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Dear Parent / Carer
I wrote to you all before half term as the Government wanted schools to begin to open to more pupils from the 1st June. We decided as a school to begin opening from the 8th of June if possible.
We have been working hard to put plans in place so we can begin to welcome back more pupils into school. In organising for the wider opening of school, we are placing the well-being and safety of our children, families and staff at the centre of all our planning. We are also using advice, that is continuing to come, from the Government, Salford City Council, Public Health England and Teaching Unions, to inform our planning. We want to be sure that we have explored every option to reduce the current risk to you and your families as much as possible, as well as our staff.
I apologise for the length of this letter, could I ask that you talk this through with your child. Pupils who are clinically extremely vulnerable should not attend school as they are at high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus (COVID-19).
What it will look like for your child: Each pupil will be part of a Pod. Each Pod will be made up of the same pupils and staff during the week. There will be three Pods throughout the school and the pupils will not interact with other children from different Pods.
Current guidance recommends that staff and pupils do not wear the same clothes every day. I would like to encourage that pupils still wear school uniform. If you have any concerns around this, please contact school.
Each Pod will have two buses allocated to it. Only children from the same Pod will travel together. To minimise risk to your child and staff we wish to check the temperature of your child digitally, so that there is no contact, before they alight the school transport or enter the building. If your child has a temperature of 37.5 degrees or above, then we will request your child stays at home for 48 hours. If your child wishes to wear a face mask, we would be happy to provide them.
Each Pod will have its own learning environments allocated. To be mindful of social distancing, only a certain amount of people at one time are to be present in a classroom and each pupil will have their own individual equipment. To reduce the amount of items coming into the school building we would like each pupil to have a school dinner. School will initially fund this and review after two weeks. If you have any comments or concerns about this, please discuss it with school.
Pupils with complex needs: This week every parent and carer will have been contacted by a member of our team to discuss the procedures and systems with you. Unfortunately, not all pupils will be initially invited back to school. As leaders we have reviewed all pupil’s individual needs and historic challenges and assessed whether it would be appropriate for them to return to school in the first two weeks whilst the new systems and procedures are embedded. A member of your child’s Pod leadership team will contact you to discuss this further if we feel at this time it is not appropriate.
Many pupils may be anxious and may display challenging behaviours that are not typical. We will of course work to support the pupil; however, if serious it could result in your child not being invited back into school.
Questions you may have:
• What do you mean by the term ‘Pod’?
Children will be in smaller groups - Pods. These groups will not mix with other Pods at any time. We will need all our staff team to implement this plan so we are not able to guarantee that your child will be taught by their teacher, we also cannot guarantee that your child will be working in their friendship groups.
• What about social distancing?
We will teach and encourage the children to socially distance as much as possible. I am sure that you will be aware that this will be very challenging, if not impossible to enforce, particularly with the younger age range of children. However, we have developed, and are continuing to develop, social distancing measures for all to follow. These are based on everyone maintaining 2m distance.
• What will school look like?
The school environment will be altered to adhere to social distancing practices. This includes signage to reinforce our social distancing expectations. However, we cannot guarantee that your child will always and consistently social distance from others at all times within their pod. We can guarantee that our staff will ensure they will endeavour to encourage social distancing for the pupils that have been asked to return.
• What will classrooms look like?
We will be using all space available to minimise the size of the groups. This means that some children may not be working in their usual classrooms, but instead spaces situated outside of the classrooms or in different classrooms. Teaching spaces will have to alter in line with guidance; e.g. soft toys/furnishings removed, tables spaced accordingly, certain toys and learning resources removed. Children may also be with staff that they are not used to: this will be managed carefully and be avoided where possible.
• Where do I drop off and pick up my child if they are not on school transport?
Please bring your child to the school internal gate. There should be adequate parking on the school carpark. Please use the intercom and wait for a member of your child’s Pod to collect them.
• What about Key Worker Families and vulnerable pupils?
The current provision for key worker families and vulnerable pupils will be four days a week. We will continue to work hard to provide care but please note that the identified key worker list, as defined by the Government, has not changed. Our key worker requirements remain the same, if a request is made, proof of your job role is required and will then be considered. We understand that, for many of you, this decision is out of your hands, as it is for many of our staff.
I appreciate that this is a lot of information to digest and that you will have many more questions. School will continue to be the warm, inclusive, loving and happy place that it has always been.
Please take some time to consider our plans, ask any questions that you may have via email or through the school. Please remember that the decision to return your child to school is your decision and yours alone. There will be no actions taken against you should you choose not to send your child into school. Please also remember that these plans are not fixed and may change. Please email the school if you have any questions and cannot get through on the phone.
Thank you once again.