. If any children need help with toileting, then staff will wear the usual PPE equipment which we would anyway to support them.
SHARING OF RESOURCES BETWEEN HOME AND SCHOOL The children will be able to take books and other shared resources home, although unnecessary sharing is avoided, especially where this does not contribute to pupil education and development. We therefore need to be mindful of the contact of any items between home and school.
Please note, we are unable to facilitate scooters or bikes in school.
RECOVERY CURRICULUM At Maple Infants’ School we are carefully considering our curriculum for the autumn term as we recognise that the situation over the last few months may have affected the children’s emotional wellbeing and mental health. Our way of life has changed considerably throughout the pandemic and the children may have experienced many losses, from a loss of freedom to move around and meet people as we have been used to, to a loss of structure and opportunity.
With this in mind, the curriculum will be carefully planned to gently introduce the children back into school life, whilst considering their emotional well-being as well as their academic needs. We are acutely aware that the children will learn to the best of their ability when they feel happy, safe and secure.
The curriculum focus for our children within the early years will be the prime areas of learning, including communication and language, personal, social and emotional development and physical development. For those children in Reception, this will also include early phonics, reading, maths knowledge and skills. For children in Year 1 and 2, our staff will be assessing any gaps that the children may have in their learning particularly within phonics, reading, vocabulary development, writing and maths. We will be ensuring that our curriculum is still broad and covers all areas.
PE PE lessons will take place in class groups, outside where the weather permits and it is practical to do so. There will be no indoor PE sessions for the first half of the autumn term. The staff will make sure that contact sports do not take place and the children will be encouraged to be active within their own space.
Equipment used for sports and PE will be cleaned frequently and meticulously and always between classes, or they will be rotated to allow them to be left unused and out of reach for a period of 48 hours (72 hours for plastics) between use by different groups.
UNIFORM We expect the children to return to school wearing their school uniform. As has already been identified, we will be ensuring that our classrooms remain well ventilated and so families may wish to provide additional layers of clothing under their uniform as the weather changes. Should we experience a spell of particularly cold weather, then we will let you know of any appropriate adaptations which could be made.
COMMUNICATION Communication between home and school remains very important to us and we will be striving to continue to work in partnership with you. We will be requesting that families do not visit our school office and that any communication deemed necessary should be done via email or telephone call to the school office.
CLEANING REGIMES Our cleaning team will ensure that there continues to be an enhanced and increased cleaning of frequently touched surfaces using standard cleaning products. Staff within each class will also have access to its own general cleaning resources and staff will routinely wipe down frequently used spaces e.g. table tops, door handles, taps etc.
There will be limited movement of the children around school and the children will remain within their classrooms wherever possible. Where a room needs to be used by another group, it will be thoroughly cleaned between uses. The Nursery will be thoroughly cleaned between morning and afternoon sessions and the resources will be managed by staff to ensure that these are not shared unless they have been thoroughly cleaned.
We know that good hand and respiratory hygiene are particularly important at this time and so the children will be reminded and supported by staff to wash their hands regularly throughout the day and at specific times e.g. on entry to school, before lunch etc. The staff will also continue to encourage good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach for coughs and sneezes.
We hope that the information which we have provided for families today helps you to understand and feel confident with the protective measures which we are putting in place to support the safety of our children and staff as the school reopens in September for all pupils.
The nurturing environment of our school is something which we are all incredibly proud to be a part of and which we strive to achieve every day. Although we recognise that the measures which need to be in place to keep everyone safe will have to be strictly adhered to, our ethos and care for our children will always remain.
We look forward to welcoming all of our children back to school in September.
Latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice:
Please see the links below for key sources of information, should you have any queries. You can also telephone Public Health England South London HPT on 0344 326 2052 or the Department for Education Coronavirus Helpline on 0800 046 8687 (Mon-Fri 8-6pm).
Looking for some support as a family during this unprecedented time? The document below has details of local and national agencies who can offer you support and advice on a number of matters which may arise during this period.