The Department for Education has made clear that all students must return to school in September:
It is vital that children and young people return to school and college, for their educational progress, for their wellbeing, and for their wider development. School attendance will be mandatory from the beginning of the new academic year. This means that it is your legal duty as a parent to send your child to school regularly. (Department for Education, August 2020)
The academy is committed to ensuring the safe return of all students in September and is fully compliant with all guidance relating to this. Please find below the details of some of measures that we will be taking to ensure a ‘Covid secure’ environment.
- Staff and students will receive a comprehensive induction about procedures and expectations. The start of term is being staggered in order to facilitate this.
- Students will be placed into year group ‘bubbles’ and will have no more than transitory, passing contact with students from other year groups. Each year group will be taught in designated year group zones for the majority of lessons.
- The arrival and dismissal of students will be staggered. Upon arrival at school, students will line up in the playground in their tutor groups and be escorted into the building by their teachers.
- Breaktime and lunchtime will be staggered. Each year group will have an allocated zone in the playground. There will be no canteen service at break time. At lunchtime, students will be rotated through the canteen in their year groups and will be directed where to sit by a member of staff.
- Students will have regular opportunities throughout the day to wash and/or sanitise their hands. Hand sanitiser will be available throughout the building.
- An enhanced cleaning schedule will be in place to ensure that canteen tables, toilets, classrooms and subject specialist equipment are cleaned between use by different year groups.
- Students and staff are not required to wear face coverings in school. However, students and staff may wear face masks in corridors and communal areas, if it they wish to. If worn, face masks must be worn properly, covering both the mouth and nose. Face masks must be removed by students and teachers in classrooms, as they have negative effects on communication and thus education. Face coverings are required at all times on public transport. Upon arrival at the academy, students will be able to remove their face mask, dispose of it in a bin and sanitise their hands. This guidance will be kept under review and we will be updated in line with any government policy announcements.
Pupils, staff and other adults must not come into the school if they have coronavirus symptoms, or have tested positive in at least the last 10 days. Coronavirus symptoms include:
- a new and persistent cough
- a high temperature,
- a loss of, or change in, the normal sense of taste or smell
Anyone that develops these symptoms during the school day will be sent home and will be advised to self-isolate for at least 10 days and to arrange a test to see if they have coronavirus. All other members of the academy community can continue to attend school as normal, unless they have come into ‘close contact’ with a confirmed case (i.e. somebody who has tested positive), or unless they develop symptoms themselves.
Travelling to and from school
We encourage as many students as possible to walk to school. Not only is this good for one’s health, it also frees up space on public transport for other people who need it. Bicycle racks are available for students who choose to cycle in. These students must also bring a bicycle lock. If students have no choice other than to use public transport, we recommend that they allow plenty of time for their journey, as buses and trains are likely to be very busy, some may not stop and some may be severely delayed. Face coverings must be worn on public transport.