Dear Parents and Carers,
The last few months have been very challenging for everyone and we would like to congratulate all of our children, families and staff for their continued support and hard work as we have negotiated unchartered waters together. Thank you as parents and carers, for working with us and for showing your support through these difficult times. We can’t wait to get everyone back in school, although things are still going to look a little different.
Following guidance issued from the Government, on Monday 22nd February, I am writing to give you our most updated plan. We are already opening the school to all children from 1st March which is a week earlier then the Government’s plan. This will still continue as we believe it is the right thing to do.
Below, we have outlined our plan for the full re-opening from the Government’s planned Monday 8th March 2021 for all children. Please read this carefully as it is relevant to all children attending Cherry Oak.
All children, from Reception up to Year 6, must attend school again from Monday 8th March 2021. This is mandatory for all school aged pupils. All the staff are delighted to be returning to whole class teaching as we have really missed our children.
We see the whole school as a ‘bubble’ due to the small size of the school. However, each class will be kept in their own bubble where possible called a ‘Pod’ and will be taught by their class teachers and their teaching assistants.
Within these Pods, the children will not be expected to socially distance. Adults moving between the Pods will do so carefully; washing their hands frequently and socially distancing.
Where possible, different Pods will not be allowed to mix during the school day. This means the children will have no contact with the other class Pods in school. Breaks will be mostly separate, lunches will be eaten separately in their classroom and there will be no whole school gatherings or events. Assemblies will only be done through online video meetings, to limit the amount of movement around school.
After school clubs will be cancelled for the moment.
Educational trips will be cancelled for the moment
The Government has made it clear, that schools must plan to teach for the gaps which may have occurred in children’s learning due to Covid-19. They have recommended that there be a focus on phonics, reading, writing and maths whilst also offering wider curriculum opportunities.
The entrance to our school front office will be open again. However, we need to continue communicating by email and phone as much as possible so we can continue to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19. Only one adult at a time will be allowed in the front office and they must be wearing a face covering. Only visitors who have a pre-booked meeting or appointment will be allowed in the school building.
Covid-19 testing for Cherry Oak staff will continue for the foreseeable future. So far, we have had no positives test results
There will be a continued emphasis on hand washing and good hygiene throughout the school day.
We will continue to seek opportunities to learn outside whenever possible.
Children will not be required to wear face coverings in school
Staff already wear face coverings when outside of their own classrooms and moving around school. They also sometimes wear them when they are working one to one with a child or when providing intimate care and first aid care.
We have been advised to continue with our ongoing risk assessments and to also plan for any possibility of Pod closures.
Should there be one or more confirmed Covid-19 case within school, we will need to close Pods or potentially the whole school, depending on the severity of the outbreak. We will follow Public Health England’s guidance.
Mornings will consist of:
Buses and parents who have not opted to use the turning circle will continue as per their usual routine.
8.50am Buses unload and parents are greeted at the pedestrian gate.
9.15am (or as soon as all 5 buses have been unloaded) Parents will use the turning circle to drop children off. Parents will pull into the car park (gate remain open) and park in the allocated box, staff will collect children from the car and take directly to class.
The staff controlling vehicle access will be very strict to make sure there is no moving vehicles around the children. Please listen and follow instructions of staff.
Afternoon will consist of:
3.00pm Parents who have opted not to use the turning circle will collect as per their normal routine.
3.05pm Buses loaded.
3.20pm (or as soon as the buses are safely loaded and dismissed). Parents will pull into the turning circle and the member of SLT will coordinate the collection of children on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Cherry Oak’s site manager will monitor the gate and call cars through when it is safe to do so.
Parents and Carers will need to do the following:
Keep your child/ren at home if anyone in the household has COVID-19 symptoms and access a test.(Available from NHS 111 online Coronavirus service at (https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test). The Government guidelines for symptoms remains as follows: a new continuous cough, high temperature, loss of taste/smell.
Engage with the NHS Track & Trace process, request a test for anyone who displays any symptoms. Inform school immediately of the results.
Ensure children wash their hands directly before leaving for school and upon their return.
Observe a social distance at all times outside the school grounds.
One adult per household to pick up and drop off (where possible)
Wear a face covering when dropping off and collecting children.
The staff at Cherry Oak, are really excited about opening fully and can’t wait to see you all again and all of our children. We know things will still need to be a little different, but please be reassured the safety of all our children is the upmost priority.
Please go through all the changes mentioned in this letter and if appropriate share with your children to help them prepare for returning to school. All the children who have already returned to school, have come back amazingly well and have adapted instantly to the safety measures that are in place.
Please be positive and encouraging with your child, get them excited, and count down the sleeps until school opens again, go onto the school website and look at the photos etc. so they are as prepared as possible for Monday 8th March.
I hope that this letter outlines any questions which you may have.