COVID-19

Daily Life with COVID restrictions

At St. Michael’s we have aimed to achieve a normal timetable so our children’s learning experience continues to be rich and rewarding but whilst ensuring we stagger pupil movement around the site to minimise staff-pupil contact.

Here is how we are managing these new restrictions:

 

To further limit the flow of people onto the site, we will continue to release children to parents from the exits as detailed below and will not be able to welcome parents into assemblies or operate the Second Hand Uniform Shop in the usual manner until we are guided that this is safe to do so.

Drop-off and collection times

These have been staggered with a different entrance and exit at collection time to maintain our one way system.

Nursery Nursery door 8.30 am or 1pm Nursery door 1pm or 3.30pm

Reception Nursery back gate 8.15 am – 8.30 am Nursery back gate 3.30 pm

Year 1 Nursery back gate 8.15 am – 8.30 am Front door 3.35 pm

Year 2 Nursery back gate 8.15 am – 8.30 am Chapel door 3.35 pm

Year 3 Main black gate 8.15 am – 8.30 am Nursery door 3.45 pm

Year 4 Main black gate 8.15 am – 8.30 am Main front door 3.45 pm

Year 5 Main black gate 8.15 am – 8.30 am Chapel door 3.45 pm

Year 6 Main black gate 8.15 am – 8.30 am Main black gate 3.45 pm

Before & After School Care

Nursery door from 7.30 am and from 3.55 – 5pm

Markings will be placed on the paths to assist with a one-way system during collection and drop-off. NB: These may become slippery when wet.

School Office Access

To facilitate Years 1 and 4 being dismissed from the front door, the School Office will be closed to visitors and parents between 3.25 pm and 4.00 pm each day but open for telephone calls and emails.

Uniform 

As long as it is part of the uniform except ties, children may wear either Summer or Winter uniform until half term. Please rotate uniform regularly. When your child has afternoon PE/Games sessions (Year 2-6) they should come to school in their kit to save changing. Hats, blazers and duffle coats are not to be worn to School and reversible fleeces should be worn only when the weather is inclement or turns colder.

Lunchboxes/ Equipment 

Children are allowed to bring their lunches in a wipeable or dishwasher safe lunchbox. Pupils should also have a named water bottle with them as the water fountains have been switched off. Personal earphones/headphones and pencil cases should also be brought to School in a named ziplock bag (or equivalent) and left at School for all pupils; Nursery to Year 6. Children can now also use their school bags and rucksacks instead of plastic bags.

Health Declaration 

We will require ALL parents to complete an online Health Declaration form (found here) for their child/children to confirm they are symptom-free before returning to School; this must be completed for each pupil by Monday, 7th September.

Extra Subjects: Music Lessons & Clubs

These will NOT take place until after half term at the very earliest. Further information will be sent out in the Michaelmas term.

Parent’s Evening 

At the start of the year, these will be a Google Meet video session for all parents in each year group together. The ethos of these meetings right at the start of term is purely for you to be able to ‘Meet the Teacher’ and for you to find out the ‘housekeeping’ issues, together with curriculum details. This will not be an opportunity for individual feedback.

Emailing Teachers 

Direct email access will be continued as a trial for the term. As teaching the children in the classroom is their priority, Teachers will answer emails within a reasonable timespan and between the hours of 8.30 am – 5.00 pm when they are able. I would respectfully ask you not to email teachers at weekends or in the holidays. Urgent messages should still go through the School Office.

Outdoor Education

The extensive programme which is run for all Prep children will continue as before except it will not be at Asheldham, but instead Othona, Southminster.

Cleaning & Hygiene 

  • Handwashing and Alcohol gels/foams are readily available in each room and learning environment.
  • Children are encouraged to ‘sing’ the Happy Birthday song in their heads whilst washing their hands.
  • Surfaces that children are touching such as toys, books, desks, chairs, doors, sinks, toilets, light switches, bannisters, are cleaned more regularly than normal
  • Staff will be available to help pupils who have trouble cleaning their hands independently.
  • Peddle bins have been provided for tissues that will be double bagged and disposed of daily.
  • Where possible, all classrooms are well ventilated using natural ventilation. Air conditioning units and fans are avoided due to the re-circulation of air.
  • Doors are propped open where safe to do so (bearing in mind safety and safeguarding) to limit the use of door handles and ventilation.

Staff & Pupil Hygiene 

It is important that staff and pupils keep high levels of personal hygiene to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading. The two main forms of Hygiene in this are:

  • Respiratory Hygiene: Ensuring all sneezes, coughs or blows of the nose are caught in tissues that are disposed of immediately and hands washed after. Follow the Governments ‘Catch It, Bin It Kill It’ initiative. Staff are to display posters as part of their classroom displays.
  • Hand Hygiene: Wet hands with water; apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces; rub the soap in liberally to form a thick lather (bubbles) all over the hand, including between fingers and thumbs, wrists and nails; this should be done for a least 20 seconds; hands should then be rinsed with water and dried using the hand dryer and disposable paper towels. Hands should not be left wet as wet hands can spread bacteria 1,000 times more than dry hands.

Illness

Unfortunately, we will not be able to accept any children into school who are ill, regardless of the severity of the symptoms. This is fundamental in protecting staff as we will not be able to bring in supply staff to cover if a staff member goes off sick due to current restrictions. Allergies, such as hay fever, are the only exception to this rule.

We thank you for your understanding. If your child is unwell and will not be able to attend School, please report this by 9.30 am that day either by telephone, by emailing office@stmichaelsschool.com or by using the ‘Absence Reporting’ feature in EduLink One.

Children Who Do Not Return 

Unless there is good reason, absent children will have their absence marked as unauthorised. Continued unauthorised absence will trigger our usual procedure for Children Missing In Education. Online education will not continue as it has done unless we return to a lockdown scenario.

Recent developments 

Assemblies are taking place after lunch in order to give more academic time in the morning. We will stream them from the Chapel so that the children can see them from their own classrooms. Should parents wish to, they will be able to see a recording. When we host class assemblies on a Friday, parents will be able to log on to view live remotely.

Music – will have a new home when the School building works will commence in the Michaelmas half-term holidays

Google Classroom – will continue to be used for homework where appropriate to support the learning that takes place in School.

Hot lunches

In anticipation of our provision of hot lunches by Harrison Catering Services for all children from January 2021, extensive renovation works in the kitchen and storeroom will commence in the Michaelmas half-term in readiness for the new equipment being installed before December.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

  • How will you maintain social distancing?

The Government guidelines state that unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2m apart from each other and staff. Parents should be aware that we cannot guarantee social distancing at all times, however, there is a framework of strategies to reduce contact for our younger pupils, and central to our approach is the ‘bubble’ model.

  • The ‘bubble’ model is the contact reducing method recommended by the Government. A ‘bubble’ will not be able to mix with other ‘bubbles’, or with other staff members
  • Each bubble will be assigned designated members of staff and area to learn.
  • Other measures to aid social distancing will include:
  • Markings to indicate safe distances and pathways, helping children move safely through the school when required.
  • Staggered drop off and pick up times to minimise parents’ contact with other adults and to help protect pupils and staff.

 

  • Will hygiene measures be increased?

We have introduced several additional measures to increase hygiene for children, staff and the spaces they occupy. These include:-

  • Stringent hand washing and use of hand sanitiser for all children and staff – each ‘bubble’ has its own wash station.
  • Frequent cleaning of surfaces, rooms and equipment throughout the day and at the end of each day.
  • Increased time spent outside, as the risk of spreading infection is reduced in open spaces.
  • Removal of certain types of toys and soft furnishings together with reduced access to certain classroom resources.

 

  • Will staff and children be required to wear PPE?

No, as the Government’s guidance does not recommend wearing face coverings or masks in schools for children or adults. The only exception to this would be if a child’s care typically involves PPE, or where a distance of 2m cannot be maintained from a child that is unwell with the symptoms of Coronavirus. The advice warns that face-masks and face coverings could create a greater risk of transmission. Staff have access to PPE, which they can choose to use if and when they feel it is appropriate.

 

  • Has a Risk Assessment been completed?

A whole school Risk Assessment is available on the school website which outlines the protocols currently in place during this current phase. This will be reviewed regularly and updated as required.

All our policies can be found here

 

  • Am I obliged by law to send my child back to school?

The Department for Education is encouraging families to send their children back into school unless the child or a family member is vulnerable or shielding.

“As a former pupil, St. Michael's was the obvious choice. Their values and school ethos have remained the same and Sophia has become a confident, caring and hardworking individual. ”

- Eloise Lloyd, Former Parent

“Just wanted to say a big Thank You to all staff and teachers over the last few months. As a full time working Mum I don't know what I would have done without the structure provided each day.”

- Mrs Homer, Parent

“..thriving, secure, ‘family feel’ environment where children are positively nurtured as individuals and able to reach their own potential.”

- Amanda Foy, Parent

“St. Michael's is a wonderful school. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a safe haven for their child to grow, learn to be well rounded individuals with the love of God in their hearts and love for all human beings as well as develop academically putting them in a good position ready for the next level of education.”

- Mrs. Balogun, Former Parent

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