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Ysgol Ty Coch School

Dysgu Gyda'n Gilydd

Coronavirus

Coronavirus (COVID-19) -12.02.12

We have been working hard to plan our provision after half term (w/c 22.02.21). This plan is informed by Welsh Government's updated operational guidance. This document can be found via- https://gov.wales/operational-guidance-schools-and-settings-support-limited-attendance-html

In summary, WG guidance clearly states that after half term, primary schools and special schools will provide onsite education provision for:

  • learners in the foundation phase (ages 3 – 7)
  • vulnerable learners
  • critical worker’s children – defined as those employed in Health and social care, public safety and national security, education and childcare, food and other necessary goods workers

The document also states that schools should ‘proceed cautiously to ensure rates of COVID-19 do not start growing exponentially again, as set out in the TAG briefing note’.  In line with this document, we have reviewed our risk assessment with the staff, Governing Body and members of a multi-disciplinary team including Health and Children’s Services colleagues and formulated the following plan to safely begin to re-admit children to the school.

Risk Assessment and Capacity

Over the past 6 weeks, we have supported approx. 40% of learners with some provision in school. This has been capped to 20% on any given day.

During the last 10 days or so, every member of staff (who is able to) has received their first dose of the vaccine. This needs 3 weeks to be most effective. We have also established excellent twice weekly, lateral flow testing for staff. When these significant developments are added to other well established elements of our risk assessment, we consider it reasonable to increase capacity to 60% on any one day. This means allowing approx. 107 pupils in total per day over the 2 sites of the school.

The challenge we’re facing in terms of equity is probably best illustrated as follows: In respect of the pupils that Welsh Government say we now must have in school, there are:

  • 28 pupils in the foundation phase
  • 32 pupils who are deemed highly vulnerable, or whose parents are critical workers
  • This leaves 47 additional places per day to be allocated for returning pupils

During our recent wellbeing calls, 155 (87%) of families indicated they would be requesting a place in school after half term. As you can see, this is way above the capacity we have after following the Welsh Government directive.

In trying to be as fair as possible in allocating the remaining places, and taking account of feedback from parents, pupils will be organized into 2 groups with each group given a weekly block of time in school followed by a week learning at home. This pattern will repeat until Easter.

Therefore, our plan to ensure compliance with the directive:

  • Week1 - Commencing 22.02.21 – we will continue to operate as we are now. This will ensure the vaccine given to staff achieves the maximum efficacy for a first dose. It will also ensure the school is fully equipped for the following weeks
  • Week 2 and 4 - 01.03.21 & 15.03.21 - places will be allocated to:
    • all foundation phase learners
    • all learners f critical workers – please inform us ASAP if you don’t need the provision so that we are able to give the place to another family
    • all those deemed highly vulnerable
    • 47 additional pupils will be offered a block of 1 week in school in their familiar class = Group 1
  • Week 3 and 5 – 08.03.21 & 22.03.21 -  places will be allocated to:
    • all foundation phase learners
    • all learners f critical workers - please inform us ASAP if you don’t need the provision so that we are able to give the place to another family
    • all those deemed highly vulnerable
    • 47 additional pupils will be offered a block of 1 week in school in their familiar class = Group 2

We will reschedule the 2 x INSET days on 25.03.21 and 26.03.21 in order to prioritise time for pupils in school.

I have to inform you that these plans are heavily subject to change as a number of factors are outside our control  e.g. staffing, Welsh Government announcements, positive cases, community case rates etc…

We realise this approach may fall short of your expectations. However, given the challenges we face in having to comply with the Welsh Government’s directive, we feel this is by far the fairest and safest way which will help us keep contact groups small and limit contact between them. We also feel this is the safest approach from a transport perspective. In addition, we believe that weekly blocks of time rather than one or two days throughout the week gives the most continuity for pupils. Many parents have requested this approach during wellbeing calls.

If you have informed us that you won’t be sending your child back at this time but then change your mind, please contact us anytime by informing the class teacher or emailing juliarender@ysgoltycoch.co.uk

If you desperately need your child to attend school for time outside your ‘block’, please inform us ASAP and we’ll do whatever we can to safely help.

Outside of school, it will be important that children and their families continue to stay at home as much as possible, engage in essential travel only and limit their contact with others. This is to ensure our entire school community remains as safe as possible as we increase the number of pupils in school.

My very best wishes to you all and thank you once again for your understanding and support.

General Reminder:

  • Please do not send your child to school if they are unwell. 
  • Your child must not come to school if they or anyone in their extended household has any Covid symptoms. 
  • They must not come to school if they, or any member of their extended household, are waiting for test results. 
  • If your child or any member of the extended household is going for a test or receives a positive result, please email testing@ysgoltycoch.co.uk 

Prevention

  • Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have COVID-19 symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school.  
  • Minimise contact between individuals wherever possible.  For younger learners the emphasis will be on separating groups, and for older learners it will be on physical distancing where possible.  
  • Clean hands thoroughly more often than usual, ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach and promote effective ventilation.
  • Continue enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents and bleach.  
  • Where necessary, in specific circumstances, wear appropriate PPE.
  • Wear face coverings (staff and pupils aged 11 and over who are able to, in communal areas etc.). 

 Reactive Approaches  

  • Engage with the Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) strategy.  
  • Manage confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the school community and contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice.
  • The school will communicate directly with the school community in the event of a positive case within our school. This level of communication will quite rightly be differentiated depending on the closeness of the contact.
  • As always, please do not publicise information on social media as this can easily be misinterpreted and cause un-intended anxiety. Any concerns or questions should be directed straight to the Headteacher or member of the Leadership Team

It is absolutely vital that school and home continue to work and communicate closely. A reminder of our communication strategy is as follows.

  • Physical Letters – I will write to parents as often as needed and will print and send letters home with pupils
  • Parentmail Email – In addition, I will ensure copies of letters and important information is emailed to parents via our Parentmail service. If you haven’t been receiving letters recently, it is likely there is a problem. Please contact Louise Langley who will sort this out for you
  • Parentmail Texts – Short messages will be communicated by our parentmail texting service
  • SeeSaw – Teachers will be communicating with you via SeeSaw. This is a great way to keep in touch directly with them and a brilliant way to see what your child has been up to in school. In the event of your child having to self-isolate, teachers will be setting work using SeeSaw. If you haven’t got this set up yet, please contact the teacher
  • Twitter – we use Twitter to give general school updates and links to useful information
  • Website – The school website is an effective place to find general school information e.g. Policies etc…Our COVID-19 Risk assessment is also updated on the website for you all to see. www.ysgoltycoch.co.uk
  • Telephone – we will of course also be available by telephone during the school day and until 4pm in the evening.

 

Very best wishes

Dave Jenkins

Headteacher, Ysgol Ty Coch