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FAQS

Will school be back to normal?
We will do whatever we can to make school feel as normal as possible when the children return in September. There will be lots of familiar faces to welcome the children back and lots of friendly smiles. There will be some changes to routines and we will have to do things differently but these can easily be learnt. One thing we do know is that children are remarkable at adapting. 

 

The school timetable will need to be more rigid so that children from different classes do not mix at break times or lunch or when using the toilet. There is a clearly marked One Way system to help prevent children from different classes coming into contact with each other at transition times.

 

Will my child need their own water bottle?
Yes. All children must bring in fresh water from home in a water bottle. They will need to take the empty bottle home. They can refill their bottle during the day if need be.

 

Will my child need to bring their PE kit only on the days of PE?
No. PE kits can stay in school.

 

Should my child bring their packed lunch in a disposable bag?
No. Children can still bring a packed lunch box. Each class will have a designated area to place their lunch boxes to avoid children from different classes mixing.

 

What will my child need on the first day?

Water bottle. Book bag, Home School Book and any reading books. Lunch box for those having a packed lunch. PE bag (although children will not do PE on their first day). Coat or waterproof jacket if it is raining or likely to rain. Change of footwear to go onto the field or Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA).

 

Will there be lots of handwashing?
Yes. Frequent hand washing is really important and we expect children to be pretty expert at this by now. Teachers will build hand washing into the daily routine including first thing in the morning, at the end of every lesson, after break/lunchtime and before and after using the toilet. Children will be asked to wash their hands during lessons when they have used class equipment and always after coughing, sneezing, blowing their nose or playing outside.

 

Can my child bring their own hand sanitiser? 
Children will not need to bring their own hand sanitiser. We have plenty of sanitiser and washing facilities in each classroom. 

 

Will the school be taking children’s temperature when they arrive?

Government guidance currently does not recommend routine temperature testing reliable way of detecting coronavirus. If this changes, we will let you know. Where a child feels unwell, or we suspect they have a fever, we will take their temperature as part of routine care. If your child does have a high temperature, we will let you know because your child must go home as a high temperature is one of the symptoms of coronavirus. 

 

Likewise, if you your child has a temperature when they are at home, you should not send them to school under any circumstances. Instead, you should arrange for your child to have a coronavirus test and let us know the result.

 

Will my child be expected to socially distance?
Young children and children with complex needs cannot be expected to socially distance nor would it be feasible with up to 30 children in a class. Instead, we will be putting children into consistent groups called bubbles. Children from different bubbles are kept apart and are prevented from interacting with other bubbles through a staggered time table. 

 

Bubbles arrive and leave school at the same time, they learn together, eat together and play together. Each bubble has its own timetable so these events do not coincide with another bubble.

 

Bubbles are recommended because they help to reduce the number of contacts and interactions in and around the school. The preferred option for primary schools is to use class sized bubbles. 

 

Although children are not expected to socially distance within the bubbles, contact sports are not allowed and older children will be encouraged not to touch their peers and queue up at a distance with others. Children old enough to understand, will be encouraged and reminded of the importance of maintaining a distance with others. Activities will be carefully chosen to avoid close contact between children. Adults will adapt their teaching style and avoid close face to face contact when working with an individual. Instead they will work side by side where possible.
 

Can my child bring things from home?
We are asking children to only bring in essential items such as reading books, homework, lunch/snack and water bottles. Bags and PE kits are allowed. 

 

Can my child bring in a snack?
If your child is in Class 1 and Class 2, the national Fruit for Schools Scheme will be returning in September.  This is where each child is given a free healthy snack in the form of a free piece of fruit every day. 

 

Children in Class 3 and 4 may bring in a ‘healthy’ snack such as a piece of fruit or cut up vegetables such as carrot sticks. The definition of a healthy snack is any snack that is 100 or less calories. Children are not allowed to bring in crisps or chocolate bars for example as these exceed the 100 calorie threshold for a healthy snack set by NHS Change for Life.

 

https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/food-facts/healthier-snacks-for-kids/100-calorie-snacks

 

Will school dinners be available? 
Yes. If you are not set up for online payments, please email or telephone the school office so we can issue you with login details as we are moving towards a cashless payment system. School dinners remain free for all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 and parents entitled to benefits based free school meals. 

 

Will children be allowed to take reading books home?
Yes. Classroom based resources such as books can be used and shared within the bubble so long as children wash their hands before and after selecting or returning a school book.

 

Can I speak to my child’s class teacher?
If we want schools to fully open, we need to do whatever we can to reduce the number of contacts and interactions to an absolute minimum. Face to face meetings should be avoided wherever possible unless they are essential or can be conducted in a socially distanced way. In most cases, important information can successfully be passed on through a quick email or telephone call or your child’s home school book. We also have video conferencing facilities for longer meetings. There will be very few instances where a parent will need a face-to-face meeting or to enter the school building. Messages can be conveyed directly to the teachers using the following email addresses :

 

Class1@stisted.esssex.sch.uk
Class2@stisted.esssex.sch.uk
Class3@stisted.esssex.sch.uk
Class4@stisted.esssex.sch.uk
montessori@stisted.esssex.sch.uk

 

The headteacher can be contacted using the following address :
martin@stisted.esssex.sch.uk

 

A direct enquiry or query to the school office can be made using the following address :
admin@stisted.esssex.sch.uk

 

How can I pay for things as I usually pay at the Office?
For the time being, we are restricting visitors and parents from entering the entrance lobby. Payments for dinners, trips, Breakfast Club can be made online using World Pay as we are moving towards a cashless payments system only. Please telephone the Office for details on how to set up an online account. In the meantime, we will take emergency cash payments placed in an envelope with details clearly marked. This can be posted through our letter box or handed to a member of staff at the front door.

 

Are other visitors allowed into the building?
Only essential visitors are allowed into the building and by appointment only. This is because additional adults increase the chances of an infected person entering the building and passing the virus on. We also have to clean and disinfect the surfaces a visitor may have touched after they have left. This places additional burdens on the school.

 

Essential visitors include maintenance contractors, school nurses, specialist teachers, ICT technicians etc. All essential visitors must follow our protocols including washing/sanitising their hands on entry and maintaining 2m social distancing with children and staff. 

 

All these restrictive measures are to protect you, your child and our staff while coronavirus is still in general circulation. Visitors may be asked to wear face covering depending on the nature of their visit.

 

Is it true that if one child tests positive the whole class could be sent home for 14 days?
The guidance for schools says ‘based on advice from the health protection team, schools must send home those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive for 14 days’. 

 

The guidance defines close contact as face to face contact within a metre, contact within 2 metres for 15 minutes or more or travel in a car.

In a class of up to 30 pupils, it is likely that the local health protection team will ask the whole class and staff to self-isolate for 14 days.

 

If the school has two or more confirmed cases within 14 days, or an overall rise in the sickness absence where coronavirus is suspected, the local health protection team will advise if additional action is required.

 

In some cases, the health protection team may recommend that a larger number of other pupils self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure.


Will there be remote education (home learning) in the event of an entire class being sent home to self-isolate because of a confirmed case?
Yes. The class teacher will also be self-isolating along with the children and will switch to remote education if they are well enough. 


How will lunchtimes work?
Children will have their lunch in their classrooms. Lunchtime will be staggered so children do not mix with other groups when they collect their lunchbox, school dinner or go out for play for example. There will be some overlap where children are outside but the play area will be clearly zoned and cordoned off to prevent children from different classes mixing.

 

Social play that does not require close contact such as hopscotch, skipping, bat and ball games will be encouraged to reduce minimise contact. Children will not share equipment used by another group. The equipment will be cleaned after use. Contact sports are not allowed.

 

Will children be able to access the toilet whenever they need it? 
Reception children have their own toilet block and will be able to go to the toilet as and when they need to. The other toilet block must be shared between the remaining classes. 


Under the current rules, children will not be able to use the toilets if someone from another class is using it as this will be classified as 'close contact'. Toilet times are timetabled to avoid this happening. We do have a disabled toilet that can be used in an emergency. If a child needs the toilet in between their designated times, a member of staff will escort them to ensure they do not mix with children from other classes.


What happens if my child develops symptoms of coronavirus at school?


a.    Your child will be moved away from other children and moved to a special room where they can be looked after. 
b.    We will contact you by telephone and ask you to collect your child. You will need to arrange a coronavirus test for your child. If the test

       is negative, your child can return to school.
c.    If the result is positive, the government’s stay at home guidance says that your child and anyone living in your child’s household should

       self-isolate for 14 days. 
d.    The school will contact the local public health team. The public health team will advise who else should be sent home and self-isolate

       for 14 days. In most cases, this is expected to be the entire class bubble.
e.    The class bubble will re-open after 14 days but anyone developing symptoms within the 14 days must stay at home for at least

       10 days after the onset of symptoms.

 

What happens if someone in my household develops symptoms of coronavirus?
a.    If someone from your household develops symptoms, the current government advice is for the whole household to self-isolate. A test

       should then be arranged for the person displaying symptoms. This means your child should not come to school until the result of the

       test is known even if it is not they who are displaying symptoms. 
b.    If the result is positive, the entire household should continue to isolate for 14 days. If your child develops symptoms within the 14 days,

       they should stay away from school for a further 10 days.
c.    If the test is negative, all members of the household can end their isolation and your child can return to school.
 
What happens if a pupil or member of staff has symptoms of coronavirus?
a.    Any pupil or member of staff with symptoms of coronavirus must not come to school. School must be informed. The child or adult must

       stay at home and take a coronavirus test. 
b.    If the child has siblings in the school, they must also stay at home until the result of the test is known. 
c.    Children in the class of the suspected case do not need to be sent home unless the result is positive.
d.    Once the test result is known, the parent or member of staff will need to let the school know the outcome. 
e.    If the result is negative, the child or member of staff (and any siblings) may return to school. 
f.     If the test is positive, the child or member of staff must stay at home for at least 10 days after the first symptoms appeared.
g.    If the child or member of staff tests positive, the whole household they live with should isolate for 14 days according to the

       government's ‘Stay at home guidance’. This means any siblings should not come to school even if they are showing no symptoms. 
h.    If a sibling then develops symptoms on any day within the 14 day isolation period, they must remain at home for at least a further 10

       days.
i.     If a child or member of staff tests positive, the school will contact the local public health team. The public health team will advise who

       should be sent home and self-isolate for 14 days. In most cases, this is expected to be the entire class bubble.
j.    The class bubble will re-open after 14 days but anyone developing symptoms within the 14 days must stay at home for at least 7 days

      after the onset of symptoms.
k.    Other household members of children in the class bubble that have been sent home do not need to self-isolate unless a member of the

       household then develops symptoms. 

 

If my child tests positive and can return 10 days after the onset of symptoms, yet the class and the teacher are still within the 14 days self-isolation period, where will my child be taught?

We have noted this apparent anomaly. Whilst your child may be well enough to return, there will be no class to return to. That said, your household should be self-isolating in any case and will not be able to bring your child in to school. As the guidance stands, the class bubble would be closed for 14 days and education will be remote during this period because we have no staff available in school to teach that one child until the class returns.

 

Will the children eat lunch in the hall? 
No. Shared spaces must be cleaned between each class bubble using that area. This will not be practical at lunchtime as there will be 4 class groups eating in close succession. 

 

Eating in the classroom will avoid these logistical issues and reduce the likelihood of children from different classes interacting with one another.

 

Will there be assemblies, a Harvest Festival and Christmas Services? 
Currently, large group gatherings are not allowed and specifically mentions assemblies. This means we are unable to have whole school events and gatherings until the guidance tells us it is safe to do so. We will continue to celebrate these important events but in a different way with the children in their class bubbles. We will also link up classes through video conferencing.

 
Can children share resources?
Equipment and resources are integral to education in schools. During the summer term, their use was minimised and many were moved out of classrooms. That position has changed because the prevalence of coronavirus has decreased. 

 

Where possible, children will have their own equipment such as basic stationary. Resources that are shared between classes such as sports, art and science equipment will be cleaned between two classes using them or left unused and out of reach for a period of 48 hours (72 hours for plastics). 

 

Are children allowed to wear face coverings?
The government guidance says that face coverings should not be worn in any circumstances by those who may not be able to handle them as it may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission. 

 

Schools have been asked to put processes in place for the safe removal of face masks for children arriving at school wearing a face covering. If this guidance changes, we will let you know.

 

Will school staff wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face masks?
On some occasions, yes, for example where staff come into close contact with a child such as attending to intimate care needs or where a child becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus. It is recommended that adults supervising children unwell with coronavirus symptoms wear a fluid resistant surgical mask, gloves and disposable apron. 


If there is a risk of splashing to the eyes from coughing/sneezing or vomiting, then eye protection should be worn. 

 

Staff may wear face coverings in communal areas.


Will there be any mixing of children from different classes?

The guidance says that teachers and other staff can operate across different classes and year groups in order to facilitate the delivery of the school timetable and to provide a full education offer. This is particularly important for our delivery of provision for special educational needs. 

 

The overarching principle is to reduce contacts and interactions, not eliminate them all. This would not be operationally feasible. However, where mixing can be avoided, it will be avoided. 

 

Specialist teachers, supply teachers, peripatetic teachers and staff supporting children with special educational needs can also work in schools and with different groups of children. Where children from different classes are grouped for specialist teaching for example, additional protective measures will be in place such as small consistent groups to keep children apart as much as possible.

 

How will pick up and drop of work?
We are having to stagger drop off and pick up times in September to reduce contacts and interactions at the beginning and the end of the day.

 

We are aware that a whole class of 30 children arriving or departing at the same time would make social distancing between adults and households somewhat difficult and may lead to a large gathering at the school gate. 

 

To help avoid this, we are asking that the younger year group arrives and leaves first followed by the older year group five minutes later.

 

This should provide an additional stagger to spread arrivals and departures for children in the same class.

 

The timings will be as follows :

 

Year Group

Drop off

Pick up

Reception

8.15am

2.30pm

Year 1

8.30am

2.45pm

Year 2

8.35am

2.50pm

Year 3

8.45am

3.00pm

Year 4

8.50am

3.05pm

Year 5

9.00am

3.15pm

Year 6

9.05am

3.20pm

 

Morning drop off  
On arrival, parents will need to enter the school site with their child through one of the school gates, drop their child off with the teacher and leave immediately to allow the next set of parents and children to arrive. 
Afternoon pick up


Similar arrangements will apply in the afternoon.  Parents should arrive at their designated time, collect their child from the teacher and leave immediately to allow the next set of parents to arrive.


We appreciate we are relying on parent/carers being punctual for the system to work. 

 

If you arrive early, we ask that you wait in your car or outside the school grounds. 
Please be mindful, especially if you have young children, as exit and entry is through either the main gate or car park gate which both open directly onto a road. The purpose for opening both gates is to increase flow and avoid congestion.

 

Will we offer after school care until 3.15 pm to all the families affected by an early pick up?


The purpose of staggering drop off and pick up times is to minimise the number of contacts and interactions at the beginning and the end of the day. There will be 46 children with a brother or sister in another class in September.


Allowing all 46 children to exit at 3.15 pm along with up to 30 children in Class 4 will defeat the object of staggered pick up times and will significantly increase the risk of children and families from different households mixing.

 

We will offer a creche facility for a limited number of children for families who can demonstrate genuine need. There will be a charge of £2.50 per family per day for a pick up at 3.15pm. Please contact the school Office for further details and to book a place.

 

We may ask for evidence from an employer that they are not able to accommodate parental requests for more flexible working arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

What happens if I am early or late for my time slot for pick up or drop off?
We need to avoid children and households from different bubbles mixing as far as is reasonably practicable. If you arrive early, we ask that you wait in your car or outside the school grounds in a socially responsible way.

 

If you arrive late, we would like you to wait outside the school grounds or in your car until all other classes have safely arrived or departed.

 

Where parents are particularly or persistently late we will need to place their child in a temporary creche facility for which there is a charge of £2.50 per family per day. 


Could the parent take the older sibling when they collect the younger sibling?
We have considered this but the older sibling would lose valuable teaching time and it will significantly increase movement around the school at the end of the day. The guidance is very clear that movement around the school should be kept to a minimum to reduce risk.
Moving children around at the end of the day would also require deploying additional staff to supervise this process.

 

With so many siblings across the school and the potential for mixing out of school hours beyond the school’s control, why not have just one whole school bubble and not have all this upheaval?
We have considered this and our current model of class bubbles will be reviewed if it becomes logistically too difficult to manage. Secondary schools are likely to operate larger bubbles because older children are more able to socially distance. This is more difficult with younger children which is why smaller bubbles are the preferred and recommended option for primary schools.However, the guidance does offer schools scope to choose the size of bubbles.


Have we thought about a rolling drop off/pick up time like some other schools?
Yes. A rolling drop off/pick up time is where a school offers parents a window of time to drop off/pick up their children. This could be between 8.30 am and 9.15 am for example.


This poses challenges around loss of teaching time and what we could do with the children during this time that is of value whilst keeping classes apart. We have also assessed the risk and believe our preferred model of staggered times for each class bubble is safer.
The rolling pick up/drop off model could have large numbers of children and families from different classes arriving, mixing and leaving at similar times which defeats the object of reducing interactions at the beginning and end of the day.


The school day seems shorter. Have teaching hours been cut?
No. We have shortened morning break by 5 minutes and lunch time by 15 minutes to ease the pressure and difficulties of operating 4 separate class bubbles. There is no loss of teaching time. We have shortened lunchtime to assist with the logistics and the increased demand of supervising children in separate bubbles during playtime and lunch.


Previously children would have their playtime supervised by teachers on a weekly rota basis and by a team of midday supervisors at lunchtime.


This is no longer possible because there will be 4 separate play times (break) and lunchtimes for each of the classes. Teachers and support staff will now have to supervise these times themselves every day. We have therefore tried to recognise the increased demands this will have on staff and the difficulties of long lunch play where children will be limited in what they can do and where they can play.

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