The Department for Education has made clear that all students must return to school in September:
It is vital that children and young people return to school and college, for their educational progress, for their wellbeing, and for their wider development. School attendance will be mandatory from the beginning of the new academic year. This means that it is your legal duty as a parent to send your child to school regularly. (Department for Education, August 2020)
The academy is committed to ensuring the safe return of all students in September and is fully compliant with all guidance relating to this. Please find below the details of some of measures that we will be taking to ensure a ‘Covid secure’ environment.
- Staff and students will receive a comprehensive induction about procedures and expectations. The start of term is being staggered in order to facilitate this.
- Students will be placed into year group ‘bubbles’ and will have no more than transitory, passing contact with students from other year groups. Each year group will be taught in designated year group zones for the majority of lessons.
- The arrival and dismissal of students will be staggered. Upon arrival at school, students will line up in the playground in their tutor groups and be escorted into the building by their teachers.
- Breaktime and lunchtime will be staggered. Each year group will have an allocated zone in the playground. There will be no canteen service at break time. At lunchtime, students will be rotated through the canteen in their year groups and will be directed where to sit by a member of staff.
- Students will have regular opportunities throughout the day to wash and/or sanitise their hands. Hand sanitiser will be available throughout the building.
- An enhanced cleaning schedule will be in place to ensure that canteen tables, toilets, classrooms and subject specialist equipment are cleaned between use by different year groups.
- Public Health England does not (based on current evidence) recommend the use of face coverings in schools. They are not required in schools as pupils and staff are mixing in consistent groups, and because misuse may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission. There may also be negative effects on communication and thus education. Face coverings are required at all times on public transport. Upon arrival at the academy, students will be asked to remove their face covering and sanitise their hands.
Pupils, staff and other adults must not come into the school if they have coronavirus symptoms, or have tested positive in at least the last 10 days. Coronavirus symptoms include:
- a new and persistent cough
- a high temperature,
- a loss of, or change in, the normal sense of taste or smell
Anyone that develops these symptoms during the school day will be sent home and will be advised to self-isolate for at least 10 days and to arrange a test to see if they have coronavirus. All other members of the academy community can continue to attend school as normal, unless they have come into ‘close contact’ with a confirmed case (i.e. somebody who has tested positive), or unless they develop symptoms themselves.