Keeping Everyone Safe
Elms School: Keeping Everyone Safe During the Covid-19 Crisis: May updates
The Covid-19 pandemic something that none of us have experienced before. As such, there are no tried and tested protocols to follow at this time, so we have to respond to ever-changing needs, advice and directives from government and the Local Authority. This policy will be regularly updated as the guidance changes.
As a school, we are trying to observe the Government’s recommendation to Stay at Home, Stay Safe. However, the Government has also stated that children of key workers and children who are vulnerable should be allowed to attend school as required. Schools have been asked to provide childcare onsite for those children and to provide learning activities for pupils who are at home.
All parents and carers opted to keep their child at home for the two weeks prior to the end of term 4. The school made up packs of work for every child, which included two weeks’ worth of activities appropriate to the age and stage of each pupil, plus the stationery needed to complete the tasks. We had some positive feedback from parents, thanking us for the packs which contained “everything my child could need.”
Elms School opened for five pupils on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings during the Easter break. After Easter. Since 20th April, we have opened for up to 10 pupils each day, with a maximum capacity of 12. Although we have only six pupils whose parents are key workers, we have some pupils who are very vulnerable and, although parents initially wanted their child at home, they are finding this difficult and have requested some respite care. Therefore, we have offered places for pupils whose parents requested a place, subject to a thorough Risk assessment. In some instances, where we and/or Social Services have specific concerns about a child, we will carry out a risk assessment and offer a place at school.
The government has stated that, subject to its five conditions being met, they want to ease lockdown and expand the school offer from June 1st. The final decision will be made on 28th May. We have decided to invite the pupils in Year 8 to come in as they have the most challenging transition in September, from a Primary model to that of a traditional secondary school. The idea is that they experience some subject specialist teaching, just as they would in September. We are taking every precaution to minimise risk; however, we would like pupils to experience going to different classes for their lessons. They have been split into classes of up to four pupils and they will be in three days per week. We are currently collating the numbers who would like a place.
We are also offering our Y6 pupils one or two days per week, again split into six smaller teaching groups, so that they can have an easier transition in September. We hope to offer places to some of our Y10 pupils for two days per week later in the term, on the days when Y8 are not on site.
We are observing the following points in order to ensure the health and safety of all:
How we will keep in touch
- The welfare team are making regular calls to the most vulnerable families, offering support and discussing with carers whether the child needs to come into school.
- All teachers are making regular calls home to the parents of children in their tutor groups, so that they can make a general check on welfare and also support with the learning activities that have been set.
- We will post regular updates to our website and Facebook page. We will send a Parentmail text to alert parents and carers of any new bulletins.
What we would like parents and carers to do
- If your child is able to remain safely at home, we encourage you to keep them home. Year 8 and Year 6 pupils have been invited to attend for some days each week, but this is not compulsory.
- School has provided online learning for term 5 and 6 and we are sending out hard copies to all families, as many do not have access to the internet/printers etc. Transport staff deliver the packs each week. Your child’s teacher will support with learning via email or telephone.
- Please support your child with home learning by providing a suitable working environment such as a quiet space to work. Your child’s teacher has provided a suggested timetable each day with appropriate learning activities. Please discuss any concerns regarding learning with the teacher.
- If you need a place at school for your child, please give us at least 24 hours’ notice so that we can arrange transport and adequate staffing. This will be subject to a risk assessment.
- Please encourage your child and all family members to regularly wash their hands for a count of 20 seconds. The latest government advice is that thorough handwashing is more effective than using an alcohol-based sanitiser, because the action of washing hands causes friction that can dislodge the virus.
What we would like parents and carers of children who are attending Elms Site to do
- Please ensure that your child washes their hands before leaving the home each day. Hand sanitisers are available in school and your child will be asked to use these frequently throughout the day.
- If your child develops a cough, high temperature, loss of taste or smell or any other Covid-19 symptoms, please let us know and keep them at home.
- If any child shows signs of Covid-19 symptoms during the day, the school will contact parents and carers to arrange to have them sent home straightaway. They will be taken to the Hub while they wait from transport, but they will not be left alone. School will provide transport as required. Your child should then be kept off for a minimum of 7 days and is eligible to have a Covid-19 test.
- Government advice to health care workers who are dealing with patients who have Covid-19 is to change their clothes and wash them as soon as they get home. We feel it would be good practice for staff and pupils to do the same, therefore we recommend that you send your child to school in clean clothes every day. To make this easier for you, we are suspending the wearing of school uniform during the crisis so your child will have more clothes to wear to school. They can, of course, wear uniform if they wish to. If this will cause a problem to you, please let us know and we can wash clothes at school if you send in a spare set of clothing.
- We will try to ensure that all pupils and staff maintain a distance of 2m apart at all times. Please talk to your child about the need to keep this distance. Obviously, if your child is hurt and needs first aid attention, we will exercise our duty of care.
- In order to maintain the health and safety of all pupils and staff, we do not want to use physical interventions unless it is absolutely necessary to keep staff and pupils safe. For this reason, if we feel that a child’s behaviour renders them unsafe in school at this time, we will have to review whether they can come onsite and we will arrange a different means of supporting you with childcare/respite.
Free School Meals
- We are using a voucher system as directed by the government. We will post details of this on our Facebook page and website.
- If your child is attending school we will provide meals as usual, however, the menu will be different as we are operating with minimal catering staff and our usual supplies may not be available.
- Our transport team will collect one child only, who will sit at the back of the vehicle, 2 metres away from the driver.
- Drivers will be given hand sanitiser, the option of wearing a face mask and disposable gloves if available.
- Pupils will be asked to use hand sanitiser when they get onto the vehicle.
Keeping everyone safe onsite
- PPE: all staff and pupils will be required to use hand sanitiser on arrival at school and throughout the day, if available. Children will be asked to wash their hands and sanitise regularly. We are doing all we can to ensure that we have adequate supplies of hand sanitiser, face masks, disposable gloves etc.
- Pupils’ temperatures will be taken using a non-contact thermometer on arrival.
- Pupils will be organised in classes of up to four pupils with two members of staff. Pupils will be seated 2 m apart. No contact sports will be played: physical activity will consist of Keep Fit type activities.
- All adults are encouraged to maintain a distance of 2m apart, as well as pupils.
- Onsite activities will be informal or formal, according to the needs of each pupil. Some staff will follow the online activities with children that have been set by teachers. Year 8 pupils will have lessons taught by subject teachers.
- All work completed at school will be sent home each day or destroyed in order to avoid contamination.
- Children will be given their own stationery to use at school.
- Classrooms will be well ventilated, preferably with an external opening door. Staff will be encouraged to take pupils outside as much as possible, weather permitting.
- We will provide breakfast on arrival if required and school lunch. Year 8 will eat in the dining hall, with no more than two pupils per table, one at each end. All other pupils will eat in classrooms. Tables will be cleaned down before and after meals. The menu will be different to usual due to availability of supplies.
- Andy Bennett will be available to support with behaviour. However, if a pupil’s behaviour is deemed to be unsafe, their place at Elms will be reviewed and we may consider offering support at home in the form of taking the child for a daily walk.
- The school will be offering reduced hours of 9.00 – 2.30 pm, with our usual 2.00 finish on Fridays. This will allow us to plan for staff cover if things change at short notice. We will have a shorter lunch break of 30 minutes. Staff have been allotted break times.
- There will be two lunch sittings and split break times to minimise the number of pupils together outside at any point.
- Everyone in the building will walk on the left-hand side of corridors. The corridors are just under 2 m wide, so we will endeavour to have as few people as possible in the corridor at any time.
Cleaning the school
- Refuse will still be collected from school and all bins will be emptied daily.
- Classrooms will be provided with a lidded swing bin for the disposal of used tissues.
- Cleaning staff have been issued some specific guidelines for adherence during this period. These include thoroughly cleaning all surfaces which are likely to be touched with disposable cloths and wearing gloves at all times which are then disposed of.
- Classrooms that are being used will be thoroughly cleaned each day.
- Toilets will be cleaned throughout the day.
What we expect from staff
- All staff should keep us informed of any change to their circumstances.
- All staff should be available for work unless they are self-isolating, shielding or “stringently” observing social distancing. In most cases, staff should be able to work onsite while following the protocols above.
- We will operate a rota system in order to ensure that as few members of staff are onsite at any one time as possible. However, all staff will need to be on standby each day in case the rota needs to change at short notice.
- All teachers are expected to provide learning activities appropriate to the age and stage of their pupils.
- All teachers are expected to make regular contact with parents and carers. Teachers have agreed with parents and carers the most suitable way to maintain contact. Some teachers have opted to use their own phones and withholding their number or agreeing with parents and carers that they will “block” their number after the crisis has finished.
- Teachers who are able to work will be asked to teach classes of up to 4 pupils. Teachers will need to check the rota to see when they are needed in school.
- TAs should check the rota regularly to see when they are needed in school. Those who cannot attend school should ensure that they do any work from home that is required.
- Class-based staff should ensure that they complete their online training as agreed with their appraiser. The site team will continue to look after the building, following the protocols outlined above.
- The catering team will operate on a rota system and will provide lunch for those onsite.
- The admin team will work from home or onsite as required.
- The floor plan has been amended to show where pupils will enter the building and where they will be taught (see below).
We would like to thank all members of our community for their continued support and understanding throughout this difficult time. We are aware that arrangements may have to change at short notice and we would ask everyone to continue to be patient as we work through this national crisis.