Covid-19 FAQs Phased Re-Opening of Primary Schools
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which year groups are returning to school?
The government has asked primary schools to welcome back children in Foundation, Year 1 and Year 6 alongside our Key Worker group.
2. When will I know if the planned re-opening will go ahead?
The government has said it will make an announcement on 28th May.
3. Why are the selected year groups returning on the 2nd June?
1st June is a designated INSET Day and we are using this opportunity to ensure that all staff are fully briefed and prepared for the children’s return to school.
4. If one of my children is eligible to return, can’t their sibling come back too?
Sadly, the answer to this is ‘no’. Siblings cannot attend unless they are in another of the selected year groups.
5. Does my child have to attend?
No one with Covid-19 symptoms should attend school. All children in the selected year groups are encouraged to attend unless self-isolating or shielding. However, attendance is a matter of parental choice and there won’t be any consequences if you choose to keep your child at home during this period.
6. I am worried that my child is vulnerable or that a family member is. Should I send them back to school?
Children and young people who are considered extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding should continue to shield are not expected to attend.
Clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable) people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from Coronavirus. A minority of children will fall into this category, and parents should follow medical advice if their child is in this category.
Children and young people who live in a household with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding should only attend if stringent social distancing can be adhered to and the child or young person is able to understand and follow these instructions. This is unlikely to be possible in a primary school environment.
Children and young people who live with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable) as defined in the social distancing guidance and including those who are pregnant, can attend.
7. How big will the classes be?
The DfE and Local Authority are recommending class group sizes should not exceed 15 pupils per small group and one Teacher plus an LSA where required. Where there are not enough Teachers, a Learning Support Assistants may lead a group.
8. Why is school not offering morning and afternoon sessions?
You will be told which two or three days each week your child can attend school. If we had different bubble groups of children coming into school on the same day, then we would not be able to do the necessary cleaning required during lunchtimes.
9. How will you guarantee that social distancing takes place e.g. Keeping children 2m apart?
We will, of course, do our best to support social distancing, but parents must understand that in returning to school there is a very real likelihood that children will touch adults and one another, and come into close contact. The nature of the school site and the age of our children is such that this is unavoidable and we cannot be expected to make any guarantees. We cannot alleviate every risk, and parents must understand what we are able to do and use this to inform their decision making.
10. How do I explain social distancing to my child?
Hopefully you have been social distancing over the period of lockdown and your child will have some understanding of what it means. When talking about this with your child, be open and honest, using language that your child will understand. Explain that they are helping others by their actions. Use drawings if needed and use a positive tone.
11. What hygiene measures will be in place to keep my child safe?
We will ensure that adults and children:
- clean their hands on arrival at school, before and after eating, and after sneezing or coughing
- frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry thoroughly
- are encouraged not to touch their mouth, eyes and nose
- use a tissue or elbow to cough or sneeze and use bins for tissue waste (‘catch it, bin it, kill it’)
We will also:
- ensure that help is available for children who have trouble cleaning their hands independently
- where possible, ensure that all spaces are well-ventilated, using natural ventilation (opening windows)
- prop doors open, where safe to do so (bearing in mind fire safety and safeguarding), to limit use of door handles and aid ventilation
12. How are the classes being split in half?
We cannot manage grouping children into friendship groups. This is a temporary arrangement only. Your child will be allocated a bubble group and they will be with these children each day that they attend school. We will not be able to move children to different bubble groups.
13. Will children be in the same classroom environment for the majority of the day?
Yes, they will, but this may not be their usual classroom.
14. Will my child be taught by their usual class teacher?
No, due to reduced class sizes and reduced staff. However, we have tried to ensure that your child will have at least one familiar adult in their bubble.
15. How will breaktimes and lunchtime work to ensure children are safe?
Breaktimes will be staggered for each year group. Children will not mix with other groups of children and they will have their own zone that they will use every day. Children will eat their packed lunch in the classroom. We are hoping that Caterlink will be able to provide packed lunches to those families who are entitled to a free school meal. We are also hoping that other families will be able to order and buy a packed lunch provided by Caterlink, if they wish to do so.
16. How will you make school safe for my child?
In addition to social distancing and hygiene measures mentioned above, we will:
- give children a designated classroom and group (which we are going to refer to as their bubble) for lessons and play, to minimise the opportunity for mixing
- regularly clean the setting and all resources
- not allow children to bring in their own resources (such as pencil cases and book bags)
- give each child their own pencil case, which will be clearly labelled with their name and remain in school
- organise lunchtimes and playtimes differently
- be vigilant in identifying children with symptoms, isolate them and ask parents to collect them
17. Will my child be expected to share resources, such as pens and pencils?
Where possible, children will be given their own equipment, which they must not share with anyone else. They must not bring any equipment in from home. Any resources that are shared (e.g. school iPads) will be thoroughly cleaned after use.
18. My child is in the Key Worker provision currently but isn't in the year groups above. Can they continue to attend school?
Key Worker group children will continue to come to school as they have been. They will be in a separate class ‘bubble’ with other key worker children.
19. Will everyone arrive at school at the same time causing an increase in risk?
The school will organise a staggered drop-off and collection time for pupils. It is important that you only arrive at your allocated time. Only one parent or carer should accompany the child to school to minimise risk. Parents will not be invited to enter classrooms.
20. Will the school have assemblies?
21. My child is feeling anxious about coming back to school. How can I prepare him/her?
You will need to prepare your child by talking about what school was like and how it will be different. We will help you to prepare for this by putting pictures on our website to show what you and your child can expect. Sharing social stories can be really helpful for young children and help to express the situation in a clear factual way, reducing emotional responses.
22. Will children go straight back into normal lessons following the National Curriculum?
No. The initial focus, for as long as we feel necessary, will be on personal, social, health and emotional aspects of learning to support children’s well-being. They have all gone through an incredible period of change and may have experienced loss on a number of different levels. We will continue to support children to develop and practise their skills in English and Maths, both at home and at school.
23. Will staff and children wear masks or PPE?
In line with government guidance, staff and children are not required to wear face masks when attending school. If you choose for your child to wear a mask to school, then your child will be responsible for their own mask. Staff at school cannot guarantee that your child will wear their mask at all times, and they will not be able to help children to adjust their masks. If your child gets hurt or is unwell, the adult helping them will put on gloves and a face visor/mask to assist them.
24. Will my child need to wear school uniform?
Yes, but they are allowed to wear trainers rather than school shoes. Your child will not need to bring their PE kit into school.
25. Will Energy Kids or After School Clubs run?
Unfortunately, they won’t.
26. Will the school office be open?
The Admin Team will be on a rota so there will be fewer staff in the School Office. If you have an enquiry or something that you need to share with the school, you should email or call the school wherever possible, using: firstname.lastname@example.org You should only come into school if it is truly essential.
27. Will you continue to provide online home learning activities for children who do not return to school?
Yes, this will continue.
28. What will the teachers be doing on the days that they are not in school?
The teachers will be continuing to plan lessons and resources for home learning and the lessons that will take place for those children who are attending school.
29. What will happen if a child in the class shows symptoms?
We will follow the Government guidelines set out below.
If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in an education or childcare setting, they must be sent home and advised to follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection guidance.
If a child is awaiting collection, they should be moved, if possible, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age of the child and with appropriate adult supervision if required. Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, we will move them to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.
If a child needs to go to the bathroom whilst waiting to be collected, they will use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom will be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else. PPE will be worn by staff caring for the child whilst they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs). In an emergency, we will call 999.
If a member of staff has helped someone who is unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves (and in which case, a test is available) or the child subsequently tests positive (see ‘What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in a setting?’ below). They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell. Cleaning the affected area with normal household disinfectant after someone with symptoms has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people. See the COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance.
30. What happens if there is a confirmed case of Coronavirus in school?
We will follow the Government guidance set out below.
When a child, young person or staff member develops symptoms compatible with Coronavirus, they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days.
All staff and pupils who are attending an education or childcare setting will have access to a test if they display symptoms of Coronavirus, and are encouraged to get tested in this scenario.
Where the child or staff member tests negative, they can return to their setting and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation.
As part of the national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected within the cohort or in the wider setting, Public Health England’s local health protection teams will conduct a rapid investigation and will advise schools and other settings on the most appropriate action to take. In some cases, a larger number of other children may be asked to self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole class, site or year group.
Where settings are observing guidance on infection prevention and control, which will reduce risk of transmission, closure of the whole setting will not generally be necessary.
31. Will the school take my child’s temperature every day?
32. How can I speak to the class teacher if we are socially distancing?
You can contact your child’s class teacher through the enquiries email address.
33. What should my child bring to school each day?
We do not want your child to bring anything into school with them other than a lunch box, water bottle and a sunhat. Children must have sun screen applied BEFORE coming into school. Staff will NOT be re-applying any cream. Please do not bring PE kits, rucksacks, book bags or pencil cases.
34. Where can I find more information about returning to school?
The Government information is provided here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/reopening-schools-and-other-educational-settings-from-1-june
If you have a question that we have not covered, please email email@example.com
Please also see the school’s ‘Key Messages to Parents’ document.