June 29th 2020 School Reopening – FAQ
Castell Alun is due to reopen on Monday 29th June 2020. In order to open safely, Welsh Government Guidance states that every school should operate at a maximum of one third capacity. In addition to this, the number of students attending on any day should allow for social distancing measures to be applied in order to maintain health and safety regulations.
This FAQ sheet is intended to provide information to parents and guardians to make an informed decision about sending their child back to Castell Alun. Parents and guardians have the choice to send their child to school or not but they should inform us either way so we can plan effectively for reopening. Parents should not send their child to school if any member of their household is experiencing Covid-19 symptoms (feeling unwell / have any of the three identified COVID-19 symptoms: a new continuous cough; a high temperature; loss of taste or smell) or they have tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days. If you or any member of your household have received a shielding letter, your child must not attend school. If you or any member your household is pregnant, please seek medical advice before deciding whether to send your child to school.
We understand that you have concerns; here are some questions and answers to alleviate some of these. I hope you find them useful.
Will my child be safe at school?
This is a perfectly reasonable question under these difficult circumstances. We have produced risk assessments and made adaptations to the building. It is essential that students always follow instructions and signage to keep themselves and others safe. Hand Sanitiser will be readily available and scheduled trips to bathroom facilities for hand washing will be planned for all ‘bubbles’ of students. More detail is available in our School Reopening Parent / Carer Guide, which has been sent to all and is available on our website also. Please reiterate these guidelines to your child before attending.
Will the school be clean?
Our team of cleaners have worked throughout the school closure period and the whole school has been deep cleaned in preparation for reopening. Cleaners will be on site each day. When pupils leave, each room will be cleaned thoroughly. A deep clean will occur on a Monday each week.
How often will my child attend school?
All students in Years 7-10 and 12 will be invited to return to school for two morning sessions.
These sessions will take place during the three week period beginning on Monday 29th June. Students in Years 7 and 8 will be in school on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Students in Years 9, 10 and 12 will be in school on Wednesdays and Fridays.
The specific dates of the individual sessions will be posted to your home address by Tuesday 23rd June.
Parents / Carers who do not intend on taking up the allocated slot should email Mrs Carol Jones here.
How many students will there be in a class?
The number of students in a class will vary based on its size. Numbers will be between 5-8 students.
Will my child be in a class with their friends?
Your child’s Head of Year and Group Tutor will try their best to keep friendship groups together, but this will not always be possible. Students must remember to maintain social distance despite their happiness in seeing their friends for the first time in a long while. Please can you reiterate this to your child.
How will classrooms be set out?
We have taken advice to calculate the maximum number of students a class can hold according to Welsh Government guidance. Furniture has been removed from some classrooms. All windows will be open.
How will the school day be structured?
Each student will remain in the same classroom for the entire morning with designated Group Tutors. Each class group will have breaks together and will be kept separate from other groups.
How will morning breaks be organised?
Morning break will be staggered to reduce contact between large numbers of students. Extra staff will be on duty, but it is essential that students observe social distancing measures during these times. There will be separate designated areas for breaks.
What sort of work will be done in class?
The Minister of Education has stated that the purpose of the reopening of schools in Wales is to “Check in, catch up prepare for summer and September”. It will not be possible to run formal lessons when school reopens. Our initial focus will be in essence every student’s wellbeing and looking at the best ways to move forward based upon the feedback we receive.
What changes have been made to the school building?
Following specialist advice, there is a one-way system for all staff and students to use. There are specific entrances and exits that must be used. Please discuss the importance of following all the changes with your child before they return. There will be clear signage to follow. Please again refer to our School Reopening Parents / Carers Guide.
Do the students need to wear uniform?
Yes. We will however, of course be mindful of the fact that some students may struggle with elements of this for a variety of good reasons.
What should students bring with them to schools?
Students should bring a coat and basic pencil case to school and nothing else e.g. No footballs, bags etc.
I have decided not to send my child to school. Will they be doing the same work at home as those in school?
We will focus on 3 hour per student input on wellbeing activities in the face to face environment. Work which will continue to be set as part of our Continuation of Learning Plan will be more subject based, although pastoral input will be provided as has been the case over recent weeks.
If I do decide to send my child to school. What will they be doing?
To maintain a pastoral overview our sessions with all students in Years 7-10 will focus upon the following:-
· to assist further with matters of wellbeing
· to help students to prepare as best we can for their continued education in the coming months
· to glean some useful information from students about the kind of blended learning which helps them work from home most effectively in order to inform our continued curriculum planning
For students in Year 12 however we hope to be able to provide other useful information, for example about the year ahead and tertiary education.
I am a key worker and I would like my child to attend for more than one day a week.
We will remain open all day to care for the children of key workers. Parents must however, notify school of their requirements well in advance.
How long will the school day last?
To maintain the health and safety of staff and students, students will have to arrive using a staggered approach.
If travelling by school bus, students will be directed to enter the sports hall as soon as they are asked to get off the bus by a member of staff.
If travelling by car, there will be designated drop off areas. Cars will drive into the front car park where they will be met by members of staff and students will be directed to a sign in desk in the sports hall.
If walking to school, students must adhere to social distancing measures.
We will confirm all travel arrangements as soon as possible. Once students have arrived on the site, they will need to go straight to the designated area. Please again refer to our School Reopening Parents / Carers Guide.
The school day will finish at approximately 12:00pm, although release times will vary slightly due to social distance requirements.
Are school buses running?
Flintshire County Council are currently planning school transport routes, but Welsh Government guidance encourages parents to bring their children to school themselves. Only students who have accessed school transport in the past will be eligible for the rest of the term.
My child gets a taxi to school. Will it still be running?
We await confirmation of the from Flintshire LA. However, only students who have accessed school transport in the past will be eligible for the rest of term.
I have more than one child in the school. Can they come in on the same day?
This may well not be possible.
If my child falls ill during the day, what will happen to them?
If your child is unwell, DO NOT send them to school. If your child becomes ill during the day they will be sent to the school hall. A qualified first aider will attend to them, but this member of staff will be wearing PPE. Please discuss this with your child. The school will then contact you to collect your child, even if they travel on the school bus.
Who can wear PPE? Who will be wearing PPE?
We will respect parental choice for a pupil to wear PPE. Some staff may choose to wear PPE –see Welsh Government guidelines.
Will the school canteen be open at break time?
No, although a snack will be provided for all students during the morning.
A member of my family is shielding, can I send my child to school?
Please see advice from Public Heath Wales/England
A member of my family is pregnant, can I send my child to school?
Please see advice from Public Heath Wales/England
We have a family holiday booked for July 17th onwards, can we still go?
Yes, if you can go away as a family for a holiday you should go!
Will there be schoolwork set over the summer holidays?
No. It is important that everyone -students, parents and staff alike-take some time to rest and recharge.
Can I send my child to school without notifying them?
No. Parents must inform school if their circumstances change. Class sizes are calculated beforehand therefore we must know 2 days in advance if you want your child to attend or not. Please telephone the school to inform us. As a parent or guardian, you have the right to choose to send your child to school or not.
My child is in Year 10 and I am concerned they have missed too much of the GCSE content. What is going to happen?
We understand your concerns. Welsh Government and WJEC/Qualifications Wales are in discussion. More information will follow. Please ensure that work is completed. Students will be given support over the 4 weeks to catch up / discuss.
What about student behaviour?
This could be a difficult experience for some students who may be anxious about returning to school. Students are expected to follow the rules for their own safety and wellbeing, and everyone else in the building. If your child cannot adhere to these rules, a member of the Senior Management Team will contact you as parents.
THE SAFETY OF ALL STUDENTS AND STAFF IS PARAMOUNT.
Will there be external agencies provision at school?
We have had no confirmation from Flintshire Services that sessions will resume before the end of the academic year within the school.
My child has peripatetic music lessons during school hours. Will these continue?
We have not had confirmation from Flintshire Music Service if lessons will resume before the end of the academic year.
What are the new term dates?
School will open on Monday 29th June 2020 and close on Friday 24thJuly 2020.
The half term holiday in the Autumn Term will last a fortnight although we have no confirmed date yet.
How will I know what is planned for September 2020?
Please make sure that school has your email address as this is our preferred method of communication. Key messages are also posted on the school website. During term time the school Blog is also a very useful source of information. We hope to keep you updated at appropriate times during the summer holiday.
Thank you all for your co-operation and understanding.