Autumn Term - September 2020
We are pleased to confirm that Monksmead School will open to all pupils from Thursday 3rd September 2020.
Please find below some helpful information about how we will be supporting the children, and our wider community, as they return.
The school has completed a thorough risk assessment, taking into account the most up-to-date guidance from the Government. As you will understand, there will be some differences to the beginning of this academic year. However, whilst there will be some unfamiliar procedures for children, our aim is to make the start back as normal as possible. We will be regularly reviewing our procedures moving forward to ensure that we continue to support our community to remain safe and well.
Children in Years 1 to 6 will return to school on Thursday 3rd September. Wednesday 2nd September is an INSET day for staff and the school will not be open for children. Families of children starting in Reception and Nursery classes will have received confirmation of start dates separately.
All children will be expected to return to school for the start of the September term. Attendance once again becomes statutory and will be monitored.
As you will have seen in the media, the guidance for schools is to stagger starts and ends to the school day to help minimise the number of people on site at any one time. For this reason, the start and finish times for each class will be as follows.
Years 5 and 6
Years 3 and 4
Years 1 and 2
Nursery and Reception classes will follow the information received previously.
Please arrive at the times given above. Your child will not be able to come into school before their time slot and they will not be able to be collected before their designated finish time.
We understand that this may be difficult where a child has a sibling in another class with different start and end times. For this reason, children from years 1 to 5 who have a sibling in an older class may be brought to school at the same time as their oldest sibling. They will join other children in the dining hall where they will be supervised until their own start time.
At the end of the day, children with siblings in younger classes may be collected at the end time of the youngest sibling. They will again wait, supervised, in the dining hall until the youngest sibling finishes for the day.
To confirm, children may be dropped off in the morning at the time of the oldest sibling and collected at the time of the youngest sibling.
Older siblings are not able to start later than their set class time and younger children can not be collected earlier then their class finishing time.
Children waiting in the dining hall during these periods will be with other children from a mix of classes, however social distancing between bubbles will be maintained. If you do not wish for your child to wait with children from other classes, please drop or collect your child at the designated time for their own class.
If your child is late to school, please take them to the school office in the normal way.
Transport to and from school
Please consider how your child will travel to and from school. We would always promote that children are encouraged to walk, cycle or use a scooter in order to support healthy lifestyle choices. During the current pandemic, it is even more important to consider these choices. Where possible, please try to avoid the use of public transport. Where it is necessary to use private transport, please travel as a household. Whilst it is kind to offer lifts to those who live near you, it could increase the risk of inadvertent transmission of COVID-19.
Entrance and Exit from school
Please note that parents and carers will not be able to enter the main school building other than the entrance area outside the school office. (Please wait outside, away from the door and playground, if there are two people already in there.) If you have an urgent message for the class teacher, please speak to a member of staff in the school office who will pass on the message.
We would ask that only one adult accompanies each child to help minimise the number of people on site at any one time.
Many children and parents will already be familiar with our one-way system for entering and exiting the school premises. On the school grounds, please follow the one-way system to help support appropriate social distancing.
Whilst we understand that you may not have seen friends for a long time, please do not congregate on the school grounds or at the school gate. Please help us to maintain social distancing as well as maintain a clear path for families to enter and leave the premises.
Use of face coverings
In line with current guidance, children will not be using face coverings whilst at school. If you choose for your child to wear a face covering on the way to or on the way home from school, it is important that they understand the correct way to wear it as well as remove it. When arriving at school, children will be requested to remove their face covering safely. If it is disposable, your child will be asked to put it in the bin and then immediately wash/sanitise their hands. If you provide a reusable face covering, please ensure that your child also brings a small plastic bag that can be sealed. Your child will be asked to put their face covering in the bag and seal it immediately. They will then be asked to put the bag in their school bag and wash/sanitise their hands. If you would like your child to wear a face covering when leaving school, please provide a separate, clean covering as they will not be able to reuse the covering from the morning.
From the beginning of the term, all children should attend in the normal Monksmead uniform. Please remember to name all items of uniform and PE kit.
As of September, the school will operate in ‘phase bubbles’ (Nursery & Reception, Years 1 & 2, Years 3 & 4, Years 5 & 6). This is in line with the guidance provided by the Government and will allow the school to run more effectively as well as helping to reduce the amount of contact between different members of the school.
Children will be able to order a school lunch in the normal manner. If you prefer, your child can of course bring in a packed lunch from home. Lunch times will be staggered for the children so that where possible bubbles do not mix.
If your child is ill and will not be attending school, please inform the school office by 9.15am on the first morning of absence. Normal absence requirements should be followed, including for vomiting and diarrhoea when a 48 hours absence from the last incidence is required.
If any member of your household displays symptoms of COVID-19, please do not send your child in to school.
Should anyone display symptoms of COVID-19, they should follow the current guidance at that point. Currently, this means that the person with symptoms must isolate for 10 days. Members of their household (including siblings) are currently required to self-isolate for 14 days. When a pupil or member of staff displays symptoms, we will request that a test is arranged as quickly as possible. Guidance around self-isolation must be followed.
Symptoms of COVID-19:
High temperature (37.8oC or above)
A new continuous cough
Loss, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell
If your child displays symptoms whilst at school, they will be looked after, by a member of staff, away from other children. You will be called to collect your child immediately and we ask that you arrange a test for your child as quickly as possible. Any siblings will need to go home at the same time. The child with symptoms will need to be absent from school for 10 days from the onset of symptoms and all siblings (if no symptoms) for 14 days. On receipt of a negative test, your child can return to school. If your child returns to school within the 10 days, we will ask for proof of a negative test result.
In the case of a positive test result, the school will follow guidance from the Local Authority.
Please ensure the school is informed immediately of any changes to your child’s medical needs. Forms are available in the school office should your child require medication whilst at school, including those purchased ‘over the counter’.
We understand that families have been affected by the pandemic in many ways and we wish to support our children with their return to school. If you have concerns around your child’s emotional needs as they return, please arrange to speak with a member of staff.
Donny’s Breakfast Club and After-School Club
We are aiming to re-open Donny’s in mid-September but it is likely that this will be with reduced numbers and may be restricted in terms of who can attend. This is so that we are able to maintain distance between our bubbles wherever possible. Further details will follow once the school has settled into the new daily routines.
On arrival, all children will be required to wash or sanitise their hands before starting the day. Children will be reminded to clean their hands at regular intervals throughout their time at school. We will continue to remind children of good hygiene in terms of cold and allergy symptoms and, as in the past, would ask for donations of a box of tissues at the start of term to support this.
Children should not bring their own hand sanitiser to school. If you feel that your child needs to carry sanitiser on the way to or from school, please ensure that it is named as many families use the same brands. Your child will be asked to store this in their bag throughout the school day. Children will have frequent opportunities to wash and/or sanitize their hands using school products.
Children need to bring in their own, named drinking bottle with water every day. These need to be taken home daily for thorough cleaning.
The aim is to minimise the belongings transferred between home and school. Children should not bring in toys or other belongings from home that are not required for their education.
Normally, our Years 5 and 6 would have swimming lessons during the Autumn Term. Currently, swimming will not be able to take place. Any changes to this will be dependent on published Government guidelines. We will continue to monitor advice.
As soon as we are able to offer opportunities to attend school clubs, we will write to you with details.
Contact between home and school
Our main form of contact will continue to be via the school email and texting service. If you change your details, please inform the school office as quickly as possible so that there is no delay in receiving communications. The school office will be open as normal; we would ask that if your query is not urgent that you contact the school via telephone or email. This will help to maintain social distancing as much as possible.
We would like to reassure you that we will be closely watching all further announcements and taking account of any changes to guidance as we move forward. Nothing can be of more importance than the health and safety of our children and the school community.
We are looking forward to a happy, healthy and productive year ahead.
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