At Watchfield, we are aware that there is a significant amount of information in the public domain around Covid-19 which may cause parents and carers to feel anxious about allowing their child to return to school. Hopefully, the information contained within this overall section of the website, alongside the direct communication that has already been issued, will go some way towards reassuring you of the measures that have been put in place to keep the school community as safe as possible when schools reopen.
In addition, please see below for some answers to frequently asked questions from parents:
Can you guarantee my child’s safety from the virus at school?
Unfortunately, just as in other circumstances or situations, we cannot guarantee that individuals will not come into contact with the virus whilst at school. Whilst we will observe every safety suggestion from the Government, Public Health England, Oxfordshire County Council and unions to reduce risk, exposure to the virus is possible. Currently, there is limited information on transmission between children and adults available in the Government guidance. Please look at this page on our website which summaries the new measures that have been introduced for everyone’s safety https://www.watchfieldprimary.co.uk/what-changes-have-been-made-to-keep-children-famil/
Can you guarantee social distancing in School?
Despite the best efforts of staff, social distancing of children simply cannot be entirely observed in school; the government acknowledges this is impossible for schools to implement 100% of the time. However, wherever possible we will be implementing the 2m social distancing rule.
Particular actions that have been taken to promote social distancing, include the fact that children have been organised into small teaching groups, with each class split in half and attending on different days. Pupils will not be moved between the two groups and these groups will not be allowed to mix with each other within school. The same staff will be working with pupils each day they are in school. In classrooms, the tables will be arranged as individual workspaces and spaced apart. This reduces the number of pupils dramatically to up to twelve places per classroom, although currently the number of pupils in some groups is significantly less than this.
What will happen if my child or someone in my child’s group becomes unwell?
Guidance is that all children showing symptoms should be sent home immediately and self-isolate for 7 days, while their household self-isolates for 14 days. This includes showing a high temperature of 37.8 degrees or above, or presenting with a persistent cough, or loss of taste/smell while they are at school. If symptoms are noted at school, and a child is subsequently sent home, the decision of the school is final and non-negotiable. We will strongly advise a test for COVID-19; councils are offering same day, local testing for Corona Virus. If a child tests negative, they can return to school. If a child tests positive, all children and adults from their group will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
If your child is unwell e.g. has a sickness bug but does not appear to have COVID-19 specific symptoms, they should still remain at home until they are fully recovered to stop the spread of other illnesses.
I have another child in Y2/Y3/Y4/Y5 but I am not a key worker. Can I send my other child to school?
No, not at the moment. School will only be re-opening to Reception, Year 1, Year 6 pupils, the children of key workers (pupils with parents whose job is critical to the fight against Covid-19) and vulnerable pupils. With all the new requirements in place, we do not currently have enough space or staff to facilitate the return of other year groups. There may be scope later in the term to consider looking at the return of other year groups, but this would have to be on a rota system and has not yet been explored fully.
I am a key worker and my child is in EYFS, Year 1 or Year 6, which group will they go into?
Unfortunately, children of key workers will only be able to work with their peer group if parents only require a school place for them for two days a week – either on a Monday/Tuesday or a Thursday/Friday. If more days or a full-time place is required, key worker children will need to remain within the key worker group, so as to prevent children from different groups mixing and potentially spreading the virus.
I am a key worker and my child has only been attending on odd days. Can I still only send my child on the days when I am on shift?
Yes, however we now need to know the days two weeks in advance. This is to ensure the integrity of the groups and ensure that we do not go over the recommended numbers.
Parents and carers should rest assured that if there is any further update to Government guidance stating that schools should not re-open in June, then Watchfield shall be adhering to this and plans for re-opening will be halted until we are satisfied that there is sufficient evidence in support of this.