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March 8th reopening update

Dear Parents/Carers,

Return to school from March 8th

We are delighted that the success of the National Lockdown means that the restricted attendance for schools comes to an end on Friday 5th March, with all pupils expected back in school on Monday 8th March.

This return to school will still have strict risk assessments in place however, and will be very much like the period of National Lockdown in November, when only schools were open but the nation was still being told to ‘Stay at Home’. The main difference now is that we have additional measures to help break the spread of the virus, including regular testing of primary school staff for asymptomatic cases and the roll out of the vaccination programme. These are in addition to our already robust risk assessment and preventative measures at Botley School.

As the Department for Education states, it is very important for children to attend.  School is the best place for them and they should continue to come to school.  Being at school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time spent out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current levels of education, and children’s future ability to learn. It continues to be the Government’s aim that all pupils, in all year groups, return to school full-time. At Botley, we are committed to keeping our school open for all our pupils as long as it is safe to do so.

The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. For the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in the classroom far outweigh the low risk from coronavirus (COVID-19). In addition, the rate of infection in the Botley and Kennington area has seen a significant decrease, as reported in the update I sent on Monday.

To help us prepare for the return of all our pupils, the staff will be in school on Friday 5th March and the morning ‘live’ session will be reduced to 15 minutes. Some 1:1 sessions may be shortened or rearranged to allow for the additional support in preparing the building and classrooms.

As part of our commitment to the safety of our community, I have updated our school risk assessment and the rules for reopening in line with the current government advice, as follows:

Rules for staying open

  • EY settings and schools will reopen and operate in the same way we did through the Autumn term, with full preventative measures in place.
  • Wraparound care (BOHSC) will expand the number of pupils it can cater for, but this will still be restricted owing to the risk assessment and staffing capacity. Families who are registered with BOSHC have been sent a letter with the new terms and conditions and an online booking form for the rest of March. If you have not received this, or wish to register your family, please email the BOSHC team and request a registration form.
  • No other extra-curricular clubs will run outside of school hours before Easter. This will be reviewed at the end of March with a view to seeing if we can begin to reintroduce them in the summer term.  

Attendance and vulnerable pupils

  • Children of Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) parents or members of their family home must attend school. 
  • Many children originally identified as CEV have been removed from the shielding list. Please speak to the GP or specialist if you feel your child should be in this category.  You should receive a letter or test if your child is deemed CEV, alerting you to keep them at home.
  • Confirmed CEV children should not attend and will be provided with remote learning.
  • Clinically Vulnerable (CV) children should continue to attend.
  • It remains the parents’ duty to secure their child’s attendance regularly at school (where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age)
  • It remains the schools’ responsibility to record attendance and follow up absence
  • We will be taking advice from and following the rules set out by the local authority on absence penalty notices and attendance monitoring during this period of restrictions, however, the government have stated that as school attendance is once again mandatory, penalty notices can now be applied for non-attendance at school.
  • Any pupils missing education because they have travelled abroad will be counted as unauthorised, including any absence owing to period of isolation that results from this travel.

 

Arriving and leaving school

Please see this reminder for how the children should enter and exit the building.

 

Classes

Door

Year 6 - Cedar and Lilac

Forest School door

Year 5 Sycamore

Through the first hall door

Year 5 Hawthorn

Through the second hall door

Year 3/4 Cypress

Boys’ toilet door

Year 3/4 Maple

White door near to the staffroom

Year 3/4 Silver Birch and Chestnut

Old school entrance doors

Year 2 Rowan

Year 2 playground door accessed through the KS1 playground

Year 2 Cherry

Through the classroom back door

Year 1 Apple and Poplar

Through classroom doors via the KS1 playground

Ladybirds

Through Nursery gate and into class via the garden

Butterflies

Through Nursery gate and into class via the garden

 

Equipment

To avoid congestion in corridors and minimise the risk of spread from close contact between groups, use of the cloakrooms will be kept to an absolute minimum.  Therefore, what your child brings into school should also be minimal.  We have asked that children do not bring rucksacks or book bags but as requested they bring their own small pencil case to be left in school and that they wear their PE kit to school on the day their teacher tells them they have PE.  All other requirements for equipment will be communicated through the class teachers or phase leaders.

 

 

Routines

We will return to the control measures that were in place for the pupils in the Autumn term.  These include:

  • Where they keep their belongings in the classroom
  • What time they will have break
  • Where their allocated playground zone is
  • Where their allocated toilets are.

 

Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 procedures

  • If we have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in school, we will notify the families for children who are in the affected bubbles through Classlist and email. Please keep an eye on your email clutter and junk folders.
  • If we need to send a bubble home from school, we will notify parents by telephone.
  • The guidance for isolation periods will be included in the parent information with links to NHS guidance.
  • Any bubbles who are sent home to isolate will have remote learning triggered from the next school day.

 

Visitors in school

All visits to school are restricted – visits for parents and carers are suspended for:

  • New admissions
  • Settling children in a new setting
  • Plays and performances etc
  • Face to face parent consultations – our parent consultations will be arranged through Teams and information on these will be released very soon.
  • Impromptu meetings with parents at the start and end of the day are to be avoided. All messages for teachers should be sent via the school email or year group email systems.
  • Meetings with teachers should be virtual and by appointment only.

 

Ventilation

  • Schools have been advised to keep windows and internal doors open in the classrooms as ventilation is extremely important. 
  • Although the weather is becoming more spring-like, we would encourage children to wear extra layers under their uniforms and bring an extra jumper or fleece into school in addition to their school Jumper.  This does not have to be a school uniform jumper. Please make sure any additional jumpers are named.
  • Please remember to send your child to school with a warm, waterproof coat every day.  Once again, please make sure that it has their name in it.

 

Wearing of Masks

  • During this period, we will continue to keep our bubbles separate by eating in classrooms, playing in separate zones and avoiding movement around the school.  Therefore, children will not wear masks in school.
  • School staff are now being asked to wear masks when using communal areas unless they are medically exempt from doing so, and when entering any classroom or space where another adult is present.
  • Visitors to the school will continue to be asked to wear a mask. 
  • We continue to expect all parents/or carers to wear a mask when on the premises.  This includes dropping off or collecting their children unless you have a medical reason not to do so.

Travelling to school and road safety

  • Journeys can be made to school but families are encouraged to walk or cycle to school wherever possible.
  • Please avoid busy times in the mornings by taking advantage of our slow start between 8.30 and 8.55 at which time the register will be taken.
  • Please do not arrive earlier than 8:30 as we want to avoid queues of parents or children in one place. Please aim to arrive after 8:30, but before 8:55.
  • The exit from school at 3.15 is a single time as access through our car park can be facilitated thus giving more space to pedestrians.
  • Additionally, please remember that the roadworks will be commencing on the Botley Road at the Westminster Way and Elms Road junctions, so please take extra care, park further away and walk into the school. We have contacted the PCSO team and requested support in ensuring the safety of our families.
  • The one-way system of walking up Elms road, and crossing into school will again be in place.
  • Parents are reminded that they must not drive up Elms Road or pull over in the double yellow lines area by the entrance to the school. This is where our children and families cross over the road and it is not safe to pull in there. Again, we have requested support from the PCSO team to help monitor vehicles using Elms Road in the morning.

 

Outside Agency support

  • Children’s services and social care provision will continue in their support of vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

 

This information will also be available on the school website Parent COVID-19 Information page where there is additional information, and links to government guidance and documents.

 

We look forward to welcoming you all back and thank you for your continued support.

Mrs Jo Reid.

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