COVID-19 information and queries
Hermitage school re-opening
Information for parents and carers
Information for Nursery Parents
Dear Nursery parents and carers,
You will no doubt be aware that the phased reopening of the school beyond the key worker bubble has started with Year 6, Year 1 and reception.
The Government also stated its ambition to return Nursery children to their Nursery provision.
At Hermitage, it has been challenging to provide the staffing and the rooms needed to open the current year groups, and I need to let you know that I am not able to open the nursery for an extended period before the end of term. We recognise that this will be disappointing for families and that you may be wondering how we can support your child before they make the transition into reception.
Our ambition is to offer some transition sessions before the end of term to familiarise themselves once again with school routines , look at new classrooms and possibly meet their new teacher. The logistics, as always, are challenging, and as soon as I am able to, I will let you know when that will be.
This has been such an uncertain and anxious time for you , as families, and us as a school. We’ll keep going and look forward to the day when we can come back together as a community again.
I haven’t done quote of the week for some time , but I have been particularly inspired by the work of Charlie Mackesy in these strange times , so I leave you with this.
“When things get difficult remember who you are.'
'Who am I?' asked the boy
'You are loved' said the horse”
Charlie Mackesy, “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse”
With warmest regards, Zoe
School re-opening: information for parents and carers of children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6
Dear Parents and carers ,
It was wonderful to see the first phase of children arrive back at school on Monday morning, alongside our key worker bubble. There have been many adaptations to the school environment to help to keep children and staff safe and to minimise the risk of infection. We have opened up and marked out all 3 of our entrances so that we can maintain social distancing whilst the children are waiting to come into school. The main playground is in sections , and the climbing frames are no longer in use. We have installed two hand washing stations in the playground so that children are able to wash their hands regularly, whether they are learning outside or in. we have also refurbished our outdoor classroom in the Forest school. We are serving packed lunches, to be eaten in class or outside if the weather remains good.
Inside, the classrooms have been rearranged to ensure that desks are distanced at 2 metres. Because our classrooms are relatively small, it means we are only able to accommodate 8 children in each bubble. Please have a look at the pictures on the “Returning to school” section on the website to give you a flavour of what to expect.
We are aiming to mirror the curriculum that is being taught in class with that online , through Google classroom. This week our online team will be working hard to refine the online learning for the coming weeks and aim to increase the responses. We currently have 38% of the children submitting their work online . Many parents told us they were having problems logging into Google classrooms , so we held our first Zoom Parent’s workshop last week to support parents and carers with online learning. There are more planned , so please let us know if there is any particular workshop you would like us to run.
Finally, we may have the capacity to open up some more bubbles for Y6 and Y1. Please look out for another survey where you can indicate whether you wish to send your child to school if there are spaces.
We know that there are many early years parents who are also keen to get their children back to school. At the moment our capacity to staff this bubble is very limited. Please bear with us and we will explore some different possibilities for widening this provision.
In the meantime , stay safe and enjoy the warm sunshine .
Our safety measures
An extensive risk assessment for all relevant activities has been carried out and this risk assessment will be reviewed daily.
Changes to the school day
The school will close at 3 to ensure thorough daily cleaning and on Fridays it will close at 1.15 to facilitate a deep clean.
Staggered drop off and pick up times
We will be staggering drop off and pick up times to ensure social distancing is maintained and so that not all children enter and leave at the same time. Please keep strictly to this time as we may not be able to admit latecomers. Please talk to your children to prepare them for their return to school. Children have been away from school for some time and when they return, school will look and feel different. We will put pictures on the website to show where to queue , what the classes look like, the one way system and the changes to the playground.
Whilst waiting to drop your child ONLY 1 adult may drop off or pick up your child. 2 metre markers will be set out on the ground at the entrance; parents/carers will be expected to adhere to the social distancing rules outside the school premises keeping 2 metres apart. You will drop your child at the gate as parents and carers will not be able to come onto the school grounds.
Early years children must be dropped at the early years gate. Year 6 and year 1 will use the main entrance at staggered times. We hope that everybody follows the advice to ‘stay alert’ and observe social distancing.
Parents are requested to avoid using public transport where possible. We advise you to come by car, or walk or cycle. If in the unfortunate circumstance your only option is to use public transport then you will be required to adhere to the social distancing rules ensuring that you remain 2 metres away from others.
We will to provide childcare and education in small bubbles with a maximum of 9 children per bubble. We aim to keep this bubble consistent with the same adults and children throughout the day. We have made changes to the school and classroom environment to support infection control and hygiene measures; for example the book corners are closed off and we have removed soft toys and furnishings in line with government guidance.
We will be undertaking regular cleaning procedures throughout the day to minimise the risk of any germs spreading. Frequently touched surfaces, equipment, door handles, hand rails, toilets used during the day, will be cleaned thoroughly throughout the day in line with government guidance.
The classrooms will be cleaned daily by the cleaning team , and on Friday afternoons a deeper clean will also be carried out.
Hand washing procedures are of extremely high importance and all staff and children continue to regularly wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap. Hands will be washed upon entering the setting, regularly throughout the day, before and after eating and when children and staff leave. Children will be supervised when doing this so they can learn how to do it effectively. We will also be placing medical standard hand sanitisers in all communal areas.
PPE – Personal Protective Equipment
The children and staff will not be required to wear PPE in the setting. However, we will ensure enough supplies of PPE are available such as disposables gloves, aprons and face masks, should we need them such as in the case of a child needing intimate care or falling unwell whilst on site.
Learning in school and home learning
In school teaching will consist of daily English and Maths and PE sessions. This will be complemented with other curriculum areas, including providing teaching on safety measures and providing children opportunities to talk about and reflect on their experiences. Our aim is to support children in reintegrating back into their school routines as safely as possible and our curriculum will support this. The home learning provision will continue through Hermitage Google classroom and the website. We are also sending home learning packs.
To minimise risk, we are limiting the use of shared resources in the classroom and playground. Children will be provided with an allocated stationary pack for their own use only. Resources in the classroom will be kept to a minimum. To support this, we ask that children only bring essential items to school with them; water bottle, tissue pack, coat. They will not be required to bring PE kits.
Children who become unwell
If you or anybody in your family becomes unwell with a continuous cough, temperature or loss of taste and smell, then the whole family will need to isolate at home for 14 days in line with government guidance. You must notify the school if this happens. If any child becomes unwell with the above symptoms whilst they are in school, they will be sent home immediately. Whilst the child is awaiting collection, they will be placed in isolation with a member of staff away from others until they are picked up. It is vital we are able to get in touch with parents/carers immediately; therefore, please ensure we have your up to date contact details. Email email@example.com if your contact details have recently changed.
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 must 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.
Staying at home for those who are vulnerable and extremely vulnerable
Any children living with a person who is at increased risk of severe illness, or an extremely vulnerable person who is shielding from coronavirus, should stringently follow the guidance on social distancing and minimise contact outside the home, such children are advised not to attend school. The government have advised that no families will receive a penalty for non-attendance to school at the current time.
Communication with families
Face to face communication between staff and parent/carers will be kept minimal to ensure safety. We will contact you via telephone if we need to and will continue to keep you updated via our website and with text messages. If you have any enquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Visitors on site and school meetings/workshops
We will not allow any non-essential visitors to be on site until further notice. Only essential external visitors will be allowed on-site such as contractors or health care professionals.
School packed lunches will be provided but children will eat only in their designated bubble classroom, or weather permitting, outside on a staggered timetable. If you currently receive free school meals vouchers for your child who is coming into school this will stop once they have a school packed lunch. The lunches will take into account the needs of children who have allergies .
Parents eligible and in receipt of Free School Meal Vouchers will no longer be receiving vouchers when the child returns to school.
The children will be able to play outside in their designated groups and staff will monitor social distancing. Children will have allocated play equipment for each class bubble which can then be cleaned regularly following playtime. Breaks will be taken in designated groups at staggered times.
Movement around school
There is a clear plan for children to enter the school building, move around the building in a one way system when required to minimise contact with other class bubbles and avoid congestion in small spaces.
Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL)
If you have any safeguarding concerns or questions, please speak to the Head teacher Zoe Howe. Other DSL officers below: Preet Serai and Karen Attard Deputy Headteacher
Where to find the latest information Updates on COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Department for Education (DfE) Coronavirus helpline
The DfE Coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about Covid-19 relating to education and childcare. Staff, parents/carers can contact this helpline via phone: 0800 046 8687 or email: DfE.email@example.com
The full list of Key Workers can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
Dear parents/carers, the school will be open on Monday with a skeleton staff to a small number of children, including those who have parents who are critical workers. The list published by govt this morning includes people working in: health and social care, including care homes for the elderly, education and childcare, including nursery staff and other workers required to keep schools open (e.g. school cooks), key public services, local and national government, the provision of food and other necessary goods, including supermarket workers, public safety and national security, transport, utilities, and communication and financial services. If you work in one of these area and you cannot make safe alternative arrangements for your child to be looked after at home from Monday, you must ring us by 2 pm today. If you are unsure, please ask.Children with EHC Plans
Dear parents/carers, the school have been advised to support families and children with EHC plans. If your child has an EHC plan and you want them to come to school after Monday, you must ring us by 12:30 pm today to let us know.
Free School Meals
Please click here for further information regarding E-Vouchers