Message from Chris
10th September 2020
Return to School Site September 2020
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
I am writing to let you know that we have now submitted our plans to the EDB and are working through the administrative approval process. I was hopeful this would be concluded by now, but we are yet to receive final confirmation of our plans from EDB. I therefore write to you with the plan below, for which it is very likely we will receive final confirmation in the coming few days. If there are any minor revisions required to the plan below, I will write to you under separate cover.
We are really looking forward to welcoming the children back to school in the coming weeks. As you will appreciate, a lot of planning has gone into bringing back as many students as possible to the school site safely. Prioritising health and safety is our continued commitment to each and every student and staff member.
We have worked hard to develop a model that allows all children to return to the school site for 4 hours of school each morning from the 29th of September. We know it is important that children receive daily on site learning with their classes. We have made lots of adjustments to make sure this can happen within the EDB and CHP guidelines. We are pleased to be able to offer a phased return for our younger children prior to the 29th of September, when the whole school will be able to return for on site learning.
After the positive feedback we had in May, we have once again created a Return to School website that you can visit to find all relevant information you may need to know in preparation for your children returning to on site learning at Glenealy in one place. The site is called ‘Glenealy Return to School September 2020’ and you can visit it from here.
In this letter you will find:
Timetable for the return
Summary of key points
Quick FAQs (these will be extended on our dedicated website
All children will come to the school site every day for 4 hours each morning from 29th September. They will then be taught at home during the afternoon via Zoom and our distance learning approach.
As is required by EDB, we will operate a phased return. We are taking advantage of the allowance to have up to 1/6th of children on site from 16th September to bring back our Year 1 children, followed by Years 1, 2 and 3 from 23rd to 28th September.
We have reorganised classes, changed our furniture and are providing plastic dividers in order to fit 30 children into the class whilst observing the EDB requirements.
Whilst we run the phased return plan below, children will continue to learn at home when not on site.
From the 29th of September, each day children will receive approximately 4 hours of on-site schooling and will be provided with a full day of learning. For the time at home in the afternoon we will provide home learning for children to undertake. This will involve some live connection time with the children’s class teacher via Zoom - the exact times and focus for this work will vary depending on age and the unit being taught. More details can be found in our FAQ below, and on the Glenealy Return to School September 2020 website.
Social distancing and other health measures will remain in place - daily temperature monitoring will continue, masks will be worn, we will ask children to bring their own pencil cases in all year groups, movement around the school will be controlled, drop off and pick up times will also be controlled. More details will follow.
We have cancelled our planned professional development days on 5th October and 20th November in order to maximise the time children have in school.
What adjustments have you made to ensure that all children can come to site?
We have procured and repurposed furniture, rearranged classes and adjusted the timetable. By not having lunch at school, the EDB has allowed all 360 children to attend our site from the 29th September. One way systems will be in place, along with established routines for the use of toilets and shared areas. There will be a staggered break so children can be further socially distanced at play.
Why are we bringing our youngest children to site first?
The EDB guidelines are clear - we are allowed 1/6th of our children on site from the 16th September. Whilst our youngest children have successfully completed the home learning over the past weeks, on the whole, they and parents/guardians have found this more challenging than for our older children, who are generally more independent. In addition to this, many of our Year 1 children, who were in K2 last year, have not had access to any on site schooling since January. We want to ensure that our Year 1 children have a successful introduction to the school and are as supported as much as possible through this transition onto the school site..
What measures have you taken to reduce the risk of transmission for children?
We are delighted to be able to welcome all children back to the school site at the same time. In order to bring all children back to school, we have rearranged and repurposed our furniture so that children can sit ‘front to back’ in our classes. Where furniture does not allow for this, or for the distance of 1.0 m to be placed between children, we have received approval from EDB to use transparent plastic dividers between seats. This concession has enabled us to provide daily schooling to all 30 children within our classes. In addition, we have bought a range of new, individual pieces of furniture, so we can meet the social distancing requirements. All children and adults will wear masks and rooms will be well ventilated. We will control movement around the school, and reduce the volume of students on each play space when they go out during the break. Additional cleaning will be undertaken at the end of each day and children will not use specialist classrooms to avoid cross-transmission between classes. Temperature checks will continue to be completed at home, as well as at the school gate on entry. We will continue to strictly limit parents and caregivers access to the school site until restrictions are further lifted.
Will Specialist Lessons run while children are on school site?
Children will enjoy their programme of Mandarin, PE and Music during their time on the school site.
What will children be learning in the afternoon while at home?
Children will still be expected to undertake home learning from 1.30 - 3.00 each afternoon. Each year group will provide you with information in due course about how this will look. The afternoon learning will effectively follow up upon, and support the ‘on site’ delivery of the curriculum each day. There will still be a ‘connection’ via Zoom in order for teachers to best support children during the afternoon. For some year groups, such as Year 1, we may need to modify the learning expectations for afternoon sessions - running story sessions or similar. Our teachers are highly skilled in adapting the learning to make sure children feel engaged in school and have also become adept with learning at a distance. Our goal will be to ensure that learning undertaken can be accessed and completed independently by children in the afternoon, which will include access to their teaching team via Zoom. By adopting this blended approach we will ensure that children enjoy a full day learning programme.
Will there be a “Back to School” Google Website like the one we had in May?
Yes, we have the Glenealy Return to School September 2020 Google website prepared to support the transition back into school. It has all the information you need on it - snack, masks, pencil cases, drop off and pick up times and any other information that would be useful. Please find the link here with all the information you need.
Will you still provide a timetable for the ‘home’ part of the learning?
Yes, there will be a weekly timetable shared each Friday which will clearly indicate the sessions being taught and links for the afternoon learning. We will no longer provide the daily timetable. This weekly timetable will outline the Zoom links for afternoon learning and the subjects being taught. There will be a full specialist programme running while children are in school, so these will not feature in the afternoon sessions at home. We will continue to use Seesaw and Google Classroom to share learning tasks and outcomes.
What time will I drop off and pick up my child?
In line with EDB guidance, and in order to avoid overcrowding, we are required to stagger the drop off and pick up times. We aim to get children into school as quickly and efficiently as possible. The staggered drop-off times can be found here on our website. We will not be able to allow parents to spend time on the school site. More details will follow for Year 1 parents’ drop off routines on the first few days for their children from 16th September.
Why aren’t we able to have lunch at school?
We will balance the opportunity to maximise the face-to-face learning with the health and safety guidelines as issued by the EDB and CHP. As we finalise our plans to bring your child back to school, we wanted to clarify the reasons why the school day will be separated into two parts and assure you that it will result in a full day of learning.
With safety restrictions around lunchtime being prohibitive because of space limitations, the decision was made to enable children to return home for lunch and continue their lessons online. This model is a combination of learning on site and teacher-led ‘connected learning’ at home. More details about the return can be found on the dedicated website that we have made here.
What other health information do I need to know?
I will write to you all on Monday of next week detailing the health information that is needed. This will include temperature checks prior to school start and details about the EDB requirements here on schools in terms of reporting cases and managing cases in schools.