14th July 2020
Coronavirus Advice for Parents and Carers
The NSPPC have some great advice and support for parents and carers about going back to school in September:
Do you have a question that you would like us to answer?
Please use the contact from at the bottom of this page.
Depending on your question, we may not respond individually. Instead, we will publish your question and its answer on this page. If your question is similar to another that has been submitted, we will merge our answer with other questions, where appropriate, to avoid duplication.
What is the purpose of this page?
As a result of the announcements by the government, we aim to provide our families with as much information as possible. To achieve this, we will publish some ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ regularly on this page, which we hope will answer many of your queries. In addition to this, parents are invited to send any specific questions that they wish to raise. These will be collated daily and we will publish responses that we feel will benefit all on the website.
Please use it for any questions related to school reopening and Covid-19 that you may have after the announcements of the return to full time school for all pupils. Please do not expect a personal response, as this may become unmanageable whilst also trying to put in place any necessary plans. However, we appreciate that many parents will have questions of a similar nature, where this is the case, we may need to cover a number of queries in one FAQ response. We will be able to respond to these questions then via our FAQs page to ensure you are all receiving the same information.
We have had some questions (but thank you for not bombarding us as we feel as much in need of clarity and more detail as I am sure you do). Please see below some questions that we have anticipated that we thought might be useful to share with you.
The Government strongly recommends that all children should return to school from September 1st.
1 Which year groups are returning to school?
It is the Government's plan that all pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full-time from the beginning of the Autumn Term.
2 Does my child have to attend?
School attendance will therefore be mandatory again from the beginning of the Autumn Term.
Pupils who are shielding or self-isolating
You should note however that a small number of pupils will still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves; or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19)
Shielding advice for all adults and children will pause on 1 August, subject to a continued decline in the rates of community transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). This means that even the small number of pupils who will remain on the shielded patient list can also return to school, as can those who have family members who are shielding.
3 I am worried that my child is vulnerable or that a family member is, should I send them back to school?
Please see the current advice on shielding:
“if rates of the disease rise in local areas, children (or family members) from that area, and that area only, will be advised to shield during the period where rates remain high and therefore they may be temporarily absent (see below).
Some pupils no longer required to shield but who generally remain under the care of a specialist health professional may need to discuss their care with their health professional before returning to school in September (usually at their next planned clinical appointment).
You can find more advice from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical and/or public health advice, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. Schools should monitor engagement with this activity
Pupils and families who are anxious about return to school
All other pupils must attend school. Schools should bear in mind the potential concerns of pupils, parents and households who may be reluctant or anxious about returning and put the right support in place to address this. This may include pupils who have themselves been shielding previously but have been advised that this is no longer necessary, those living in households where someone is clinically vulnerable, or those concerned about the comparatively increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds or who have certain conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
If parents of pupils with significant risk factors are concerned, we recommend schools discuss their concerns and provide reassurance of the measures they are putting in place to reduce the risk in school. Schools should be clear with parents that pupils of compulsory school age must be in school unless a statutory reason applies.
Action for all schools
We are asking schools and local authorities to:
4. How big will the classes be?
Classes will return to full numbers from September with Covid precautions in place across school.
Siblings will be in their own year group class.
5. Will the children always be 2 metres apart? Can you guarantee that my child will be 2 metres away from others at all times and that social distancing will be enforced?
“Ideally, adults should maintain 2 metre distance from each other, and from children.
Avoid close face to face contact and minimise time spent within 1 metre of anyone. It will not be possible when working with many pupils who have complex needs or who need close contact care. These pupils’ educational and care support should be provided as normal.
For children old enough, they should also be supported to maintain distance and not touch staff and their peers where possible. This will not be possible for the youngest children and some children with complex needs and it is not feasible in some schools where space does not allow. Schools doing this where they can, and even doing this some of the time, will help.
When staff or children cannot maintain distancing, particularly with younger children in primary schools, the risk can also be reduced by keeping pupils in the smaller, class-sized groups described above.
It may be necessary to make small adaptations to the classroom to support distancing where possible, including seating pupils side by side and facing forwards, rather than face to face or side on, and might include moving unnecessary furniture out of classrooms to make more space.”
5b Will my child be expected to share resources, such as pens and pencils?
Where possible, children will be given their own equipment, which they must not share with anyone else. They must not bring any equipment in from home. Any resources that are shared (e.g. school laptop) will be thoroughly disinfected after use.
Different groups don’t need to be allocated their own toilet blocks, but toilets will need to be cleaned regularly and pupils will be encouraged to clean their hands thoroughly after using the toilet.
6. What will the pupils be taught?
The guidance states:
The guidance also states:
“Teach an ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects from the start of the autumn term, but make use of existing flexibilities to create time to cover the most important missed content. Aim to return to the school’s normal curriculum in all subjects by summer term 2021. Plan on the basis of the educational needs of pupils
Develop remote education so that it is integrated into school curriculum planning
Relationships and health education (RHE) for primary aged pupil schools and relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) for secondary aged pupils becomes compulsory from September 2020, and schools are expected to start teaching by at least the start of the Summer Term 2021.”
Schools will provide a broad and ambitious curriculum. There will be a heightened focus on Maths and English in the first half term to support catch up in the key areas, but retaining a wider curriculum with support for pupils' mental health and wellbeing.
School will prioritise identifying gaps and re-establish good progress in the essentials (phonics and reading, increasing vocabulary, writing and maths). The schools will continue to teach a full range of subjects.
7. Will SATS return in years 2 and 6 this year?
The guidance states:
“We are, therefore, planning on the basis that statutory primary assessments will take place in summer 2021. The early years foundation stage profile, and all existing statutory key stage 1 and 2 assessments, should return in 2020 to 2021 in accordance with their usual timetables.”
8. Will everyone arrive at school at the same time causing an increase in risk?
School will have staggered starts and adjust start and finish times to keep groups apart as they arrive and leave school. Staggered start and finish times should not reduce the amount of overall teaching time.
The school will inform parents via letter, social media or website.
9. Will the school have assembly/acts of worship?
Little groups will have a reflection within their daily session, but there will be no mass gatherings or daily acts of worship as a school.
10 . Will staff and children wear masks or PPE?
The following measures will be taken as directed by government to protect the children with masks deemed unnecessary:
The guidelines state:
'Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended. Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained, for example on public transport or in some shops. This does not apply to schools or other education settings. Schools and other education or childcare settings should therefore not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings. Changing habits, cleaning and hygiene are effective measures in controlling the spread of the virus. Face coverings (or any form of medical mask unless instructed to be used for specific clinical reasons) should not be worn in any circumstance by those who may not be able to handle them as directed (for example, young children, or those with special educational needs or disabilities) as it may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission.'
Approaches we are asking schools and other settings to take include:
Staff will have PPE available if required for:
However, at the moment school`s thinking is that this is an staff member decision. If staff insist on wearing face masks we will not prohibit them from doing so, apart from when it becomes a danger to the child. Parents will need to exercise their own judgement as to whether they wear a mask when entering the school site.
11. Will my child need to wear school uniform?
Children will return to school in their normal school uniform. We would ask parents to wash uniform regularity to lower the risk of transmission of the virus.
12. Will the breakfast club and after school club be open?
The guidance states: “Schools should consider resuming any breakfast and after-school provision, where possible, from the start of the Autumn Term.
Both the approaches of separating groups and maintaining distance are not ‘all-or-nothing’ options, and will still bring benefits even if implemented partially. Some schools may keep children in their class groups for the majority of the classroom time, but also allow mixing into wider groups for specialist teaching, wraparound care and transport, or for boarding pupils in one group residentially and another during the school day.”
Schools will be running wraparound care as normal but observe enhanced hygiene regimes to avoid transmission of the virus.
13. Will we allow visitors and volunteers into school?
The guidance states: “Schools can continue to engage supply teachers and other supply staff during this period.
Supply staff and other temporary workers can move between schools, but school leaders will want to consider how to minimise the number of visitors to the school where possible.
Specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff for pupils with SEND should provide interventions as usual.
Consider how to manage other visitors to the site, such as contractors, and ensure site guidance on physical distancing and hygiene is explained to visitors on or before arrival.
Where visits can happen outside of school hours, they should.
A record should be kept of all visitors.”
The schools have an individual risk assessment for visitors and will expect them to follow the schools Covid standards.
14. Will extra-curricular clubs run (football club, dance club etc)?
These may return on a larger `bubble` form with phases being treated as a bubble. Some clubs for a phase such as Y5/6 will return in September. Schools will constantly review advice to maximise the clubs we are able to offer.
15. Will the school office be open?
The Office will remain closed. We encourage parents to contact school by email or telephone wherever possible.
16. Will children be confined to the same classroom environment most of the day?
Government advice on the Scientific evidence shows that the outdoor environment is much more manageable in terms of virus transmission. Where possible the outdoor environment will be used e.g. for PE, staggered breaks and other play areas.
17. Will you continue to provide online home learning activities?
Where a class, group or small number of pupils need to self-isolate or a local lockdown requires pupils to stay at home, we will have a plan in place to provide remote education.
18 How will lunch time work to ensure children are safe?
The schools will run a staggered lunchtime to maintain as much spacing as is possible in the hall. Lunches will return as the government has requested “schools are expected to reopen their kitchens and ensure that meals are able to be prepared and served safely”. Free School Meal children will continue to receive meals including Universal Free School Meals for Reception and KS1 children. Where possible, children should have a school lunch as this is the easiest for them to have in school.
19. What powers do schools actually have to enforce social distancing with parents and those who won't adhere to it?
Schools have no power under the law to enforce social distancing with parents other than to make that request. The school would have to contact the police where particular issues arose.
20. Will children and young people be eligible for testing?
The government advice is:
Schools must ensure they understand the NHS Test and Trace process and how to contact their local Public Health England health protection team. Schools must ensure that staff members and parents/carers understand that they will need to be ready and willing to:
Anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can and should get a test. Tests can be booked online through the NHS testing and tracing for coronavirus website, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the internet. Essential workers, which includes anyone involved in education or childcare, have priority access to testing.
The government will ensure that it is as easy as possible to get a test through a wide range of routes that are locally accessible, fast and convenient. We will release more details on new testing avenues as and when they become available and will work with schools so they understand what the quickest and easiest way is to get a test.
By the Autumn Term, all schools will be provided with a small number of home testing kits that they can give directly to parents/carers collecting a child who has developed symptoms at school, or staff who have developed symptoms at school, where they think providing one will significantly increase the likelihood of them getting tested. Advice will be provided alongside these kits.”
“Schools should not request evidence of negative test results or other medical evidence before admitting children or welcoming them back after a period of self-isolation.”
21. Will teachers and other staff be able to get tested if they have symptoms?
Access to testing via: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/
22. What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in a setting?
“Schools must take swift action when they become aware that someone who has attended has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). Schools should contact the local health protection team. This team will also contact schools directly if they become aware that someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) attended the school – as identified by NHS Test and Trace.”
23. How do I explain social distancing to my child?
Be open and honest, using language they will understand. Explain that they are helping others by their actions. Use drawings if needed and use a positive tone. Try to make the children feel safe.
For younger children, you and your child can find out how the Gruffalo handles social distancing at www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/52153696.
24. Will the school take my child’s temperature every day?
No, but we may use a non-invasive thermometer which points to the forehead if we suspect a child of having symptoms.
25. What if another child ‘coughs’ deliberately in someone else’s face?
School will take this very seriously and it will be classed as an assault. We will explain to the child the dangers and consequences of these actions. Parents will be telephoned and may have to come and collect their child resulting in a fixed term exclusion.
26. Will there be any swimming lessons or trips once school opens on September 1st?
School will review the advice weekly to decide on trips, swimming and residentials.
27. How can I speak to the class teacher if we are socially distancing?
You can contact your child’s class teacher by emailing them. If you are unable to do this, you can email the office via email@example.com who will then pass the message on.
Class email addresses are: staff followed by the class name @ mountpleasantsbmat.com
Parents of pupils in Nursery and Reception can contact teachers via Tapestry also.
28. What should my child bring to school each day?
Your child should bring their book bag and lunch if required. PE kits can stay in school all week and must be washed at the weekend.
29. Will there be parents evening in the autumn?
There is no specific guidance as yet but general guidance is
Guidance advising “avoid large gatherings” would suggest it would not be appropriate to plan for these at present.
We will review the guidance regularly and inform parents in the event that this changes.
30 Where can I find more information about returning to school?
Information for parents can be found here:
There will be a lot of communication over the next week or so but if you have read all the information above and you still have an unanswered question, please use this form to ask us.