Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions
I hope everyone is well and enjoying the summer weather. A number of parents have been asking me about the current situation and why certain decisions have been made regarding the partial reopening of the school so I thought I would give you some explanations that lie behind any decision making that has taken place.
What is a ‘bubble’? You will hear this term frequently. It simply means a group of children within the school.
How many children are in a ‘bubble’? We can’t have more than 15 children in a bubble.
How many ‘bubbles’ are there in the school? We have 4 bubbles in the school: Year R children in Spring Class.
Year 1 children in Summer Class
Year 6 children in Winter Class
Key Worker and other children in Autumn Class
Can a child from one ‘bubble’ meet a child from another ‘bubble’ during the school day? No. The different ‘bubbles’ need to remain separate to reduce the risk of Covid 19 spreading to a larger number of children. We know that our children will find it tricky to practise social distancing which is why the ‘bubbles’ were created. Toilet use is also monitored carefully to avoid cross contamination of the ‘bubbles’.
Can staff from one ‘bubble’ meet staff from another ‘bubble’ during the school day? This is tricky. If staff meet then they must adhere to the social distancing measures. This is another reason why breaks and lunchtimes have been staggered and reduces the demand on the staffroom during these times. The staff room and toilets are also regularly cleaned.
Can teachers or other staff meet children from outside their ‘bubble’? No. The ‘Protective Measures Guidance’ states that this should be avoided if at all possible. This is why members of staff can’t meet other pupils, including those who are working at home.
Can my child, who has been working so hard at home, have some contact with a member of staff? Yes. I am available from Monday to Thursday to see children and look forward to these meetings. Some parents have already taken me up on this offer. There are also a number of videos available on the Video Resource Centre page of our website.
Is it possible to increase the number of ‘bubbles’ in school? Although we have space in the hall as well as Murdoch Cottage, we don’t have enough staff to cover any additional ‘bubbles’. Under normal circumstances we would have 4 classes and these are staffed accordingly. We now have 4 bubbles which still need to be staffed even though there are fewer pupils. There is also the added complication of many staff being part-time and covering staggered breaks and lunchtimes.
Why can’t we employ supply teachers to cover any additional ‘bubbles’? In theory, we could do this, however, the school would be liable to the additional costs incurred. As we are already on a tight budget, this would not be viable financially.
Is it possible for staff to work in more than one ‘bubble’? No. The ‘Protective Measures Guidance’ states that this should be avoided if at all possible.
Why can’t the Community Centre be used as a teaching space? Last week, I received guidance from the DfE that village halls and other community buildings should not be used for the remainder of this academic year.
Why have you invited the Year 5 children back and not the other year groups? As we have such a small Year 6 cohort and not all of these children have taken up a space, there is capacity to increase this ‘bubble’. We sent out questionnaires to all the Year 5 pupils to gauge interest. Not all of the Year 5 parents accepted a place but we were able to offer a place to those that did want to return. The number of pupils in this bubble is still below 15. If we invited the other year groups back, we would have to create new bubbles and this is currently not possible.
What should I do if my child exhibits symptoms of Covid 19? Please inform the school and book a test. The school will inform Public Health England. Your child and members of the household are advised to self-isolate until you receive the result. If the result is negative, your child can return to school. The ‘bubble’ will remain open at this stage.
What if my child tests positive? Please inform the school immediately. Your child will need to self-isolate for 7 days and members of the family will need to self-isolate for 14 days. The ‘bubble’ at school will then be closed. If the child has a sibling in another ‘bubble’, the sibling will need to self-isolate but that bubble can still remain open.
What if my child tests negative? Your child and any siblings can return to school.
If my child is in Year R, Year 1 and Year 6 and not attending school, will I receive a Penalty Notice (fine)? No. This legislation is currently suspended.
What are the plans for September? This is a difficult question to answer. In short, the noises emanating out from central government suggest that all of our children will be back in school. However, as you have been aware, we live in ever changing times and I am constantly reading updated guidance. The governors have a meeting planned in July to look at any changes and we will be keeping in touch during the school holidays. This will enable us to plan carefully for the return in September.
I have a question that you have not answered above. Then please email me the question and I will hopefully have the answer and be able to update the above information.
I would also like to add that all the staff at school have seen an increase in their workloads as many are planning work for children at home as well as teaching all day. All staff also have reduced break times and lunchtimes to cover the staggered element of our timetable. I must take this opportunity to thank them all for their flexible approach to the reopening of the school – I am so grateful.
I do hope this has given you all an insight into the reasoning behind the decision making that has occurred at the school between the staff, governors and myself.
If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Best wishes as always,