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Return to School Arrangements August 2020

Dear Parents,

I hope you and your children are keeping well in very challenging times. I wrote to you all twice over the summer and as mentioned in my last correspondence I informed you all that once our staff had the chance to sit down together and agree our Covid 19 approaches that we would inform you.

Those conversations have been taking place over the last few days and we are (as far as it is possible) clearer in our combined approach. The measures we have agreed are largely in line with what many other schools are adopting and they will all be reviewed on a regular basis. If approaches need to be adjusted or changed in any way we will make the changes and inform everyone concerned. 

We ask for your cooperation in these measures and trust you are aware that the safety of everyone in Thornfield is our key priority.  Our efforts are all designed to keep our pupils safe and also our staff.

TRANSPORT

School will commence on the 24th August 2020, our transport colleagues say they cannot guarantee bus availability until 1st September although most regions are hopeful they will be able to accommodate us. It seems North Eastern region will not be providing transport until 1-9-20, I have been in liaison with most regions over the last few weeks but as you are aware they are not managed by myself. Parents are welcome to drop their child off and collect their child at school during that first week. You can liaise directly with transport if you have not already heard from them. This is a challenge for us all but hopefully most pupils will get to school next Monday and the system will improve by September 1st.

 

SCHOOL ARRIVAL

All staff entering Thornfield will be temperature checked before entry, if their temperature is 38 degrees or above they will be asked to seek medical advice and testing, needing an all clear confirmation before school return.

All pupils entering Thornfield will be temperature checked before entering school. Those pupils 38 degrees and above will not partake with their class activities. Parents will be asked to collect them if possible, alternatively their transport will be asked to return them home if they can. If this is not possible Thornfield will have a room set aside for this with staff fully gowned up and awaiting either pick up or return home via their usual transport at days end. The pupils involved will need medical checking and a confirmed clear bill of health before school return.

We ask parents to fully support these approaches as they are designed to protect your own child and everyone else in school. We ask you to check your child`s temperature, if you think they may be unwell and please do not send them into school unwell as it puts everyone at risk.

 

SCHOOL DINNERS

EA have now informed us that they will not be providing school dinners until 1-9-20, pupils will need a packed lunch.

After 1-9-20 when school meals return all pupils will be eating their dinners in their classroom for safety reasons. We have agreed a system when the dinners will be delivered and collected from the classrooms.

 

BUBBLE ARRANGEMNETS

All primary classes will remain self contained bubble units during their school day with little contact with other classes again for safety reasons. This will include entry and exit via designated routes, playtime as a group, meal times as a group and lessons as a group. Play times and lunch times will be staggered and in designated areas to enhance safety procedures

In order to reduce cross contamination in the classroom could you please provide the following items to remain in school;  

· A large storage box (approx. 30cml) for your child to put their coat and lunch/snack into  

· A smaller storage box with lid (no more than 10cm in height and 30cm in length) for children to place stationary into (stationary will be provided by the school- your child should not bring a pencil case to school)  

· A small personal hand sanitizer 

· A box of tissues  

· A packet of wipes  

 

School bags and lunchboxes  

School bags and lunchboxes are not to be brought to school, lunch should be packed in a disposable plastic bag. Food should be wrapped in disposable materials. Spoons and forks should also be disposable.  

 

PPE EQUIPMENT

Staff have a wide range of PPE equipment and will be wearing it generally with some exceptions of health or practicality reasons. 

PE WILL BE TAKEN OUTSIDE IF POSSIBLE AND WHERE IT IS INDOORS SURFACES WILL BE SANITISED BETWEEN LESSONS, PUPILS SHOULD COME TO SCHOOL READY FOR PE AND IF POSSIBLE A TRACKSUIT OVER THEIR PE GEAR, PE DAYS ARE MONDAY AND FRIDAY AND WE AIM TO HAVE PE FROM OUR FIRST DAY.

 

If a pupil wants to wear a mast in the classroom they may do so but this is not a requirement, I am informed that mast are mandatory on EA transport, please liaise with your drivers on this if you need clarification.

 

SCHOOL BAGS

No school bags in school until further notice, pupils will be provided with the essential equipment they need in school and this equipment will remain their own for the duration of the pandemic. Pupils may obviously bring their lunch into school this may be in a stringed bad and some female and older pupils may need to bring in personal items for their sanitary use. These efforts again aim to limit and avoid cross contamination of surfaces and items.

 

HOMEWORK

Homework will be forwarded electronically in a similar arrangement as we had before the summer holidays, avoidance of cross contamination is again the aim. Your class teacher will give you more detail on this in the coming days.

 

 

SUMMARY

I appreciate this is a lot to take in but we are trying very hard to protect everyone around school, we ask parents not to enter the school building unless it is necessary and rather correspond with us electronically. However there will be occasions when you do need to come into school. We will set aside particular areas for this and ensure that they are clean and sanitised following meetings. These arrangements will take a lot of getting used to but we must all try. 

Key aspects of our approach will involve social distancing and review of procedures on a regular basis, there will be increased levels of cleaning and sanitation, toilets and areas of concern will be cleaned on a regular basis, some of these on an hourly basis. 

You may still have some questions following this update but I hope it eases some of your concerns, it is impossible to provide minute detail on every aspect of our approach but suffice to say that we will be keeping our approaches under close review and adjust if necessary.

In the meantime please stay safe as we alll hope for a more traditional school approach in the coming months I look forward to seeing all our pupils in the coming days and speaking directly to many of you as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Colm Burns

C Burns 

Principal, Thornfield House School

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