It was wonderful to have our children back to school at the beginning of the new term and see so many smiling faces. We were particularly impressed with the positive attitude of pupils who were so ready to re-start, or start, their school.
However, we have concerns at the high number of parents on site at some of our schools at drop off and pick up times. In some locations this has meant it has been impossible to maintain appropriate social distancing, which is required to lessen the risk of transmission of infection.
While the government’s new ‘rule of six’ law, restricting social gatherings, does not apply to schools or workplaces, nevertheless it has been introduced as cases of Covid-19 have started to rise significantly. Therefore, as a safety measure and to play our part in helping to reduce any transmission of the virus, at some of our schools we are asking parents and carers to wear face coverings as soon as they come on to the school site. It will be permissible not to wear face coverings if there are valid reasons not to. There is no requirement for any of our pupils to wear face coverings at any time, other than at our secondary school in certain circumstances.
Some of our schools have also observed parents and carers entering the school site at a far earlier time than they need to be there. We must avoid unnecessarily large gatherings. At all our sites, can parents and carers please not arrive at school earlier than is required. In the event of queueing, parents and carers should leave a clear two metres distance between the person in front of them.
Once children have been dropped off or collected, we respectfully request parents and carers to please leave school premises immediately.
These remain difficult times for everyone and we hope parents and carers will understand the reasoning behind the changes we are imposing at some of our schools. All our staff continue to do their best for the children and it remains very important we all pull together to remain safe.
The first half term will be all about reconnecting children with their schools and the return to a more structured education environment. Every child has missed learning and missed their friends and we want to reassure parents and carers that both pastoral and academic considerations will be of utmost importance.
We are implementing a system of controls to prevent the transmission of infection alongside the need to provide a broad and ambitious curriculum.
Government guidance also recommends what we have been steadily working on anyway, in terms of bolstering the use of IT and remote learning. Therefore should a child not be in school, for whatever reason, remote learning will help bridge the gap. Much effort is being put into ways this can be effected quickly, as necessary.
Parents and carers always have a key role to play in working collaboratively alongside their school and developing these relationships is increasingly important at this time. We want to work with families to alleviate any concerns and provide reassurance where we can. A love of learning is an attitude of mind we really want to instil into children and young people, which will serve them well throughout their lives.
You can also help your school community by not sending your child to school if they, or any members of your household, are showing any symptoms of Covid-19.
We are aware this continues to be a very challenging time for many people. Regrettably, despite our best efforts, we know this remains a period of hardship for some and so please do speak with us to see if there are ways we can help you to allay your concerns.
We have updated our reference guide to the overarching principles Ebor Academy Trust is following to ensure risks are minimised to allow for a full return to school for all pupils. It is based on government guidance amended during the summer break. Read it here.
You can read the full government guidance here.