As you will be aware, the Government have decided that schools should reopen for Years R, 1 and 6 from 1st June, with more years attending after a few weeks if the pandemic continues on a downward trend. I know that Mr Johnson has briefly written and explained that we will be taking some time to formulate a plan for how we can best look after your children when they come back to school but I wanted to let you know what our initial thoughts on the situation are.
There are a number of Government Guidelines and we will of course be following these carefully. Ultimately though, the responsibility of how a school deals with this situation has been given by both the Government and the county council, to the schools themselves. We do not take this responsibility lightly and we are very concerned that we get this process right.
This week, myself, the safeguarding governor, Mr Johnson and Mrs Nellist have met at school to discuss the plan of action. We have also had a virtual meeting of the Governing Body to discuss the matter. Once the plan has been formalised, and I am sure you will appreciate that it is very complicated, we will give you full details. In the meantime, I thought it would be useful for you to know what the broad strokes of the plan will be.
· 15 children in each classroom, so each class will be split in two. For the 3 years coming back, we will need 6 classrooms but 2 extra for the children of key workers.
· Once the children are in their designated classroom, they will stay there other than if they are able to have their lesson on the playing field, play and lunch times. The teacher will be encouraging them to be socially distancing as much as possible.
· The school office will be closed, with a drop box at the door for any communication you may need to leave at school. The phone line remains open though.
· Dropping off your children and picking them up will be another difficult situation for us to address and we will have to ask that you all undertake any procedures we have to put in place. Again, once this has been decided upon we will let you know.
· The flow of the school through the corridors is something that we are looking at but we anticipate that it will be very difficult for children to maintain social distancing when in the corridors.
· The hygiene controls that need to be put in place, such as cleaning equipment and ensuring the children regularly wash their hands, will take a considerable amount of time out of each school day. It is therefore important to appreciate that the school day will not be the same as when the children left in March. We are very anxious that we do not upset the children with the new regime and we are being very mindful of the fact that it will all be a bit strange for them.
The school has been open throughout the lockdown for the children of key workers and the teachers have all been in school, not just on their days to teach, but also to spend some considerable timing planning for the terms ahead. Hopefully, all the children will be back in school properly in September and we have some amazing plans to make sure that any gaps in knowledge can be filled and the children’s learning can continue at a great pace.
During this period of June/July, our intention is to carry on with providing all of you with worksheets to help with working from home, so if you decide not to send your child they will not miss out too much. I know that many of you will be worried about your child falling behind, or having gaps in their learning. There is not much that I can guarantee you at the moment, but I can guarantee the determination and expertise of the staff at East Ayton in making sure that this situation doesn’t have long term consequences for their learning. For what it’s worth, my personal opinion as a parent, and as someone who cares about your children deeply, is that it is far better to have gaps in learning than to have an unwell child, or worse.
As I have said, we take our responsibility in this situation very seriously. I have no wish to be a scaremonger but I have to be honest and tell you that we are worried about what will happen when the children come back to school. We will do our utmost to keep them safe, they are all very precious.
If you decide not to send your child back to school, please be aware that there will be no fines made and we will continue to provide the worksheets on the website on a weekly basis.
If you have specific concerns, please do not hesitate to let us know and we will do our best to address them.