On Monday, the Prime Minister confirmed the news that schools will reopen to all pupils from Monday 8th March. After a considerable amount of time away from school for the vast majority of pupils, this will be welcomed news for children, parents and school staff.
Although this second lockdown has been necessary to protect us all, we understand how this has impacted families in many varied ways but particularly on the education of our children. In the coming weeks, our prime focus will be on supporting a safe transition for everyone so that children settle back into Harlow Green and are happy to be here once again. We will concentrate on re-establishing routines and expectations within a social setting which will allow school learning habits to redevelop over time alongside building relationships between staff and pupils and amongst classmates.
We have all known that school is such an important part of young people’s lives but maybe we have not quite appreciated the extent to which this is the case. Having children skip into school with beaming smiles because they are with friends and are in a safe and engaging setting is what we have all missed and are very much looking forward to creating again.
How will school be organised?
Although there is a national plan for the lifting of restrictions which will hopefully see a progression to a level of normality, we must all be very careful to follow this sensibly and with caution in order to avoid regressing back to increasing infection rates and hospitalisations.
In order to do our part, upon returning to school, we will continue to adhere to the procedures and protocols which were in place before the lockdown which are essential in reducing the risk of virus transmission. This will be crucial when we have everyone on site once more. Consequently, amongst other measures, we will continue to:
- be organised in bubbles
- have regular handwashing during the day
- have staggered break times and lunch times
- ensure that the end of the day collection is managed effectively
- have staff undertake personal Covid-19 Lateral Flow testing, twice weekly
- follow national procedures wherever there is a positive Covid-19 case (e.g. close bubbles)
Next week, I will provide more information to remind everyone of the systems to follow when coming on to the site, which will predominately be the same as the autumn term although may take into account any new aspects identified through our risk assessment developed alongside the Local Authority.
Will I need to wear a face covering?
In relation to bringing children to school and collecting them, we will be back in a position where we need to manage a high number of adults on site, as well as children. We will once again have designated entry/exit doors and a staggered time between EYs/KS1 and KS2. However, it is important that face coverings are also used.
We will expect that all parents/carers who access the school site will wear face coverings unless they are one of the minority who are exempt. If you are exempt, please contact the school office so that we can record this. From speaking to parents/carers over the last few months it has been clear that the importance of face coverings is undoubtedly understood, and we appreciate your support in this matter.
Additionally, at least for this initial period up to Easter, staff who are dismissing children will also wear face coverings.
Like everybody else, we want this to be the last time children are kept away from school. We know that lockdown will have inevitably impacted on children in different ways; however, we also know that children are resilient, and the vast majority will be simply wishing to return to school to get back to normal. Our sole focus is to be fully prepared to provide the environment for all children to continue with their individual educational and personal journeys which will support everything families do on a daily basis so that each child can flourish and thrive.
On behalf of the governors and staff, we look forward to seeing you all again very soon.