September 2021

Operational Guidance September 2021 – PLEASE READ

Welcome Back!

During the summer holidays we received guidance from the Welsh Government and Local Authority regarding restrictions for September 2021. I have updated our whole school risk assessment and provide information for September 2021 below:

I believe it is important we move forward and put in place measures to support our school returning to how it used to be whilst ensuring we are keeping safe and living with the virus. Although “bubbles” have now gone we still need to reduce contact between classes as much as possible. It is important to build on the things that were successful and take them forward to make our school even better. We must do what is right for OUR school in OUR community (it may be different to the school down the road but that doesn’t mean different schools are doing things wrong). Things may need to change as we move through this year either in response to increased cases or to improve even further. Whatever happens we must follow our risk assessment and keep everyone safe. We have come a long way during the last 18 months and generally done really well so let’s continue this success! I know the routines below will not please everyone, I am trying to have the best of everything whilst keeping our pupils, staff and community as safe as possible. Please bear with us for the first few weeks. The measures below will be in line with guidance and our risk assessment.

From September 2021:

Do not send your child to school if they are unwell and / or have any symptoms of Coronavirus - isolate and get tested. Any adults with any symptoms of Coronavirus must not enter the premises, isolate and get tested.

1: We will start school on Thursday 2nd September 2021. Nursery start on a staggered intake and have been informed of their day to attend. This is usual practice. Some schools in Wales will be taking 2nd September 2021 for the Queens Jubilee, we will take this day later in the term and provide plenty of notice to parents. Children will go straight to their new classroom.

2: The Welsh Government has changed the law back to pre-Covid times, Our school must therefore start for everyone at 9am. Doors will open at 8.50am and give 10 minutes for pupils / parent’s time to “stagger” entry into school. Everyone will be expected to be in the school building by 9.00am (at the latest). If you arrive after 9.00am you will need to enter through the main entrance and receive a late mark. We will keep the one-way system in place to ease congestion and reduce contact as it is going to be very busy. We will need to see how this work, we may want to change times in the future but we will need to follow WG legislation to do this. The following measures are to ease congestion: Adults visiting the school must wear a face covering whilst on the premises. Spare face coverings will always be at the gate.

  • Nursery – walk to the main entrance and drop off at the Nursery gate. If you are early wait on the yard until called by staff.

  • Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 parents / children – walk down the school drive, across the Astro turf and down to the classroom door for drop off. Keep walking and if waiting on the yard please do not block walkways. Children will use cloakrooms for their belongings and will be supervised.

  • Year 3 and Year 6 parents / children – walk down the drive to the waiting area by the chalkboards, enter through the Junior door when called (Year 3 classrooms are in Mrs Jones and Mr Yamamoto old classrooms, Year 6 are in Miss Jones old classroom). Children will use lockers for their belongings.

  • Year 4/5T and Year 4/5J walk down the drive and drop off at the classroom fire doors (Mrs Jones is now in Mr Perry old classroom). Children will keep belongings with them so there will be no mixing in cloakrooms.

  • Year 4/5H walk down the school drive, across the Astro turf and down to the classroom door – Miss Hodges is now in the refurbished demountable classroom (Mr Lumby’s old classroom).

3: School will finish for everyone at 3.30pm (Nursery 11.30am). All adults are encouraged to wear a face covering when on school premises. To ease congestion please do the following:

  • Nursery (11.30am) – walk to front yard and wait there. Do not queue along the windows as children are working in classrooms.

  • Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 parents / children – walk down the school drive, across the Astro turf and down to the classroom door, wait in the queue outside the classroom door, please queue rather than spread out all over the yard. Depending on Welsh Government advice at the time, you may need to socially distance.

  • Year 4/5T, Year 4/5J and Year 4/5H walk down the drive and wait towards the back of the school. Miss Hodges children will come out of Mrs Jones classroom door.

  • Year 3 and Year 6 will exit through the Junior Door. Please wait in the allocated area by the chalkboards. Do not wait by the windows or on the pathway. You may need to socially distance depending on the advice from Welsh Government at the time.

  • If anyone other than yourself is collecting your child, you must contact the school and let us know.

4: School bus times will remain unchanged.

5: Breakfast Club will start week beginning 13th September 2021 at 8.10am, we will aim to keep children in “year groups” to support any TTP for at least the Autumn Term. Breakfast will be yoghurt and fruit for the moment. Children must be in Breakfast Club by 8.35am at the very latest. Children are not accepted after 8.35am. Drop off breakfast club at the hall door. Enter through the gate, walk past the main entrance and around to the hall door through the Foundation Phase yard. Leave the way you came in. Do not walk on the road as the road will be busy with staff traffic until 8.35am. Be respectful to others and maintain your distance.

6: Face coverings and social distancing, Face coverings must be worn by all visitors to the school site including parents for drop off and pick up. The one-way system will help reduce “contact” opportunities, please continue to maintain a distance from others. Whatever happens during the next few months we will aim to be flexible and respect those that wish to wear a covering and maintain a distance (including school staff) even if there is no requirement to do so.

7: One hand sanitising station will remain at the gates for parents and children to use. This is part of good hygiene. If we do need an extra station then we can arrange this.

8: To keep everyone safe during the colder winter months we will try to keep children in contact groups as much as possible but they will be larger e.g. All Year 3 as one contact group, all Year 4/5 classes as one contact group. We are hoping for the best of both worlds, children with friends but in contact groups too. The winter period may be tricky so we need to keep everybody as safe as possible and support TTP if we happen to have cases here at school.

9: For any events that may take place we will try to hold them on a “class” basis so we do not have a huge number of adults on site especially during the winter months. We may not be able to have adults on site so this will depend on the situation at the time. We must keep everyone safe. Some things may continue to be virtual but we will try and have a good mix. This means parents / families can be involved in events but we are living with the virus too. Parent evenings in early October will be virtual. Parents on site and mass gatherings will be in line with any risk assessment in place at the time.

10: We will still have staggered break times because this has worked well (fewer accidents, more play opportunities and happier children), it also keeps everyone safe and will help with TTP and any isolation that may be required. We will gradually move to our “old” break times during the year. Children will not be missing out, in fact they are gaining more time and gaining more space to play etc. We may want to remain with our new plan going forward. We are aiming not to mix contact groups.

11: If we have a confirmed case(s) we will need to follow Public Health Wales and Environmental Health guidance. This may only involve isolation of the individual and only very close contacts (advised by TTP). It may involve isolation of groups although as we are keeping larger contact groups it may not impact on the whole school and hopefully keep disruption to a minimum. It may not involve any isolation at all apart from the individual. All other children / adults may be able to attend school. We will follow advice at the time and keep you updated. Please continue to use our email address covid@abercarnprimary.org to report any cases. We will notify parents via text of any confirmed cases and the way forward.

12: Risk Assessment, Our Risk Assessment will be updated in conjunction with our Health and Safety Officer / Local Authority to reflect the measures we have in place to keep everyone safe.

13: Office, absence and online forms, Please continue to limit physical contact with the school office and remember only one person in the foyer at a time. Please use the online forms for absence, change of address, consents and holiday requests etc in the virtual office section of our school website. Please telephone or email the school as much as possible.

14: Cashless School, Regardless of Covid-19 we were going to be moving to be a cashless school. Our School will remain cashless and everything will be paid for online, dinners, trips, donations, fruit, snack etc Further information will follow. Dinners will continue as we are doing now with Upay. Please ensure accounts are topped up.

15: Uniform and PE / Games, We expect all children to wear our school uniform. The only exception is PE/Games days. We are still asking children to wear their PE / Games kit to school on their allocated days as this will reduce contact and congestion in cloakrooms. Our kit is plain T-shirt or polo shirt with plain shorts or tracksuits for cold days and plain trainers. Plain black shorts and a plain white t-shirt would be fantastic. Allocated days are:

  • Nursery – Mrs Lewis – Wednesday and Friday

  • Reception – Mrs James – Monday and Wednesday

  • Year 1 – Mrs Harry – Tuesday and Thursday

  • Year 2 – Mrs Parry – Monday and Friday

  • Year 3J and Year 3W – Miss Jones and Mr Watkin – Monday and Friday

  • Year 4/5T – Mrs Tavas – Tuesday and Wednesday

  • Year 4/5J – Mrs Jones – Monday and Friday

  • Year 4/5H – Miss Hodges – Tuesday and Thursday

  • Year 6 – Mr Perry – Wednesday and Thursday

In order to support PE / Games we will be looking to fund some kit in the Autumn term. More details will follow if we can do this. Please note we do not expect branded kit, plain t-shirts and shorts is acceptable and preferred.

16: Fruit, We will no longer be part funded to provide fruit to every child every day. For the first half term we will provide a fruit portion to children if they want it. We will confirm arrangements for fruit after October half term.

COVID-19 has not gone away and will always be with us. We may need to reintroduce some measures if things worsen throughout the year or alternatively, we may be able to relax restrictions even more. The above measures are a massive relaxation of rules and much more like usual routines.

Thank you in advance for your continued support! It is really appreciated.