Fri 15th May
Well, it's been quite a week following the announcement by the government about the reopening of schools!
You will be aware of the date of June 1st as the day schools should start having more children through the doors. The caveat to this is this will only happen if it is safe to do so and this is what is guiding any decisions we make or how we tentatively begin to plan. It has to be safe for children and it has to be safe for school staff.
As always seems to be the case, there is lots of conflicting information which we are trying to wade through to inform our thoughts.
You will be aware that we have been asking your thoughts when we ring you and thank you for your frankness and also for explaining your concerns. Believe me, we share those concerns. Equally, we understand that for some children, coming back to school may well be in their best interests and so we are trying to navigate our way through all of this.
We do not as yet have any definitive answers, however here are some thoughts we have up till now;
We know social distancing is unrealistic to expect. End of! However, we will not have normal group sizes which then reduces the contact each child and adult has with others. We are thinking no more than four children or young people. There will be no mixing of staff or children from different groups. We also have PPE which staff will wear when social distancing will be impossible.
Children may or may not be with familiar adults and may or may not be in their usual classroom- this depends on numbers of children and the availability of staff.
It is unlikely that anyone will have a full week in school
There will be careful timetabling of outside areas.
We will likely have a shorter day so that we can ensure there is thorough cleaning of toys etc at the end of the day.
School lunches will be limited and may be just one hot choice or a sandwich. Children will eat in their classes to avoid being with bigger groups.
Activities will be limited as we cannot allow the sharing of equipment such as play dough or sand.
Access to rooms such as the art room or dance studio will be limited as we would need thorough cleaning in between one group leaving and another entering.
There is unlikely to be the access to other colleagues from other agencies in school as we try and minimise contact.
This is not an exhaustive list; just some of our initial ideas. We will not be rushing our decision making and planning just to to meet a date.
It may also be that we will need to work with you as families to decide if being in school is best with regards to risks to your child with underlying health issues. Let's face it, that is a massive percentage of our population. We will be working with health colleagues to support this. We may ask you to get advice from health professionals involved with your son or daughter.
I am working with the LA to support all of this and it is agreed that any action we take will be through robust risk assessment and advice from colleagues who can share their expertise.
So, that's where we are this afternoon.
In short, safety is our prime concern. We will make it as safe as possible but cannot promise that there will be no risk. I'm quite sure you wouldn't believe me if I tried!
I want also to make clear, that there is no compulsion for you to send your child to school.
I will keep you up to date with any plans as and when we make them.
Stay safe and alert!