Firstly, I would like to thank all families for their work and sacrifice during the last two months. It has been a challenging time for many reasons but parents/carers having to balance work and other pressures with Home Schooling, for a second time, has been hard. Thankfully, we are open again to all children and we will do all we can, along with the rest of the country, for this to continue to be the case.
We have been delighted to have all of the children back in school again and it has been wonderful to see classrooms full of laughter and smiles; the vast majority of children came into school with a spring in their step and as if they had never been away. Over the next few weeks, we will continue to reintroduce the children to school routines and do all that we can to support them in making progress. The parental survey we distributed last week has helped us to understand the position of many and where there are needs that we can be considerate of. I am very confident that, with your support, all will quickly settle back into life at Harlow Green, just as they did way back in September.
What are we doing to keep everybody safe?
As you know, we are still in lockdown and that the reopening of schools is just a first step in relaxing measures. This means that it will be quite a while until full normality returns to school life. We are still operating with many restrictions and our overwhelming priority must remain keeping everybody as safe as we can. We have completed a robust risk assessment for this wider reopening and, due to the level of organisation we have planned previously, many of the protocols and procedures continue as they did before Christmas.
Your child is being taught in small bubble with their classmates and they do not mix with other children at all during the day even during playtime and lunchtime. Where possible, we are limiting the number of adults who go into these bubbles. Children are regularly washing their hands and have access to emollient cream, if required. Children have their own equipment and any shared equipment is quarantined or thoroughly cleaned before being used by other bubbles. Rooms are regularly cleaned and are well ventilated. Staff are being tested twice weekly in case they have Covid-19 but are not displaying any symptoms.
All of these actions, amongst others, minimise the chance of your child being exposed to the virus and should give you reassurance that it is safe to send your child to school.
What can I do to help keep everybody safe?
We were only able to open school safely to all children in September with the co-operation and support of families and we need to ask you to continue to play your part again in a number of specific ways. I know that it takes time to remember all the expectations, but I am extremely appreciative of what parents/carers did again yesterday when bringing and collecting their children.
It is important that we manage adult presence on the site, so we are asking all adults to follow the protocols we have set out previously which include:
- Using the staggered start time between 08.45 and 09.00 to bring children to school so that they can simply walk into the building without needing to be lined up (registration is 09.00 so from 08.45 is still early)
- Allowing children in Y3 to Y6 to come on site independently
- Collecting children from their collection point(s) and then leaving as swiftly as possible
- Using the two lines behind cones for KS1 classes which prevents lines becoming too long
In addition to the above measures, we have asked for face coverings to be worn by adults on site, unless there is an exemption in place. Yesterday, the overwhelming majority of parents/carers followed this request which we greatly appreciated. I urge everyone who is not exempt to do this. Schools are the currently amongst the most populated sites in the country and, regardless of being outside, there is a high volume of people which means the safest position is that everyone wears a face covering. In school, we have implemented a vast array of changes to ensure we keep people safe and the wearing of a face covering, which everyone should own, is a simple way to show your support for schools and the fight against this disease.
General Practice – Hands, Face, Space
The greatest way to help keep schools open is for everyone to remain vigilant and to follow the most current government guidance. Although there will be the possibility of closing a bubble when a case arises, it would be regrettable if we had to close a class for 10 days as a consequence of someone taking an unnecessary and illegal risk. As all families will appreciate, children have missed enough school and we must all play our part in keeping them and my staff safe.
It remains especially important that no child is sent to school if they have symptoms of Covid-19 or if they have been in close contact with someone with symptoms of Covid-19. As a reminder, there are three main symptoms of Covid-19 and they are;
- A high temperature
- A new and persistent cough
- A loss of taste or sense of smell
If your child displays any of these three symptoms, it is essential that you;
- Keep your child and any siblings at home
- Book a test
- Notify school immediately via the office (or website at weekends)
As soon as we have a case we will send text message to all families in that child’s class, as we have always done, so that isolation can begin.
We appreciate that although everyone is pleased that children are back these remain worrying times and families may be understandably anxious. I very much appreciate that, as parents and carers, you will do all you can to help us keep Harlow Green as safe as possible. Thank you for your continued support and co-operation.