Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
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?
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.’