INFORMATION FOR SEPTEMBER AND RETURNING TO SCHOOL
Please click on this link for an end of term video message that explains the new routines from September from Mrs Dorian-Kemp.
GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE ON RETURNING TO SCHOOL
1. Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school
Ensuring that pupils, staff and other adults do not come into the school if they have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or have tested positive in at least the last 10 days, and ensuring anyone developing those symptoms during the school day is sent home, are essential actions to reduce the risk in schools and further drive down transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms.
2. Clean hands thoroughly more often than usual
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an easy virus to kill when it is on skin. This can be done with soap and running water or hand sanitiser. Schools must ensure that pupils clean their hands regularly, including when they arrive at school, when they return from breaks, when they change rooms and before and after eating. Regular and thorough hand cleaning is going to be needed for the foreseeable future.
3. Ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
The ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach continues to be very important, so schools must ensure that they have enough tissues and bins available in the school to support pupils and staff to follow this routine. As with hand cleaning, schools must ensure younger children and those with complex needs are helped to get this right, and all pupils understand that this is now part of how school operates.
4. Introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often using standard products, such as detergents and bleach.
5. Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible
Minimising contacts and mixing between people reduces transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). Schools must do everything possible to minimise contacts and mixing while delivering a broad and balanced curriculum.
The overarching principle to apply is reducing the number of contacts between children and staff. This can be achieved through keeping groups separate (in ‘bubbles’) and through maintaining distance between individuals. These are not alternative options and both measures will help, but the balance between them will change depending on:
- children’s ability to distance
- the lay out of the school
- the feasibility of keeping distinct groups separate while offering a broad curriculum (especially at secondary)
It is likely that for younger children the emphasis will be on separating groups, and for older children it will be on distancing. For children old enough, they should also be supported to maintain distance and not touch staff where possible.
Groups should be kept apart, meaning that schools should avoid large gatherings such as assemblies or collective worship with more than one group.
In March when the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was increasing, we made clear no parent would be penalised or sanctioned for their child’s non-attendance at school.
Now the circumstances have changed and it is vital for all children to return to school to minimise as far as possible the longer-term impact of the pandemic on children’s education, wellbeing and wider development.
Missing out on more time in the classroom risks pupils falling further behind. Those with higher overall absence tend to achieve less well in both primary and secondary school. School attendance will therefore be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply, including:
- parents’ duty to secure that their child attends regularly at school where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age;
- schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence
- the availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct
Pupils who are shielding or self-isolating
We now know much more about coronavirus (COVID-19) and so in future there will be far fewer children and young people advised to shield whenever community transmission rates are high. Therefore, the majority of pupils will be able to return to school. You should note however that:
- a small number of pupils will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves; or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19)
- if rates of the disease rise in local areas, children (or family members) from that area, and that area only, will be advised to shield during the period where rates remain high and therefore they may be temporarily absent (see below).
- some pupils no longer required to shield but who generally remain under the care of a specialist health professional may need to discuss their care with their health professional before returning to school (usually at their next planned clinical appointment). You can find more advice from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health at COVID-19 – ‘shielding’ guidance for children and young people
- Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. Schools should monitor engagement with this activity (as set out in the section below).Where children are not able to attend school as parents are following clinical and/or public health advice, absence will not be penalised.
Uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, nor do they need to be cleaned using methods which are different from normal.
Process in the event of local outbreaks
If a local area sees a spike in infection rates that is resulting in localised community spread, appropriate authorities will decide which measures to implement to help contain the spread. The Department for Education will be involved in decisions at a local and national level affecting a geographical area, and will support appropriate authorities and individual settings to follow the health advice. We will provide more information on this process in due course.
Contingency plans for outbreaks
In the event of a local outbreak, the PHE health protection team or local authority may advise a school or number of schools to close temporarily to help control transmission. Schools will also need a contingency plan for this eventuality. This may involve a return to remaining open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers, and providing remote education for all other pupils.
The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)
If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UKPRN) available when calling the hotline.
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PLASTIC FREE PLEDGE – NOW WE NEED YOUR HELP!
As you know, High View have taken the pledge to become a single use plastic free school in order to support our environment. Having investigated things which we can change, we have noticed that lots of children who have a packed lunch don’t have refillable drink bottles. We would like to stop the use of single use plastic drinks i.e. fruit shoot etc., therefore we will now be providing juice, milk or water for children who do not have a reusable bottle. Please can we ask that your child only brings in a refillable bottle or has a school supplied drink from now on?
Thank you for your support.