Coronavirus, COVID-19: Social distancing
Yesterday the government announced new social distancing measures along-side their intention to keep schools open. Although closures are likely to be considered at a later stage, Fielding will remain open at this time. Key points relevant to schools:
- Stay at home for 14 days if pupils or anyone they live with has a new cough or temperature;
- Social distancing including avoiding large gatherings and gatherings in smaller public places; avoiding gathering with family and friends.
There is new advice for schools at this time. This is a fluid situation and the guidance changes daily:
Stay at home for 14 days if pupils or anyone they live with has a new cough or temperature
It is for parents to decide if a pupils needs to stay at home:
- If you decide to keep your child at home because they or someone they live with has a new continuous cough and/or temperature, they stay away from school for 14 days.
- For those families who told us they were self-isolating on Monday, the period of isolation is now 14 days. We do not expect you to return to school early.
- We will record and authorise all absences for those who stay at home.
- If a parent decides to return their child to school early, I have no way of stopping them returning to school. I rely on the good sense and good will of our families.
- If a pupil of member of staff becomes unwell at school, showing a new continuous cough and/or high temperature, we will send them home. While a pupil awaits collection, they will be isolated from others.
Learning and teaching
We are experiencing much higher than typical absence from school. Some parents are telling us that they are self-isolating. This affects pupils in all age-groups. This means:
- We are slowing down the amount of new learning so that we reduce the amount needed to catch-up when pupils return to school.
- We are increasing the amount of repetition and over-learning so that pupils do not fall behind.
- We are not setting work for home when pupils are absent because we are continuing to teach in school.
- Over the length of a key-stage and primary education, pupils will cover all curriculum content ready for High School.
Social distancing and school limitations
Our overarching approach is to focus on our core functions: learning and teaching during the day; childcare and clubs before and after-school, unless providers cancel their club. We are cancelling all other non-essential activities. This means:
- We will continue to teach pupils in classes because we have no way of reducing the number of pupils to a room. Class sizes in Years 3-6 may increase to cover staff absence while we remain open.
- We will continue our dining arrangements because we cannot start our service earlier or end it later without lunch becoming breakfast for some or tea for others.
- We will open the field at break and lunchtimes to increase the amount of space available to pupils.
- All assemblies for pupils are cancelled to cut the amount of time that pupils gather in large groups.
- All performance assemblies are cancelled for classes and year groups to cut the gathering of pupils and parents in school.
- All sports and music events involving pupils from other schools, performance to parents or competition are cancelled. Specialist clubs, choir and music tuition continues.
- All off-site visits are cancelled to cut the amount of contact that pupils have with others outside of school.
- All parent and pupil learning together activities are cancelled, for example, Rocket Readers, Homework Club for the younger pupils, Phonics Wednesdays, Number Crunchers, Stay and Play, to cut the gathering of pupils and parents in school.
- All PTFA events are cancelled until the end of the school year to cut the gathering of friends and family.
- Residential trips remain under consideration at this time while we research options and cancellation arrangements with our providers.
School remains open
Some parents and members of staff have become increasingly anxious about pupils and family members who are in vulnerable groups. Some parents have told me that they do not understand why the school has not closed. Others have decided to keep pupils at home to reduce risk. This is a difficult decision because the government has sign-posted that these measures may be in place for many weeks.
Rebecca Preston, Chair of Governors, and I cannot close the school unless there are health and safety reasons to do so. The coronavirus outbreak is unprecedented. The government is telling schools to remain open unless instructed to close.
If too many members of staff decide that they need to stay at home for 14 days, we may become unable to cover classes or supervise pupils safely. Then we may decide to close the school because we are unable to operate safely. This will be a very difficult decision because it will be hard to know when we will be able to open again.
We will publish any closure on Latest News, Twitter (@fieldingprimary), by email to your contact email address(es) and by notification to MyChildAtSchool (MCAS) app on your mobile phone.
Parents should begin to make contingency arrangements for day-care in the event that the school closes, including at short-notice.