General health, safety and infection control
Should my household self-isolate?
If anyone in your household has symptoms of COVID you must self-isolate. If you have visited family and someone you have visited develops symptoms within 48 hours of your visit you must self-isolate.
Self isolation means you MUST NOT send children back to school. Children may return to school when one of the following criteria are met:
They have self-isolated for 14 days AND have no symptoms;
The person with symptoms has had a negative test result.
Tier 2 restrictions - What are childcare bubbles? Who can bring and collect children from school?
In tier 2 there are greater restrictions on mixing. Children should not be having playdates or visiting other houses. Parents can designate a childcare bubble which may be another family or grandparent for example. Only families in agreed childcare bubbles should bring and collect other children, this should only be one other household. We rely on the cooperation and families taking responsibility for this; school is not responsible for policing covid restrictions in the community.
How would a decision be made to close a class, phase or the school?
The decision would rest with the headteacher as the person responsible for the day to day operation of the school. Should a class or year group have to self-isolate due to a positive case in school we would move within one day to online/remote learning. In making any decision whether to close a class, phase or the school we would seek advice from Public Health England (or whichever body replaces them once they are abolished) and local health protection teams. At the moment these services are somewhat overwhelmed and headteachers are finding it difficult to get the professional advice we need. We are not public health experts and work in partnership with health care services, we would adopt a cautious approach. We will make the best judgement we can at the time with the information and guidance we have and prioritise children's welfare in all our decision making.
When should I request a test?
Only access testing for their child if the child is experiencing any of the three coronavirus symptoms:
a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
If your symptoms are not one of the above you should not seek a test. This will reduce pressure on the NHS for unnecessary tests and enable those with symptoms to get one quickly.
When should I keep my child off school?
Below you can read more about keeping children off school or see the CWAC Quick Guide
If a child has one of the main symptom of coronavirus they must not attend school:
a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature) - this is the main symptom in children;
a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual) - children with for example an asthma related cough do not need to be absent from school;
a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal - this is far less reported by children than adults. .
Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.
People with symptoms AND THEIR HOUSEHOLD must self isolate and arrange for a test for the symptomatic person/people only. There is no need to test other members of the household. Everyone in the household must self-isolate for 14 days or until a negative test is returned. If other people in the household subsequently develop symptoms, that is when they should be tested. People with symptoms should isolate for ten days and not return to school / work until they have been symptom free for 48 hours. The isolation period is longer for people in a household without symptoms because of the time it can take for symptoms of coronavirus to appear.
If the test is negative AND the symptoms have gone, children can return to school. If symptoms persist you may need to arrange a re-test.
Vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pains are increasingly recognised as other symptoms of COVID-19 (as well as norovirus, the winter vomiting bug). Although you should not seek a test for children with these symptoms, respecting the 48 hour rule (not returning to school until 48 hours AFTER the last bout of either being sick or loose stools) is more important than ever.
Why are children eating outside and what happens in poor weather?
Children are eating outside because it is better for their health and wellbeing. We know the virus spreads more readily indoors and therefore we have had to restrict movement inside the school. This means we must make the most of opportunities to be outside. In poor weather children eat indoors although if light drizzle starts while they are already out, we will make a judgement as whether to have the disruption of moving indoors for what might be just a few minutes or remaining out, just as families would do on a picnic.
An on site cleaner may come in and clean the classroom while the class is out, to protect your children and our staff from risk. Children will not be sent out in wet weather in order for the classroom to be cleaned although, as has been the case since we opened in 2004, we do play out in all but the worst of weather. Please make sure your child has warm enough shower proof coat for the season.
Can school require someone to have a test?
No one can be forced to undertake a medical procedure. We can insist they observe the full isolation period if there are symptoms (10 or 14 days) and do not come onto the premises. If a test is negative and symptoms have gone, pupils and staff may return to school before the isolation period.
We have a limited number of tests available in school but these are for extreme circumstances only and, in line with government guidance, are will be reserved firstly for vulnerable people in school who would not otherwise get a test and for staff unable to access a test through a drive-in, walk-in centre or by post in order to prioritise the sustainability of school remaining open.
How will you know if someone has tested positive?
We cannot insist on knowing medical results after someone has been tested. That said, it is helpful to the school if this could be shared and we appreciate it. The local health protection team will liaise with the school so we can work with them to undertake a rapid risk assessment to keep everyone safe.
Will you be testing children for COVID-19?
Absolutely not. Schools (other than boarding schools) cannot test for COVID or any other medical condition.
We have some home testing kits from the Department of Health and Social Care and Department of Education. These are for exceptional use only. They can be provided to a member of staff, parent or carer when a child or adult develops symptoms while they are here in school AND they are unable to access a test any other way.
A drive-in or walk-in testing centre (which gives the fastest results) are the first and best option.
People can arrange for a home testing kit to be sent to them.
Only if neither of the above options is possible, are we permitted to provide a kit from school.
Someone in our household has symptoms. Can children without symptoms still come to school?
The guidance states that we should "Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school."
If someone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19, members of the same household who do not have symptoms must self isolate for 14 days. People without symptoms do not need to be tested.
People with symptoms should self-isolate for at least 10 days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus (COVID-19).
My child is a bit under the weather but I don't think it's COVID and think they are well enough to be in school - what do I do?
If a child has one of the main symptom of coronavirus they must not attend school.
If your child has a cold (runny nose) they can be in school and you should make sure they bring and can use tissues to catch it, kill it, bin it. Please note though, we are not administering any over the counter medication for children who are unwell.
The 48 hour rule for vomiting and diarrhea must be respected by all - no exceptions.
What happens if a child becomes unwell in school?
This is even more important during the pandemic. We cannot keep children safe without the cooperation and partnership of their families. It would be really helpful if families got accustomed to taking their child's temperature in the morning; a raised temperature is a symptom of coronavirus.
Families must not send in children who are unwell. This includes the 48 hour rule for any sickness and diarrhoea and it is for this reason we are no longer offering to administer or give Calpol or any other medication in school other than for known medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, ADHD medicine or for allergies).
We expect fewer children presenting as unwell as have asked parents and carers to be vigilant and keep their children off school if they have any symptoms of coronavirus.
The NHS advice states: If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:
Stay at home (self-isolate) – do not leave your home or have visitors. Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also self-isolate.
Get a test – get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible. Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, should also get a test if they have symptoms.
If children present with, or complain of symptoms of coronavirus (persistent cough, sore throat, lack of taste or smell) we will isolate them in the medical room. Staff supervising the child will remain outside the medical room door which will be left open for ventilation and stay at least 2m from the child where possible. Staff will wear a mask to supervise the child and an apron and gloves if needing to be closer than 2m.
Children in their group will be moved outside or to a place inside if possible while the area they have worked in is cleaned.
Parents or carers will be expected to collect their child without delay. They will be expected to arrange for a test for their child. When the child leaves school the medical room will be cleaned before it is used again.
Will you be taking children's temperatures?
As one of the main symptoms of COVID is a raised temperature we strongly advise parents and carers to monitor their child's temperature daily before bringing them to school and if they have symptoms of covid-19 to keep them at home, arrange for a test. If the results of the test are negative AND the child no longer has symptoms, they can return to school.
As for taking temperatures in school, we have not been instructed to do so. If children appear hot and are flushed we will treat this as a symptom of COVID, isolate the child and contact parents or carers to collect. If guidance and expectations from health professionals or the government change, we will review our practice in the light of evidence.
What's the procedure if my child has a test?
If the test is positive the child must remain off school for seven days and then return when free of symptoms.
If the test is negative the child may return to school once they are free of symptoms.
The school will liaise with Public Health England when any case is confirmed, coronavirus is a notifiable disease and we would contact our health care partners and act in accordance with their guidance.
What is the school's policy on face coverings?
The DfE guidance states that the wearing of face coverings may interfere with children's learning and is not an expectation for staff or pupils.
That said, face coverings are an expectation when visiting the opticians, hair-dressers, in some shops and on public transport. Children will be seeing far more people with their faces covered in the community. In school, we could have an important role to play in normalising their use as they are in countries in the far East and countries like Italy where most people now routinely wear face coverings in public.
Professor Sir Venki Ramakrishnan commented on the wearing of masks on 7th July and The World Health Organisation gives advice on how to wear one safely. The WHO say 'Studies of influenza, influenza-like illness, and human coronaviruses (not including COVID-19) provide evidence that the use of a medical mask can prevent the spread of infectious droplets from a symptomatic infected person (source control) to someone else and potential contamination of the environment by these droplets.'
While our youngest children are too young for face coverings in school, older ones might want to use a face covering and in some circumstances this could be helpful to minimise risk to themselves and others. Everyone over 11 will need them when on public transport and in shops. In countries like Japan many people, young and old, wear face coverings when out and anyone out without one who has a cold would be very much frowned upon. It is likely that faces covered in crowded spaces will become a common sight and there's no reason to say children can't wear them.
Therefore, while we are not currently requiring the use of face coverings, we see their benefit and will keep the situation under review.
Our risk assessment is clear that staff must be instructed as to their safe use for removal (not touching the outer surface), hygiene and storage. Staff going between groups or working more closely with a child for a period of time (e.g. the headteacher, admin staff or SEN support/tutors) are encouraged to consider wearing a face covering or shield.
Some staff, particularly those working in closer proximity with children for prolonged periods (tutors) and those clinically or extremely clinically vulnerable may be wearing face coverings or shields more routinely. This will be part of individual's risk assessments.
We welcome adults bringing their children to school who choose to wear face coverings to reduce the risk to others and themselves.
Any children wearing face coverings would be expected to be able to remove and put them on safely before they are permitted in school. We anticipate this would only be the oldest children in upper key stage 2 in the first instance and for specific activity (being in the corridor, using the toilet or elsewhere in the building and outside the classroom. If your child wants to wear a face covering in the first instance, please contact Ms Stewart or Mrs Rutter-Brown.
What about children not distancing and playing together out of school?
This is not within the power of the school to prevent children and families mixing beyond the school gate. Schools cannot accept full responsibility for managing risk in a community. To make communities and our school safe enough families need to act responsibly.
How will you maintain site safety with parents bringing and collecting children?
There is a one-way system in operation in school. All adults visiting the site must cooperate with the measures we have put in place. Staggered start and finish times and different year groups using specific gates reduce numbers on site in one place at any one time and must be respected.
What does the science tell us about it being safe to bring more children into school?
Government, their scientific advisers and the wider scientific community have been clear that we are not out of the woods with this virus yet. It seems that the virus is far less serious in young children and they are very unlikely to become more seriously unwell.
Scientific advice is that risk cannot be eliminated and should be balanced. Risk to children from the disease is comparatively small: few become seriously unwell and many have no symptoms. This risk must be balanced with the risk to our children's mental health, well-being and intellectual development from missing education and the much greater risk to staff (especially older and clinically vulnerable employees) should they contract the virus.
We continue to have regard to scientific advice as it emerges and our risk assessment must be flexible and adaptable to change.
How will you guarantee my child's safety?
We can't guarantee 100% safety any more than we ever could. Ms Stewart's blog of 11th May 2020 tells you more about this.
We do assure you that keeping your children safe and well will be our priority, as it was before lockdown. Staff, children and families will need to work together to minimise any risk to a level that is acceptable and reasonable.
How will you manage social distancing?
We won't because we can't. The DfE, teaching unions and politicians seem agreed about one thing: enforcing the adult notions of social distancing of 2m would be unkind and impossible to enforce. It would cause children distress and they can't do it anyway. We will be keeping children in class groups of around 30 and they will remain with these groups at learning time, for lunch and playtimes. Within these groups we'll discourage overly touchy play but children can be together as they were before. Play and lunch will be staggered to support distancing between groups and children will line up and go into class rather than enjoy free play as previously.
Staff will be taking precautions to maintain a sensible and appropriate distance from children in class where possible. We appreciate this can't be all the time.
The principle in school will be similar to what you have been doing already at home. While we will be thinking about reducing physical contact and distance, especially between adults and children, we know we can't rule it out. Physical contact with adults will be reduced but we know it can't be eliminated completely. Staff have been briefed on how a reassuring hand to a shoulder from behind or the side, will be safer than face to face. Standing above children will also reduce the virus having opportunities to spread between people.
Adults will be expected to be as distant as possible so if conversing with another adult outside their group they should follow guidance of 2m apart wherever possible. Risks of crossing in a corridor are minimal but risk is increased dramatically when people are in face to face conversations over fifteen minutes.
We will teach games where children can be distanced and sadly, this means much loved playtime activities like football just won’t be appropriate at the moment. I’ll explain this as usefully and kindly as I can to the children :-(
We are avoiding the term 'bubble' which can give both a false sense of security and danger. We are using fixed class groups and making our best endeavours to minimise cross over. We need to balance risk to health with risk to quality of education. With the whole school back we can't eliminate all incidence of staff working in more than one class but have taken measures to reduce risk to a minimum.
What must every child be able to do to be ready for school this September?
Physical handling must be limited to the absolute minimum. We think the following are reasonable expectations for school age children from Reception - Year 6:
Be able to dress and undress themselves (although we will reduce any need for this) and fasten their own shoes
Eat independently and over a table, not getting food all over the floor
Sneezing into a tissue and dispose of the tissue safely - catch it, kill it, bin it
Use the toilet independently and leave it clean and with no urine or faeces on the floor, walls or other surfaces
Not put school equipment in their mouths (unless it is a specialist piece of sensory kit for their sole use)
Not hit, pinch, bite or lick other people
Not put fingers in their nose or mouth
Avoid (we know this is hard) touching their face and (much less hard) other people's faces
Some things carry far greater risk in a pandemic where the virus is spread on droplets from breath. This is why singing has been postponed. Shouting carries at least as great a risk as singing (probably more) and therefore it is no longer reasonable to make adjustments for children who have lost their temper and are shouting at other people. Adults will be mindful of de-escalation strategies to reduce risk and anxiety; children too have a big part to play in understanding that there is no safe alternative to them regulating their own behaviour and not shouting at their peers or staff.
How will you maintain a safe and clean environment once children are back in?
Children will have their own sets of basic equipment: rulers, pencils and scissors etc. which will reduce contamination and need for cleaning small items. We have employed an onsite cleaner who will work in school during the day, ensuring toilets and frequently touched areas are cleaned more often. Doors will be kept open to avoid touching handles and where they can't be kept open (e.g. fire doors and toilets) more regular cleaning will take place. An enhanced cleaning regime will include children: cleaning their own tables for lunch and at the end of the day too to be useful and kind to the cleaners and reduce risk to them; children may be asked to take responsibility for sanitising light switches where these are not automatic and other things that are age appropriate for them. By including children safely as partners, we can embed a new, cleaner culture where we share responsibility and care for one another.
By keeping children in fixed class groups, that don't mix, we will reduce risk of cross contamination. Shared equipment in subjects like Art, IT and Science will be cleaned before being returned to central storage. Classes will have their own play equipment for their class only. I am sure you will understand that while cleaning regimes will be much enhanced significantly, we can't guarantee every piece of lego can be cleaned between children touching them.
How will you prevent the virus coming from school to home with my child?
While we can't give any 100% guarantees, we are making plans to reduce risk to an acceptable level.
We will expect every child to wash their hands thoroughly before coming out to you.
We are being more flexible with uniform to reduce getting changed and enable more frequent changes of clothes.
We will reduce need for PE kit, other than pumps so children are bringing less to and from school.
We are also thinking how we can reduce your child bringing the virus in to us in school!
Children will wash or sanitise their hands on entering the building.
No pencil cases or other belongings from home can come to school.
Fewer books e.g. a reading diary, Learning Journey (for most subjects) , Maths book and jotter. Teachers will be mindful of minimising touch (children opening their own reading diaries and considering when oral feedback on work and marking in class might be as effective as marking books after school.
Hair being tied back will be even more important; it is now not about looking smart but about protecting others from harm.
Relaxing uniform policy to allow for clothes to be changed and washed daily for all children.
No lost property - anything discarded will be picked up safely and disposed of.
teaching and learning
What will children in school be learning?
The Department of Education [DfE] expects that schools should maintain a broad and balanced curriculum with some flexibility in the first two terms for schools to focus on the key learning in Mathematics and English that children have missed. By Easter 2020 the plan is (subject to events of course) being back to normal. Teachers are planning for a broad and balanced curriculum although provision will have limitations in some subjects (e.g. collaborative art work, singing, group Science experiments).
The principle for returning to school must be to regard children as people first, learners second. To make this real in practice teaching staff must be thinking in terms of relationships first, curriculum second. With relationships rebuilt and children feeling safe and secure and able to be alongside each other in new ways, they will have good, solid foundations on which to build their learning across the curriculum.
Children will have many different needs: some will have few worries and just want to crack on (in Denmark teachers were surprised at how children didn't actually need all the PHSE and trauma based learning they had planned); others will have had a lovely time at home and won't want to be back in school; others may be bereaved or anxious about their own or their family's health. And everything in between. In the first days and weeks teachers need to be highly responsive to the fifteen individuals in their group while building a sense to togetherness, working together, sharing (ideas if not pencils) and expectations of conformity within that group.
We also recognise that learning itself is therapeutic, fulfilling a deep human need in us all. Therefore the curriculum should and must continue with opportunities for children not only to begin to catch up some gaps in the core subjects of English and Mathematics, but to continue to learn about our world and in particular, this term, with a focus on the natural world and caring for the environment.
The School's Development Plan is split into two documents: a risk assessment and recovery plan details COVID specific matters and the School Development and Recovery Plan details more general school improvement and development, albeit in the context of a global pandemic.
There are plans in place for a rapid move to online learning should a whole class, phase or the school need to close as a result of COVID-19. The aim is that within 24 hours online learning will be in place.
A parent questionnaire indicates almost all (of those who responded) can access the internet and we are planning for how we can support those few who don't have devices that can get online at home. Please let the school know if you do not have a device that can access the internet at home that your child can use.
We will be continuing the five weekly routines each day in school as assemblies and other whole school things will need to be virtual. Having whole school routines will also keep a sense of a whole school of children in ten classes aged 4-11 alive when children are not mixing or seeing so much of one another.
My child is having to isolate - what remote or online learning will be provided?
Are there things that have additional risk?
Yes. Our risk assessment and recovery plan identifies some areas of the curriculum that carry greater risk. The DfE guidance states the importance of returning to a broad and balanced curriculum but some activities won't be possible until it is safe to do so, this is why we won't be singing indoors until we know it will be safe enough. We have risk assessed how music lessons can proceed including a plan for recorder lessons in groups of 15 with distancing and no sharing or instruments. The risk is lower for some instruments and this will be taken into account when planning provision.
Any activity with equipment that is shared increases risk and our Risk Assessment includes details on our curriculum areas of Art and Culture, Communication, Language and Literacy, Health and Wellbeing and STEM.
other questions you may have
Is before and after school care available for all families?
Yes. Superkids ceased providing care mid-March and from then we have provided the service. From September this will be open to all families. It will mean that children from different groups will be mixing and this is being managed as safely as possible. It was necessary to balance the risk from children mixing with the risk from parents and carers being unable to work. You can find out more at https://www.kingsmead.cheshire.sch.uk/information/before-after-school.
Will there be clubs before or after school in the Autumn term?
There may be some limited enrichment offer from private providers before and after school. With Breakfast Club however this can only take place outdoors as the hall will be in use daily. We are not asking staff to run clubs in school although there are plans for an online Art Club once we are up and running.
Some sport clubs are running with Extratime and Netball with Mrs Ramsden. On the day of the club children participating should wear PE kits as we won't be getting changed. Clubs will be outdoors and there will be no indoor alternative; in the event of the club being cancelled or poor weather parents and carers will be informed by text and/or email. Providers will follow government guidance for out of school provision and have their own curriculum risk assessments in place.
It is our full intention to resume a full before and after school enrichment offer as soon as it is practical to do so.
What if I need to speak to the teacher?
Any meeting face to face must be for unusual and unavoidable reasons only and strictly by appointment where the 2m rule will apply. Teachers will communicate through Google classroom to the class and individuals. Parents and carers can use their child’s log on to see this and any communication from teachers home. At primary age, it is reasonable that children share their online activity with their folks. Parents and teachers will be making increased use of telephone conversations and video conferencing which are safer than face to face meetings.
Uniform and dress codes are to be 'relaxed'. What does this mean?
The one and only reason for relaxing on uniform is for health and safety and not for reasons of fashion! We have relaxed some aspects of the dress code while strengthening others in order to reduce risk to adults and children. From September children are expected to wear uniform every day - https://www.kingsmead.cheshire.sch.uk/information/uniform-appearance and dress appropriately for the weather including well ventilated (and hence colder) classrooms.
What should my child bring to school?
Water bottle* - washed and with clean water from home daily.
Tissues* - before returning to school please teach your child how to blow their nose into a tissue and dispose of the tissue safely. Children should carry their tissues in their pocket or up a sleeve.
A small, thin book bag for reading books and homework.
Weather appropriate outdoor wear: e.g. sun hat, showerproof jacket, warm coat, gloves, hat.
Some children with attachment difficulties or who have experienced trauma may want a little something to remind them of home. Anything coming into contact with surfaces at home or in school increases risk so a spray of your perfume or aftershave would be perfect as they can wear this safely. If their needs are significantly greater than their peers', children may bring in ONE SMALL item for comfort if this is essential for them to settle happily e.g. a small toy (must fit in pocket and not be shared or left lying about).
Some children may bring a packed lunch if not having one provided by Edsential.
Some older children (upper key stage 2) may want to use a face covering for part of their time in school (going to the toilet for example). This is at their parents' and carers' discretion and the child must show their teacher they can put it on, remove it safely and store it safely. Any face coverings must be taken home and changed daily.
THE FOLLOWING CAN BE BROUGHT IN AND KEPT IN THE CHILD'S TRAY IN SCHOOL
Hand cream or moisturiser (children will be washing their hands frequently).
A small bottle of their own hand sanitiser.
A small bar of soap in a plastic bag. We will provide soap but this is belt and braces for if we run out in a classroom during the day). Children with eczema may be better with a jar of aqueous cream that they can use instead of soap to wash.
Rucksacks or large bags - we just don't have the storage space for these to be stored without increasing risk to others.
Cuddly toys, books or games from home.
Pencil cases - we will ask year 6 to return with the pencil case and contents they took home washed thoroughly before coming into school;
Books or games from home.
Mobile phones - the risk from fomites is too high for these to be permitted in school. You can read more about phones at https://www.kingsmead.cheshire.sch.uk/information/e-safety.
What about lunches and food in school?
Edsential will be providing a hot lunch bag for all children who want one.
No snacks will be provided in school. This is to reduce mixing and also supports the National Obesity Strategy. Children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 (Reception - Year 2) will continue to receive free fruit from the government. For children in Key Stage 2 we have a healthy eating policy and so please stick to fruit (best of all), breadsticks or cereal bar (no nuts, sweets, crisps or chocolate). We allow crisps on a Friday only.
Children bringing a packed lunch from home should preferably be in paper (or plastic) bags which can be disposed of in school rather than lunchboxes. This reduces risk of the lunchbox coming home to you.
What if I don’t want to send my child back in September?
From September it is a legal requirement that children are in school or elective home education (this where a child does not have a place in a school). Please see https://www.kingsmead.cheshire.sch.uk/information/attendance-times-of-day for more information.