Dear Parents, Carers and friends,
There has been much talk about the extended opening of schools on June 1st. Whilst the debate continues, we are all very clear that, of course, we would like to see your children return to school if it is deemed safe for them to do so.
If we open on 1st June, we will be operating a rota system, with each child in year 6 attending school for one day a week. Each child will be in a group of 8 (in order to allow for social distancing) with their class teacher, in their own classroom. We will review this after two weeks. We will know the Government’s final decision and if the plan is going to go ahead on the 28th May.
There is much for you to consider and you have some tough decisions to make. You are now being asked to make the decision on whether you will send your child into school from 1st June or not.
We are all in agreement that it is vital that children, at some point, return to school. The problem is that many of us are now scared by the easing of the lockdown. For the last eight weeks, the message has been clear: “Stay at home”. We cannot, however, stay at home forever. Life needs to return to some form of a new normality.
We have put safety measures in place to help support the reduction in the possible transmission of Covid 19. Some of these are detailed below:
Drop off and pick up
- We will stagger the start times for each of the Year 6 classes (Elm 8.45, Yew 9am and Oak 9.15)
- Parents and children will follow strict social-distancing guidelines when arriving and leaving children at the school gate. Elm and Oak Class will use the main entrance – the main gates will be open and Yew Class will use the car park gate. A member of the Leadership team will be on duty to help with social distancing. Be aware there will be no crossing patrol.
- Parents will not be allowed to drive into the school car park or park in the car park entrance to ensure the safety of children.
- Parents will not be allowed to enter the school grounds, apart from in an emergency or to collect a child if they need to be sent home. Any messages must be sent in via telephone/ email.
- When entering the building, children and staff will be expected to wash hands before touching tables or doors.
- No uniform as temporary measure, but definitely clean clothes every day
- We will stagger pick-up times – all parents to collect from the car park gate. (Elm class 2.45/ Yew at 3pm and Oak at 3.15) See point 9 for more detail.
- Children and staff will wash hands before the end of the school day.
- Parents, if collecting their child, to wait, socially distanced at least 2m apart, in the car park – children will be sent out when the child sees the parent. Any children who are walking home independently, will be allowed to leave once the car park has cleared. No cars will be allowed into the carpark. This will be marshalled by a member of the leadership team.
- Parents will be expected to follow social-distancing whilst waiting for the children.
During the day
- Children will sit at their own desk two meters apart. This will be their station for the day.
- Limited movement around the classroom will be expected.
- Each “bubble” will have access to their own toilet facilities and children will only be allowed to go one at a time.
- Handwashing facilities will be available in all rooms and the children will be expected to wash hands regularly throughout the day.
- Packed lunch will be eaten at their own desk
- Children must have access to their own water bottle – this will be taken home daily.
- Children will be allocated their own equipment including a chromebook and pencil case with equipment
- Children will be allowed out to play for regular breaks but this will be zoned for each bubble – they will not be able to interact with children in other groups.
- There will be circulation routes in some areas to avoid contact.
Classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day with particular attention to frequently touched surfaces, tables and chairs, sinks, taps, door handles etc. Regular cleaning of tables, door handles, taps etc will take place throughout the day and the classroom and equipment will be cleaned ready for each new day.
As you can see, this is in no way a return to normal life at Elmhurst. It will be incredibly different and challenging for some of the children who are, quite rightly, used to a very different approach. They will need the support and positivity of all adults to show them that we are confident that they are safe as can be.
In order for us to help plan the groups, we now need to know, for definite, which year 6 children will be returning on the 1st June. We will make sure that children are with their friends as much as possible. Much care will go into sorting the groups. There will be no flexibility in the groupings though – children will not be allowed to change “bubbles” and parents will not be able to request “bubbles”.
Please email Tracy (TEdwards1@ejsch.co.uk) or Mike (MLawrence1@ejsch.co.uk) with your response by Monday 25th May. Please include in your email an emergency contact number that we can contact you on if necessary.
The decision to send your child back to school is yours. No parent will be penalised for their child’s non-attendance. We understand that some parents may not wish their child to return to school and this is entirely your choice. The Government guidance is still, ‘Stay at home as much as possible’. The school is not going to be held accountable for the attendance figures during this period. This has to be about what is right for your child, you and your circumstances.
Please remember, though, that everyone’s circumstances are different. Be kind and understanding of the challenges different families face. Everyone will have their own reasons for their choices.
Tracy, Mike, Claire and Andy
Heads and Co-Chairs of Elmhurst Junior School