Returning in September

Details covering returning to school in September
Risk Assessment information is shown on our Covid page

10th July 2020   

Dear Parent/Guardian,

I hope you are all safe and well and thank you for being patient while we have been finalising the plan for a full opening in September for all year groups, full time. Last Thursday 2nd July we received the much-anticipated guidance for schools to open in September. The guidance states that the balance of risk is now overwhelmingly in favour of returning children to school. The benefits of pupils returning far outweigh the very low risk from Coronavirus. The school leadership team have since that date been working hard to put together our plan for full school opening from September. Our intention is to create as safe an environment as we can for our students and staff, to offer a broad and balanced curriculum and to ensure students can return to normality. This means making sure that students can follow their normal timetables and they will have their normal teachers.

This letter and links within it will hopefully provide you and your son/daughter with all the information you need. I ask you to support us by sharing this information with students when you feel this is appropriate. I would like to reassure you that, as a group of staff, we are really looking forward to welcoming your son/daughter back and getting back to teaching. We do not want to create huge change that may add to students’ anxiety. We feel pupils want to return to lessons and want to return to normality, and we hope we have achieved that as far as is possible. There is a lot to cover, and I have outlined everything you need to know under separate headings and potential questions that you may need answering:

When do students start in September 2020?
New Year 7 pupils’ first day will be on Thursday 3rd September 2020. This will be a Year 7 only day.  In the attached letter from Miss Provenzano it provides details on what time your son/daughter should arrive for their first day.  Years 8 – 11 first day will be on Friday 4th September 2020, with the new arrangements in place as below.

What will be the Structure of the College Day?

The table below sets out the timetable for the day. Later I explain more about arrival and departure times for different year groups. The intention is to try to stagger this according to year groups, to ensure that students do not mix beyond their year groups.

TIME

ACTIVITY

Where possible, students are requested to arrive on school site at:

Year 7: 8:25am

Year 8: 8:30am

Year 9: 8:35am

Year 10: 8:40am

Year 11: 8:45 am

If students arrive before 8:20am, they should go to the Main Hall. If students arrive after 8:20am they go straight to their tutor room.

8:40-9:00am

TUTOR TIME

 

9:00 – 10:00am

LESSON 1

 

10:00 – 11:20am

 

LESSON 2

During this time, students will have break at:

Year 7: 10:05-10:20

Year 8: 10:20-10:35

Year 9: 10:35-10:50

Year 10: 10:50 -11:05

Year 11: 11:05-11:20

 

11:20 – 12:20pm

LESSON 3

 

12.20 – 2:00pm

 

LESSON 4

During this time, students will have lunch at:

Year 7: 12:20 –12:40pm

Year 8: 12:40 –1:00pm

Year 9: 1:00 – 1:20pm

Year 10: 1:20 – 1:40pm

Year 11: 1:40 – 2:00pm

2.00 – 3.00pm

 

LESSON 5

Students will be dismissed at:

Year 7: 2:50pm

Year 8 & 9: 2:55pm

Year 10 & 11: 3:00pm     Unless staying for a school-organised activity after school, students  should leave the school site immediately.

 

When can my son/daughter arrive at school and when will they depart?

Year Group

Arrival Time

Departure Time

Year 7

8:25am

2:50pm

Year 8

8:30am

2:55pm

Year 9

8:35am

2:55pm

Year 10

8:40am

3:00pm

Year 11

8:45am

3:00pm

Arrivals & Departures– We would like to ask for your help as far as possible to stagger students’ arrival and departure times. Please could you ensure students arrive at their allotted time according to their year group above and not before. We understand that this may not always be possible.  If they have to arrive earlier, that is fine.  The school will be open.  We ask that if it is before 8:20am students please go straight to the main hall where they will be supervised on chairs sat 2 metres apart. If it is after 8:20am students must go straight to their tutor rooms.  Students using school organised transport will arrive in year groups departing the bus at the allotted time stated above.

Departures from school are also staggered to avoid year groups mixing, to allow a controlled and safe exit of the school and for those students getting school transport time to get on the bus and into their allotted year zone on the bus without mixing with other year groups. The process of getting on and off buses in year groups will be supervised by school staff.

Break & Lunchtimes
You will note from the above outline structure of the college day that we are trying to ensure that students remain within year group bubbles.  We will do this by implementing separate year group breaks and lunchtimes and pupils arriving where possible at slightly different times. This is alongside the principle of ensuring every pupil has a broad and balanced curriculum and can attend their lessons with their normal teachers.

As you can see, breaktime will take place during period 2 and lunchtime during period 4. The college canteen, main hall and the lower playground will be the only spaces open during break and lunch. Hot food will be served from the college canteen, cold food will be served from the main hall although if possible we would advise students to bring packed lunch. Due to the constraints within guidance that tell us year groups have to have a separate break and lunch times we have had to limit the length of time for lunch and break. This is again to find a balance that mitigates the risks to health, keeps the year groups separate, while maintaining lessons as normal. Break and lunchtimes for all pupils will be supervised as would always be the case.

Prevention and Health
If your son/daughter or anyone in their household has symptoms of Coronavirus or has tested positive for Coronavirus during term time they must stay at home. In line with Government guidance, they can return only once they have self-isolated for 7 days and taken a test and have no symptoms themselves. The outcome of the test must be negative. This is really important to ensure we prevent any spread of the infection within the college. 

What happens if my son/daughter becomes unwell with symptoms of Coronavirus while at school?
If a student or member of staff becomes unwell at school, they will be sent home immediately.  While a student waits to be collected, they will be in a safe and isolated area. We would then expect the student or staff member to be tested and self-isolate. If the result is negative they can return to school once they feel better. If the test is positive we will contact the local health protection team and we will also send home those students and staff that have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive. Again, following Government guidance we will then advise them to self-isolate for 14 days and to be tested. We will be able to track and monitor who would be affected using our lesson monitor. We are registered with NHS Test and Trace so therefore if someone does test positive that we are not aware of we should be informed.

What routines are in place for hand & respiratory hygiene?
The Government guidance has asked schools to ensure that pupils clean their hands multiple times during the day including when they arrive, when they return from breaks, when they change rooms, before and after eating. There will be hand sanitiser is every classroom. Students will be expected to clean their hands with hand sanitiser at the start and end of every lesson, at the beginning of tutor time, when they arrive and before and after their break and lunchtime. At the start of every lesson students will be given wipes to clean down their desk and chair and to cleanse their hands.

On every desk in every classroom there will be a card setting out our expectations as a reminder of good respiratory and hand hygiene; following the message of catch it, kill it bin it. This can be seen on the following link:

https://www.stgcc.co.uk/page/?title=Covid19+%2FSt+George&pid=253

All classrooms will be rearranged to ensure tables are facing the board and pupils are sat side by side. In rooms where this cannot be done, students will be facing away from each other alternatively they will be sat 2 metres apart with a screen in between. Each room will have a bin, wipes and tissues.

What are the Enhanced Cleaning Arrangements?
The school is deep cleaned before school and when students leave by a team of cleaners. In addition, two cleaners have been appointed to work full time Monday to Friday throughout the day. Toilets and frequently touched surfaces such as door handles and stair banisters will be cleaned throughout the day. Canteen tables will be wiped down between each of the year groups’ break and lunch.

Uniform: Does my son/daughter need to wear school uniform?
Yes. All students should return in
September in full winter uniform and our usual uniform policy will apply. The DfE guidance states that uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, nor do they need to be cleaned using methods which are different from normal.

We are anxious about returning to school, can you help?
We understand pupils and parents may be experiencing a variety of emotions in response to the coronavirus outbreak, such as anxiety, stress, lack of motivation or a low mood. These are normal responses to what has been an extremely abnormal situation. Returning to school will allow social interaction with peers and teachers which will benefit everyone’s wellbeing. From the first day we hope that we can reassure you of the steps we have put in place to keep everyone safe and provide some normality. The staff will be anxious as well but we will support each other through this. We are all keen to give students routine and reassurance in being back at school. It is not our intention to add pressure or to constantly be referring to ‘closing the education gap’ that we read daily in the press, but to reassure students we have enough time to support them in their personal and academic development. There will have been activities that pupils will have done while we have been closed that will have benefited them and those that would not have been possible. Therefore, our expectations is that students will be reassured to feel that we can all only do our best and be the best versions of ourselves moving forward.  We will be here to support you. If you feel you need support please click on the following link or go onto our COVID-19 page to access updated links and contacts.

We have created an email address that is available only for pupils if they are feeling concerned for their safety, wellbeing or anxiety which is affecting their ability to function as they normally would. This is staysafe@stgcc.co.uk.   Emails will be looked at daily. For parents, the email address will be emailed to all students via their school email accounts.

Attendance
Following the DfE guidance, attendance at school is mandatory from September. Therefore, the normal rules will now apply. The exception to this will be if your son/daughter is self-isolating due to a member of your household showing signs and symptoms of coronavirus. We understand students and parents are going to be anxious about returning to school and we want to work with you to support all students getting back into school. Therefore, we understand parents and pupils may be cautious initially and will want to work with you on this. Please click on the link below if you want to review the specific guidance for parents and carers on re-opening:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-in-the-autumn-term

Behaviour Policy
The school has put together an Addendum to our Behaviour Policy focusing on minimising the risks of transmission and putting in measures to create a safer environment. This will be shared with all students when they return in September. It includes sanctions should our social distancing rules not be followed by students. The addendum to our Behaviour Policy can be seen by clicking on the link below:

https://www.stgcc.co.uk/page/?title=Covid19+%2FSt+George&pid=253

As an outline, we will expect students to:

  • Report immediately to their Tutor room when they arrive at school.
  • Remain in the dedicated area at break and lunchtime
  • Follow hand sanitising routines
  • Ensure good respiratory hygiene: catch it, bin it, kill it
  • Wipe your desk and chair at the start of the lesson
  • Do not share stationery with others
  • At the end of the day, leave the school site immediately

Please read the addendum which includes behaviour on school buses/public transport and the sanctions should the above rules be broken.

Transport
We would ask where possible and in line with Government guidance, that students travel to school by bike, walking, car or school bus. We would advise against travelling by public transport if you can due to the challenges this presents maintaining social distancing. We understand this is difficult for students and if that is your only means of getting to school then of course come to school but maintain two metres and wear a face covering.

From September, all students getting a school bus or minibus must wear a face covering and should sit in their year group bubble. Year group zones are being allocated on all school buses and this will be communicated to pupils when they return. All students should wash their hands with hand sanitiser when they enter and exit the school bus. Mr Liston and other staff will be on duty to meet all school buses arrive and depart. The new rules will be explained to all students regarding face coverings and cleaning hands as outlined in the addendum to our Behaviour Policy. Please note a face covering is different from a face mask - these can be as simple as a scarf – please note however that this  must cover your mouth and nose and tie behind the head to give a snug fit. We realise purchasing face masks can be expensive, and recommend a face covering in this instance. The Behaviour Policy addendum details more on this.  Please do get in touch with Mr Guyer on sguyer@stgcc.co.uk if you would like more details or have questions regarding transport that you feel we can help with.  

Has the School Risk Assessment been updated?
Yes, our risk assessment has now been updated in light of a full re-opening in September and all staff have received training. This has now been published on our website if you would like to view it click on the following link or please view our COVID-19 page under news and events:

https://www.stgcc.co.uk/page/?title=Covid19+%2FSt+George&pid=253

Will my son/daughter still do Physical Education? Are extra-curricular clubs going to be on?
Yes, physical education lessons will take place and students should bring their PE kit. The PE department are planning on prioritising outdoor sports and will be paying close attention to cleaning and hygiene routines. Please note that the PE department will not be lending out spare PE kit. Students need to bring their own PE kit. Boys will get changed for Core PE in the main sports hall which is big enough to allow large numbers of pupils to change safely. GCSE, BTEC and girls Core PE will be able to change in the changing rooms as normal. Extra-curricular activities will be on but will be limited to one-year group bubble per evening.

Cashless Catering – Canteen
The cashless catering machines that use student finger prints will be closed for hygiene reasons. Please can money be put onto their accounts online at home, alternatively students are welcome to come to the Admin office next to room 3 and we will put the cash onto their accounts. Students will be able to use their finger print at the till point because they would have had to wash their hands with hand sanitiser before entering the canteen to purchase food.  

We will review this plan at half term and in conjunction with any updated government guidance.

Finally, may we wish you all a great summer break and hope you all get a chance to relax and enjoy some time as a family. We look forward to seeing you all in September. If you have any questions please do get in touch before we finish for the summer break on Friday 17th July 2020. Next week tutor calls should be taking place for current years 7-10. Take care and stay safe.

Yours faithfully,

Mr J Habberley
Headteacher

For more information about Covid19 and and your child's education and wellbeing, please see our  Covid19 page.