Thank you for your patience and help so far, as we try to plan for a return to school. As I can appreciate, you have many questions about what school is going to look like when we return and how we can keep your children safe.
 
We have tried to compile a list of frequently asked questions and attempted to answer them as best as we can. If you have any further questions that has not been covered, please don’t hesitate to contact mainoffice@blackwoodprimary.org.
Parent guide to Re-openning 29th June 2020
Does my child have to attend?
 
No. The Welsh Government has made it clear that there will be no penalty for parents who do not send their child to school this term. It is down to parental choice and no one with symptoms should attend for any reason. All children in the selected groups are encouraged to attend unless self-isolating or shielding. Parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time, the schools will not be held to account for attendance levels.
Will my child attend everyday?
 
No. Due to the decreased class sizes, children will attend in small groups of up to 10. Each pupil will attend once a week, unless they are the child of a key worker requiring childcare in a Hub class. These pupils will attend as and when childcare is required.
 
Once we have the exact numbers of children who are returning to school, you will be informed of your child’s day to attend. If requested we will coordinate classes, so that siblings can attend the same day.
 
Please note that if you haven’t indicated your child is returning to school, you will not be able to just turn up on the day. We will require prior confirmation of your child's attendance.
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 and should not be expected to attend.
 
Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely 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 those instructions.
 
Children and young people who live with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable) and including those who are pregnant, can attend.
How big will the classes be? 
The Welsh Government is recommending that no more than a third of pupils return to school at any one time.  Having completed audits and risk assessments, we will have classes of up to 10 children as we believe that this is what our setting can safely accommodate.
 
Within each group they will be supported by their own year group teacher . Where there are not enough teachers, Teaching Assistants will lead a group. Desks should be as far apart as the room allows.
 
Children will remain within their ‘bubble’ throughout the day and will not interact with children from any another ‘bubbles.’
 
We will endeavour to reduce the movement of children and staff as much as possible throughout the day.
How will you guarantee that social distancing takes place e.g. keeping children 2m apart?
 
We will of course do our best to support 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 respond to complaints around this when it inevitably happens.
 
We cannot alleviate every risk and parents must understand what we are able to do and use this to inform their decision making. Desks and tables within classrooms have been set 2m apart and children will work at these during the day.
How do I explain social distancing to my child?
 
Be open and honest, using language they will understand. Explain that they are helping others by their actions. Use drawings if needed and use a positive tone. Try to make the children feel safe. 
  
There are some great stories and simple explanations to help:
 
Time to Come In, Bear: A Children’s Story About Social Distancing
Written by Kim St. Lawrence Read by Ryan St. Lawrence. https://youtu.be/DA_SsZFYw0w
 
How to Explain Social Distancing to Kids
https://youtu.be/2HTA3ql6uWY
 
Check out more at-home resources for kids (and their grownups): https://www.kiwico.com/kids-at-home.  
 
For very young children who may not understand the concept of viruses and germs, this video from Sesame Street’s Grover is a great way to show them the “good” and “bad” of being far away and too close up to someone.
 
Grover and Social Distancing: As long-time fans of Sesame Street, we thought that there would be no better way to spread some educational truth about staying safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.  https://youtu.be/xOrt8WMwVEo
What hygiene measures will be in place to keep my child safe?
 
We will:
  • follow the Keep Education Safe Operational Guidance https://gov.wales/keep-education-safe-operational-guidance-schools-and-settings-covid-19
  • Ensure that sufficient handwashing facilities are available. Where a sink is not nearby, provide hand sanitiser in classrooms and other learning environments
  • clean surfaces that children and young people are touching, such as toys, books, desks, chairs, doors, sinks, toilets, light switches, bannisters, more regularly than normal
  • ensure that all adults and children: frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry thoroughly. 
  • Wash/sanitise their hands on arrival at the setting, before and after eating, and after sneezing or coughing
  • are encouraged not to touch their mouth, eyes and nose
  • use a tissue or elbow to cough or sneeze and use separate bins for tissue waste (‘catch it, bin it, kill it’)
  • ensure that help is available for children and young people who have trouble cleaning their hands independently
  • consider how to encourage young children to learn and practise these habits through games, songs and repetition
  • ensure that bins for tissues are emptied throughout the day
  • where possible, all spaces should be well ventilated using natural ventilation (opening windows) or ventilation units
  • prop doors open, where safe to do so (bearing in mind fire safety and safeguarding), to limit use of door handles and aid ventilation
Will children be confined to the same classroom environment most of the day?
 
Government advice on the scientific evidence shows that the outdoor environment is much more manageable in terms of virus transmission. With the summer weather coming, we will be moving towards more of an outdoor learning approach, where possible.   However outside of this we will keep children where possible within one set classroom for the day.
How will lunch time/break time work to ensure children are safe?
 
There will be no on site catering. Pupils will be expected to bring their own packed lunch into school and will eat lunch in the classrooms within their groups. Lunch times and break times will be staggered to ensure appropriate social distancing.
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, to minimise the  opportunity for mixing.
  • regularly cleaning the setting and resources will take place.
  • regularly clean the children’s personal resources (pencils etc)
  • Not allow children to bring in their own resources such as pencil cases.
  • Use PPE such as gloves, aprons, masks, hand sanitiser and anti-bac wipes as identified in our Risk assessments. 
  • Confine resources to rooms to minimise sharing and when sharing is essential, clean resources before transference
  • Stagger lunchtimes and playtimes.
  • Carry out a corridor protocol- one way systems, where possible and keep clear corridor spaces as far as is practical to allow maximum width space for walking
  • Be vigilant in identifying children with symptoms, isolate them and ask parents to collect them
  • Employ a set of agreed non-negotiables on safety in the classroom agreed by all staff. These will make every attempt to maintain social distancing for staff and pupils and limit any potential contact.
  • Removal of unnecessary items from classrooms
  • Removal of soft furnishing, soft toys and toys that are hard to clean.
Will my child be expected to share resources, such as pens and pencils?
 
No. Individual plastic zipped folders will be provided for each pupil with a pen, pencil, rubber and workbooks. Folders will be cleaned at the end of the day after use, and stored until the child returns to school.
I’m a keyworker and my child has been in the childcare provision throughout… 
 
Your child will be offered a place in the Hub class and they can attend every day. Key workers will need to provide evidence that they are eligible for a place.
Will everyone arrive at school at the same time causing an increase in risk?
 
The schools will organise a staggered drop off and collection time for pupils. Children from Year 1 to Year 6 will enter the site from the main gate. Parents will not enter the site and will leave/greet the children at the gate.
 
The gate will be manned by a member of staff who will greet the children. 2m lines on the floor have been marked to support social distancing from the main gate to the main entrance of the school.
 
Entry to school will be weather dependent:
 
Dry days: Year 1 - Year 6 children will use hand sanitiser at the year 2 gate and then walk through the school yard to their individual classrooms. Staff will support the route in the first instance. On entering the classroom, children will wash their hands.
 
Wet days: Year 1 - Year 6 children will enter school at the main entrance where they will use hand sanitiser before walking down the corridor to their classroom. On entering their classroom, they will wash hands.
 
Reception children will use the gate next to the external car park. There will be a hand sanitiser station at the reception gate for children to use on entry to the site. Parents will not enter the site and will leave/greet the children at their respective gates. On entry to the building reception children will wash their hands
Will the school have assembly/acts of worship?
 
Small groups will have an opportunity for reflection within their daily group sessions, but there will be no mass gatherings or daily acts of worship as a school.
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 what it will be like now.  It will be different.  We will help you to prepare for this, year group booklets will follow at the beginning of next week with further detail of each year’s expectations. We aim to provide photos and possible videos to support the transition back into school for pupils. 
Sharing social stories can be really helpful for young children and help to express the situation in a clear factual way, reducing emotional responses. 
 
It will be important to encourage your child to talk about their experiences in ‘lockdown’ and that this period is now ending.
Will children go straight back into normal lessons following the curriculum?
 
No. The initial focus, for as long as we feel necessary, will be on supporting personal, social, health and emotional aspects of learning to support children’s wellbeing.  They have all gone through an incredible period of change and experienced loss on a number of different levels.  All have had changes in routine, loss of communication etc and some may have sadly even experienced the loss of a family member.  This shouldn’t be ignored.
 
The Welsh Minister has suggested this will be a time for us all to ‘Catch up, Check in and prepare for summer and September and there will be a ‘light touch’ emphasis on Learning.
 
Learning in school will follow the same topic based approach as home learning has done up to this point and will place a great emphasis on health and wellbeing.   
How will you support my child’s emotional wellbeing? 
In addition to that mentioned above,  our very experienced team of staff will be available to provide support and our ALNC0 will all work to ensure that children’s needs are met.
 
There will be plenty of opportunities for children to discuss their feelings, play, rebuild friendships and have ‘break out’ or ‘chill out’ spaces for times when they may feel overwhelmed.  
Will staff and children wear masks or PPE?
 
The Government guidelines state, ‘The majority of staff in education settings will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work, even if they are not always able to maintain a distance of 2 metres from others. PPE is only needed in a very small number of cases including:
  • children, young people and students whose care routinely already involves the use of PPE due to their intimate care needs should continue to receive their care in the same way
  • if a child, young person or other learner becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus while in their setting and needs direct personal care until they can return home. A fluid-resistant surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. If contact with the child or young person is necessary, then disposable gloves, a disposable apron and a fluid-resistant surgical face mask should be worn by the supervising adult. If a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes, for example from coughing, spitting, or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn.’
 
However at the moment school`s thinking is that this is an individual family and staff member decision.   If parents or staff insist on wearing face masks we will not prohibit them from doing so, apart from when it becomes a danger to the child. 
Will my child need to wear a school uniform?
 
Clothing will be a parental choice. We love to see the children in their uniform as it gives us an identity as a school, however, we do not expect children to wear school uniform for the remainder of the Summer Term.
Will the breakfast club and after school club be open?
 
No, there will be no breakfast club or after school clubs.
Will we allow visitors and volunteers into school?
 
No until the situation is deemed to be safe, we would prefer to minimise additional adults coming in and out of school.  
(Thank you to all those who have offered your help)
Will extra-curricular clubs run (football club, choir etc)?
No. These bring too many children into contact and mix the school groupings.
Will the school office be open?
 
Yes but sometimes there may be a reduced staff.   This is a very busy time of year with new admissions and leavers, please bear with us in the office and try to be as organised as possible.  
 
We will not be accepting late arrivals to school via the main front office and do not want parents to come into the school reception unless this has previously been agreed.
 
Where possible I would ask that parents ring/email the school as opposed to presenting in person.
Will you continue to provide online home learning activities for children who do not return to school?
 
We will continue to set home learning activities, during term-time, so that all children have access to provision to support their learning. These will be what the children in school are working on anyway.   With school reopening to a greater number parents will need to be mindful that teaching staff will not be as responsive to parent emails during the time children are within school and indeed will need to shut off out of hours, so please bear with us
 
It may be that we establish a small remote learning team to deal with queries and provide support to those that remain at home who can be on call throughout the day as required.   When we have a better idea as to the number of pupils and staff in school versus at home, we can put things in place.
What will happen if a child in the class shows symptoms?
 
We will follow the Government guidelines in the Keep Education Safe guidance previously mentioned:
 
If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in an education or childcare setting, they must be sent home.If a child is awaiting collection, they will 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. A window will be opened for ventilation. 
 
If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they will use a separate toilet. The toilet 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 while 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, staff will call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.
 
If a member of staff has helped someone who was 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 https://gov.wales/keep-education-safe-operational-guidance-schools-and-settings-covid-19 
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 students 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, young person or staff member tests negative, they can return to their setting and the fellow household members can end their self-isolation.
 
Where the child, young person or staff member tests positive, the rest of their class or group within their childcare or education setting should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The other household members of that wider class or group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.
 
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, young people 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.
Will the school take my child’s temperature every day?
 
No.
What if another child ‘coughs’ deliberately in someone else’s face?
School will take this very seriously. We will explain to the child the dangers and consequences of these actions. Parents will be telephoned and may have to come and collect their child resulting in a fixed term exclusion. 
Will there be any swimming lessons or trips once school opens?
No. There are no plans to take the children out of the school grounds until further notice.
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 with their lunch and a drink.  
 
Please do not bring PE kit, rucksacks, book bags or pencil cases.