RE New National Restrictions from today
You will all be aware of the new National Lockdown restrictions that have come into force from today.
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, remain in school full-time. At Botley, we are committed to keeping our school open for all our pupils for as long as we can.
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) We have been hard at work making sure we understand the guidance that was released late yesterday, reviewing our current risk assessment and procedures, and taking action to minimise risks further in our effort to make things a safe as possible for the community. Schools are required to review their risk assessments and make any changes to procedures as far as is reasonably practicable, by Monday 9th November.
Rules for staying open
- EY settings and schools will stay open and will continue as they did in their reopening in September
- Wraparound care (BOHSC) will remain open and continue to run risk assessment checks. Now we know it can continue to run, invoices for this term are being prepared and will be sent home as soon as possible.
- No other extra-curricular clubs can run outside of school hours.
- Parents are allowed to form a bubble with another household for informal childcare of children aged under 13 – this does not apply to play dates
- Support bubbles are allowed when a single parent joins with another household for support
Attendance and vulnerable pupils
- Children of Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) parents or members of their family home must attend school.
- Most children originally identified as CEV no longer need to shield. Speak to the GP or specialist if you feel your child should be in this category. You should receive a letter if your child is deemed CEV. Please provide a copy of this letter for the attendance records at school.
- 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.
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 and the change in weather.
- Schools have been advised to keep windows and internal doors open in the classrooms as ventilation is extremely important.
- As the weather gets colder, 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 unless Government guidance changes.
- School staff are now being asked to wear masks when using communal areas unless they are medically exempt from doing so.
- 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
- 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 remember to not pull into the double yellow lined area in front of the school gate as this is dangerous for the children and families who are crossing the road.
- 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.
Outside Agency support
- Children’s services and social care provision will continue in their support of vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
I apologise for the length of this communication, however, I wanted to ensure parents were updated as early as possible on the arrangements we will be putting into place and the additional revisions of our risk assessment process. There will inevitably be further changes and revisions in the coming days as further guidance is released and schools work together to ensure best practice. We will do our best to keep you all informed of these.
Thank you for your continued support.
Mrs Jo Reid.