Welcome Back and School Return Update!
This week we look forward to a full return to school with Years 7 & 8 commencing Wednesday 2nd September and all students in school from Thursday 3rd September onward.
Before the summer holidays I wrote to you to explain how this would work. Those plans remain relatively unchanged. Just as a reminder, to summarise:
- Students will arrive from 8.40am and head straight to their set area on the yard. They must enter school via the pedestrian gate where a member of staff will meet and greet and guide them to the correct area.
- Parents /carers /visitors MUST NOT come onto the school site during this time as we need to restrict the amount of people on site to keep our staff and our students safe. The telephone number will be on the gate so please ring with any queries and your child’s form tutor will get back to you.
- Everybody will follow a strict, clearly marked, one-way system around school. They will be shown this and walked through it on the first day back with their form tutor.
- Break times will be staggered. This will be to avoid mixing of year groups.
- At lunchtime, pupils on hot meals will go in their year group to the dining room, pupils with pack lunches will go to their year group allocated area. If a pupil/student is not in the Dining Room, they should be in the indoor or outdoor space allocated to their year group.
- Students are encouraged to bring their own filled bottles of water to school. For the time being, the water fountains will not be in use.
- For the first two weeks pupils will stay in their form room with their form tutor and teaching assistant.
- Students should be encouraged to bring their own hand sanitisers to school and to use them regularly. We do also have many sanitising units installed. They will be encouraged to wash their hands regularly.
- If there are any health conditions that your child has which make them more vulnerable and we are not aware of them, please let us have this information as soon as possible.
- Please do not send your child to school if she / he has symptoms of Coronavirus. Please organise for them to be tested and if negative, they can return to school.
- Some students on escorted transport will have a slightly earlier finish to the end of the day to help the transport service to complete their 'double' journey.
- Extra-curricular activities will begin to take place once the term begins but we will update you with these once the programme has been compiled. For obvious reasons, the programme will not be as extensive in the short term.
It is important for parents to realise that once a pupil leaves our grounds, we are no longer legally responsible for them. We cannot take responsibility for pupil safety when they are at bus stops or on the escorted buses. I have been asked how I will ensure that pupils are socially distanced at the bus stop and on the bus. The answer to that is I cannot. The bus service is completely independent of Clare Mount and therefore we have no jurisdiction as to what happens on the bus. Any questions about the bus service need to be asked of the bus companies or Wirral Transport. We will, however, remind pupils in school of the behaviour expected of them when in their school uniforms and about respecting the space of others, particularly at this time.
I am sure you will have seen the recent press coverage on face coverings. Government advice now stipulates that pupils should wear face coverings in crowded areas, such as corridors and communal areas but only in areas where additional local lock-down measures are in place.
The World Health Organisation advises children over 12 should wear a mask in crowded areas or in areas of widespread transmission. It does, however, say that the use of masks in schools should be only one part of a comprehensive strategy to limit the spread of Covid and that situations where wearing a mask can significantly interfere with the learning process and have a negative impact on critical school activities masks should be avoided. There are also campaign groups questioning the need for face coverings as there is no scientific evidence to back them up in schools. They also say that schools should be as normal as possible. My view is that if parents wish their child to wear a face covering when they return to school that is fine although I would prefer if this was in corridors and communal areas.
The evidence is clearly evolving on this issue and the Government, on the advice of Sage or Public Health England, may decide to make face coverings mandatory. If so then we may have to follow their advice. However, it is important that you explain face mask hygiene to your child and that face masks do not mean that social distancing, regular hand washing and good respiratory hygiene is not also required.
Nick Gibb, the schools minister has said that parents should be reassured that the measures the schools are taking to make sure that we minimise the risk of transmission of the virus are very effective. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has said that it is absolutely vital that children return to the classroom, not only for their education but also for their physical and mental health.
As you can imagine, the task of bringing pupils back to school opens up many logistical problems which we do not usually have to face. We ask that parents help us with this by talking to your child about the importance of their co-operation. I am very keen that the quality of education offered is as high as it can possibly be, even with the inevitable distractions we will have to face.