Latest news from the Head Teacher - 17th June 2020

Heading For School Notepaper XL

17th June 2020

Dear Parents,

We hope that you are all safe and well. We would like to thank you for keeping in touch with us during this challenging time and for your involvement in, and support of, your child’s learning.

We would like to update you with the latest return to school information. Guidance was received on Wednesday 10th June from Welsh Government and we are now responding to that. We still have a great deal of work to do, but we will send further updates to you as soon as possible. In preparing for reopening of schools for 4 weeks from 29th June, we are able to clarify a few key points:

Class groupings:  We are in the process of calculating the number of sessions we can offer pupils, in line with our capacity number. Further information will be shared as soon as possible.  Pupils will be in small groups, within an allocated classroom. They will remain in this classroom and group for the whole school session, or they may be involved in outdoor activities with the same group. The entrance/exit points for each group will be clearly marked.

Social Distancing: All members of the school community will be expected to adhere to social distancing rules and we will be supporting your child to understand what this means for them, their peers, and their teachers. Social distancing signage around the school will help to remind everyone of these expectations. We kindly request that you respect this when dropping off and collecting your child, as we need to take every measure to minimise people gathering outside the school. For everyone’s safety, visitors to school will be strictly monitored and will only be permitted for essential/emergency reasons. School arrival and departure times will be staggered. I will provide more details once these have been approved by the Local Authority.

Hand Washing: Pupils and staff will be required to wash/sanitise their hands thoroughly and regularly throughout the day. Correct hand washing will be modelled and supervised by staff, in an age and ability appropriate manner. In addition, dedicated hand sanitising stations will be available around school.

School capacity and timetable: Welsh Government guidance states that no more than one third of the total number of pupils should be on the school site at any time. We have worked alongside the Local Authority to calculate how many pupils we can safely have on site at any one time, taking into account the needs of the children, floor space and the layout of the building. We are currently working on a draft timetable and will share this as soon as possible.  As yet, we are unsure of school timings, exactly how classes will be arranged etc.

Work stations: Every child will be allocated their own desk and chair space as necessary, and will need to engage in their activities within this space, unless they are working outdoors. Each child will be given a pack of resources in school, solely for their use. Please do not send in unnecessary items from home.

Cleaning: Cleaning regimes will be significantly enhanced, with regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, door handles, toilets etc. 

Clothing/uniform: Pupils will not be expected to wear uniform. Guidance suggests that pupils wear clothing that is suitable for the school environment, comfortable and easily washable. Ideally, clothing worn to school should be washed on returning home.

Food and drink: All school kitchens in the county will be closedthis term. Therefore, all pupils will need to bring in their own packed lunch, snacks and drink (this includes FSM learners, as payment goes to families directly now). There will be facilities for filling water bottles.

Attendance: If parents choose not to send their children to school, this decision will be respected. Welsh Government have stated no fines will be issued at this time. Distance learning will continue for all pupils and it is vital that pupils engage with this. Pupils who are in receipt of a shielding letter should not attend school.

Symptomatic Pupils: If a pupil shows symptoms of Covid-19 whilst in school, there will be an isolation room made available for them. Parents will be contacted and expected to collect their child from school immediately. All areas where this person has been will be identified and a thorough clean down will occur prior to reoccupation, in line with Welsh Government guidance.

Home-School Agreement: There will be a revised Home-School Agreement (to follow). This will outlineexpectations relating to health and safety and engagement in learning.

Our school will continue to support pupils who are currently accessing our bespoke childcare provision. However, please note that parents should still make every effort to care for children at home at this time. If a bespoke care place is necessary, please speak to your child’s class teacher or your social worker, who will submit your case to the Inclusion Department.

Risk Assessment: The school will be adhering to the Carmarthenshire County Council Risk Assessment Policy, in conjunction with the Welsh Government Guidance:

https://gov.wales/keep-education-safe-operational-guidance-schools-and-settings-covid-19

It is vital that no child is sent to school if they feel unwell; has any of the three identified COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of taste or smell); or if they, or a member of the household,  have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

We will make every effort to mitigate and reduce risks as far as possible within our school setting. Measures will include frequent opportunities to wash hands, strictly limiting numbers of pupils and adults on the school site, social distancing and a stringent cleaning rota. WG guidance does not require the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) at this time by either staff or pupils, other than in cases where social distancing is compromised, e.g. first aid, assistance with toileting, intimate care and where bespoke packages of care and support dictate this is necessary.

The school retains the right to review its provision in line with statutory guidance and make amendments to its Risk Assessment Policy when and where necessary.

Year 6 and other transitions:  A number of dedicated days will be set aside in September for Year 6 and others  to make the transition to school. Further details on this will follow.

Key experiences: We look forward to welcoming your children back to school and will be focusing on well-being during these valuable ‘Check- in, Catch -up and Prepare’ sessions. Pupils will be able to connect with their friends and share experiences, spending time in the class group and outside in the school grounds. There will be an opportunity for the class teacher, or a familiar adult, to support any key issues arising with a child’s learning, in order to maximise or enhance future learning arrangements. It will be an important opportunity for everyone to become familiar with our new ways of working, which will include a ‘blended learning’ approach between home and school. Please see WG guidance for more details:

https://gov.wales/guidance-learning-over-summer-term-keep-education-safe

We appreciate that all your questions may not be answered in this letter. Please refer to the Carmarthenshire ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ pages which may be able to support you with your queries:  www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/education. Alternatively, please contact us so that we can reassure you in relation to the measures we have put in place.

Please be assured that, as a school team, we will do our utmost to make your child’s return to school as safe and as enjoyable as possible.

Thank you for your support and patience in this matter. We will endeavour to keep you involved and informed throughout the process.

Yours sincerely,

N.K.Symmons

Headteacher; Staff and Governors of Ysgol Heol Goffa.

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