Dear Parents and Carers
I wanted to write to you to update you further on matters relating to Cherry Oak School’s COVID response as well as updates on pupil drop-offs and pick-ups.
The Leadership team and I, believe we have a responsibility to our parents/carers and our pupils to begin planning a full opening of Cherry Oak School to all pupils. This letter explains to you our plan, although it is provisional and could be changed or postponed at any moment based on our interpretation of the ever-changing advice and evidence.
As things stand, we hope to open our doors to all pupils only from Monday 1st March. This is in addition to the children of key workers and a small number of other families who are already in attendance.
Accompanying this letter is an online response form for parents /carers to let us know your intentions. Please complete this, but in making your decision please take into account the following information:
You do not have to send your child to school. In the current circumstances there will be no attempt to fine families who do not send their child to school. You will, therefore, not be fined if you choose not to send your child to school. If this changes we will let you know.
In school, your child may be educated in a slightly different class group then normal. This group will form a new ‘bubble’. Each bubble can contain between 8-14 pupils with one teacher and 2/3 teaching assistants. It is very likely that these staff members will be your child’s usual teacher and teaching assistant, but in some cases there may need to be changes. Each bubble will have very limited contact with any children or staff from any other bubble. This means that your child will not spend the typical time with people outside their bubble.
Pupils will follow a well-planned and worthwhile curriculum, but this may be narrower than their normal curriculum. It may not be as broad and balanced as usual, and is likely to emphasise activities to support pupils’ safety and wellbeing ahead of some of the more traditional subjects.
Within each bubble, hygiene will be the highest priority. Your child will be supported to wash and sanitise their hands regularly. School cleaners will be on site throughout the whole school day and will repeatedly clean anything that is touched frequently such as surfaces and door handles. Pupils may not bring any equipment into school unless it is related to health conditions. They may only use the equipment that we provide them with.
Pupils will be kept as distant as possible from each other, but it will not be possible for strict social distancing to be maintained within bubbles. This means that the school is not guaranteeing that social distancing rules will be applied to your child, and the school cannot be held responsible for any outcome that may arise as a consequence of this lack of social distancing.
Pupils’ movement in and around school will be severely limited. They will eat in their classroom.
Changes to arrival at and departure from school – this will hopefully become a permanent new process. Parents/carers who drop their child to school personally, will now only be allowed to drop off at 9:15 after the buses depart. The school gates will be open to be used as a turning circle. A member of staff from your child’s bubble will collect your child. This may mean you have to wait for staff to become available. Please switch the engine off in your car and wait inside the vehicle. You will be told when you can enter and leave the school site. The same will happen at the end of the school day, parents and carers pick up time will be at 15:15 after the buses have left site. Again the school’s drive will be used as a turning circle – please wait in your vehicle with the engine switched off.
If your child, or anyone else in your household, shows COVID-19 symptoms (high temperature, coughing or lack of smell or taste), you should not send them to school, but should instead follow government guidance related to testing and isolation. You should call us at school for advice. If your child develops symptoms at school, they will be sent home immediately and government guidance should be followed.
If your child requires any first aid help at school for any reason, they will be tended to as usual by a trained member of staff, but that member of staff will wear full personal protective equipment. This will consist of gloves, an apron, a face mask and a visor. You may wish to discuss this with your child, as it is not what they are used to and could be potentially distressing for them to see staff dressed in this way.
Parents and other visitors will not be allowed on school premises without an appointment. We are, as ever, available to talk to on the telephone. In the exceptional event of a meeting being necessary, an appointment should be made, and strict social distancing rules will be applied throughout the meeting.
We know that this is a long list of new rules, but we are sure that you appreciate that we have chosen to apply them so that your children and our staff can be as safe as possible. If you have any queries then please call us at school. If you have to leave a message on our answering machine, we will call you back as quickly as possible.
Please use the accompanying survey (see link below) to let us know whether you would send your child to school next half-term if we were to reopen.
Thank you for your ongoing support.