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Bishops Waltham Infant School

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Importance Notice-current situation regarding school start of term

Dear Parents and Carers,


I hope you have had a restful and enjoyable Christmas, however your plans turned out in the end. As I am writing this, there is much speculation in the press and on social media about schools reopening for primary aged children. I wanted to touch base with you, to let you know the information I have to date.


Currently, primaries in Hampshire are to remain open, and we are planning to reopen our doors to all pupils on Tuesday 5th January, with Monday being a planned INSET day. I understand that there will be a mixture of reactions from parents to this from relief to anxiety. There is also the ever increasing anxiety about the rapid rise in cases across the south-east and further last minute changes imposed on us from the government. This real anxiety is also felt amongst school staff as well as concerned parents.


As yet, there has been no additional guidance provided regarding additional risk assessment measures that are required in primary schools. As you know, we already had in place all the measures required to minimise the risks for staff and for pupils, and have reviewed these regularly throughout the term, and will continue to do so. We have added to our risk asessment the need for all adults picking up and dropping off children to now wear a mask, as communicated to you on Thursday 31st December. Some staff members have also expressed that they would like to wear a mask/visor, and you may see more staff doing this. We will continue to monitor the information provided by the DfE, along with any local authority guidance.


We will endeavour to provide you with as much notice as possible of any potential changes which will affect children or parents, although I’m sure you will appreciate that in the current situation, last minute decisions may be out of our hands.


We were very fortunate to have no bubble closures in the Autumn term, and I thank you in your continued support to help with this. However, regardless of how careful we are in following the guidance, we understand that the new strain of virus is impacting on the rate of transmission, and I am now hearing of many more positive cases amongst friends, our school families and colleagues. Realistically, it is more likely that we will be impacted on this term.


In light of the additional mixing which may have occurred on Christmas day, it is more vital than ever that I ask all families to ensure that you follow the government guidance regarding potential Covid cases this term:


• If your child, or anyone in the household, has Covid symptoms, the whole family should self-isolate until the symptomatic person has had a negative test result. Please fill in our COVID track and trace form for any household positive cases. We will continue to use this form as our record in the coming months. Emails often get lost from private mail boxes and the form will give us a way of collating all the information we will need when filling in our daily DFE return, without the need to bother you or your family during your period of illness.


• If your child has been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for Covid, please ensure that they follow the self-isolation period as required by track and trace.


In order to minimise risk of transmission in our community at drop-off and pick-up times, I would like to remind you of the following:


  • Please adhere to the start and finish times for your child’s class Year Group when dropping-off and picking up (available on ‘Latest News’ and ‘Parent Information’ on our website. There is a 10 minute window for dropping off and picking up, and I urge you to consider spending less time queueing and try to arrive within the 10 minute window instead. This is especially important if relying on more vulnerable family members to help with childcare.
  • We ask that only one adult accompanies the children onto site. If dropping off children for a friend, those children will become part of your family drop off. Group. If dropping off two or more children, please can the same family member do this, not swap family members outside.
  • Drop off/Pick up need to be at 2m from the door. We will still be unable to have discussions with you at the door about your child, no matter how small, and instead ask that you use the Year Group email to contact us/let us know information or telephone the school office, where we will take a message and inform the teacher.
  • Drop off and pick up should be as brief as possible and we will expect parents to help us with this. We ask that the exit ramp be kept clear at all times and parents do not congregate around the bottom, making it difficult for parents to walk past when socially distancing.
  • When dropping off or picking up, please observe social distancing with the other waiting adults. Children should be kept close at all times, to enable all family groups to socially distance.


Please wear face coverings when dropping off/collecting pupils on the school grounds.


Letting children from different bubbles mix and run around in the park after school could impact our whole school and close more than one bubble down. Please take care if letting your child play in playparks, regarding mixing with children not in our school/in your child’s bubble.


You can also help by getting your child back in to good hand hygiene habits which may have become less stringent over the holiday if they have been mainly at home. Please also take some time to remind them of the importance of social distancing, particularly when playing. The children will have had limited opportunities for interactions with one another over the Christmas break and therefore may find social distancing even more difficult when they return to school. The teachers will take some time on Tuesday to remind them of expectations.


Provided there are no changes, we look forward to seeing your children on Tuesday, but I will be in touch as soon as possible if there are any further developments. I will alert you to any emails sent, with an app message as well.  We will be open on Monday for any parent queries, so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need to let us know anything or would like a question answered.


Kind regards


Ginene Riches


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