* = new/substantial updates since 1st January
Message for parents
Please see the link below for a message from Dean Wallace, Director of Public Health for Derbyshire. This was published on our website back in July 2021, but it does contain useful information about updated COVID-19 symptoms.
What are the arrangements for opening in January? *
The arrangements are very similar to September. The government recently changed the rules regarding the self-isolation period, and there's more information about that in the questions below.
Following government guidance, children are not required to remain in bubbles, however we will keep this under review given the high spread of COVID-19 and the transmissibility of the Omicron variant. We have the arrangements and routines in place ready to switch to this system immediately if we need to.
The guidance is keen to ensure that schools keep up the routines for hand washing. So that we can practically do this, we are keeping in place the staggered starts and finishes, so entering and leaving school will be the same as it was last term.
What are the arrangements for the start and end of the school day?
Each class has been given a starting and finishing time, and a specific school entrance. When they enter, they will wash their hands straight away. Please try your best to stick to the times. We know that some queues will be unavoidable, but we want to shorten them as much as we can.
|Class||Entrance and exit||Start time||Finish time|
|Mrs Hobson (Nursery - morning)||Nursery entrance on Whitegates||08.30||11.30|
|Mrs Hobson (Nursery - afternoon)||Nursery entrance on Whitegates||12.30||15.30|
|Mrs Hobson (Nursery - all day)||Nursery entrance on Whitegates||08.30||15.30|
|Miss Marshall (Reception)||Reception entrance in lower school car park||08.45||15.15|
|Mrs Rogers (Reception/Y1)||Lower school entrance in lower school car park||08.50||15.20|
|Miss Wilson (Y1/2)||Playground gate in lower school car park||08.55||15.25|
|Miss Barton (Y2/3)||Playground gate in lower school car park||08.55||15.25|
|Miss Glavan (Y3/4)||Top door next to the school field and hut||08.45||15.15|
|Mr Buckle (Y4/5)||Upper school playground gate next to Bakers Lane||08.45||15.20|
|Mrs Goodburn (Y5/6)||Upper school playground gate next to Bakers Lane||08.55||15.25|
|Miss McKirdy (Y6)||Main entrance||08.55||15.25|
To reduce the number of people on site, we are asking for just one adult to bring and collect their child, although if you have children in different classes, it's fine for other members of your household to help. Some children walk to school on their own, and this is fine, they can join the queue.
What if I have children in different classes with the same start/finish times?
We can make this work. Please don't worry if your children are entering or leaving from different areas of the site. At the start of the day, teachers will know to expect these children in a few minutes late. At the end of the day, these children can wait with their teacher at their school entrance/exit for their adult to pick them up. Some older children walk to and from school by themselves, and this is also fine.
Will school be checking children's temperature?
No. Public Health England (PHE) is clear that routinely taking the temperature of pupils is not recommended as this is an unreliable method for identifying coronavirus.
Do I need to wear a face covering while on the school grounds? *
The government has said that face coverings while outdoors are a personal choice, so that is up to you, but we would appreciate any efforts you can make to help contain the virus and help us to keep school running normally. The importance of this has increased given the high spread of COVID-19 and the transmissibility of the Omicron variant.
What will happen if a child begins to show COVID-19 symptoms while in school?
The child will be calmly taken to a well-ventilated room. Their parents will be contacted and asked to take them home, and arrange a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for the child. PCR tests are those which are sent off to be analysed in a laboratory. The child must self-isolate until they get their results. Other members of the child’s household without symptoms do not need to self-isolate if:
The child's class will be able to remain in school, whether the test result is positive, negative or inconclusive.
What if a member of a child's family becomes symptomatic?
The symptomatic person must self-isolate and get a PCR test. Other members of the household without symptoms do not need to self-isolate if:
If the symptomatic person tests positive, the government is strongly advising other members of the household to take an LFD test every morning for at least 7 days. The child will be able to come to school unless they develop symptoms themselves or test positive. See the question below about close contacts.
What if a member of school staff develops symptoms or tests positive?
Members of staff are testing themselves twice weekly at home using LFD tests. If a test returns positive, the staff member will self-isolate, but their class will be able to remain in school.
What happens when someone is identified as a close contact? *
People who are fully vaccinated, or children and young people aged between 5 years, and 18 years 6 months, identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, should take an LFD test every day for seven days and continue to attend school as normal. If an LFD test is positive, they must self-isolate. If they develop symptoms, they must get a PCR test. See the question below for more information about how to obtain tests. Anyone over 18 years 6 months who is not fully vaccinated must self-isolate (while LFD testing as above) if they are identified as a close contact.
Children under 5 are not being advised to take part in daily testing of close contacts. If a child under 5 is a contact of a confirmed case, they do not have to self-isolate and should not start daily testing. If they live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, they should limit their contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected, and arrange to take a PCR test as soon as possible. They can continue to attend school while waiting for the PCR result, but due to the high number of cases in Amber Valley, we would appreciate parents confirming a negative LFD test before sending their child into school. If the PCR test is positive, the child must self-isolate.
Advice for those who need to self-isolate is on the government's website here.
Could a class (or the whole school) still close?
In the case of a local outbreak, the school could be asked to close by Public Health England (PHE) and switch to remote learning (Google Classroom - see the question below). These are uncertain times, and the infection rate in Amber Valley is high. We recommend that you have contingency plans in place for childcare in case this happens.
How long do we have to isolate for, in the case of a positive PCR test? *
Since 17th January, the 10 day self-isolation period for people who get a positive PCR test has been reduced to 5 days, unless they cannot test for any reason. People can now take LFD tests on day 5 and day 6 (i.e. after the end of the self-isolation period). Those who receive two negative LFD test results no longer have to complete 10 full days of self-isolation. The first test must be taken on day 5 of the self-isolation period, and the tests must be taken 24 hours apart. This also applies to children under 5, with LFD testing at parents' discretion. If both these test results are negative, and the person does not have a high temperature, they can end their self-isolation after the second negative test result.
If the result of either test is positive, they should continue to self-isolate until they get negative results from two LFD tests on consecutive days, or until they have completed 10 full days of self-isolation, whichever is earliest.
People who are unable to take LFD tests have to complete the full 10 days of self-isolation. There's more information on the government's website here.
How do I get LFD test kits and book PCR tests? *
The kits are free, and can be ordered on the government's website here. They'll be sent straight to your home. You can also pick them up from a local pharmacy or collection point, which is the quickest way to get them for most people. NHS Test and Trace has a handy search tool here so you can see where collection points are.
If people have COVID-19 symptoms, they should get a PCR test instead of using an LFD test. PCR tests are also free and can be obtained on the government's website here. You'll also find information about walk-in PCR test centres.
If we travel abroad, will my child have to self-isolate?
Information regarding returning to the UK from abroad is on the government's website here.
If a class or the school has to close, will school switch to remote learning?
Yes - the staff members who work with the class(es) affected will provide remote learning activities and feedback. See the question below about how remote learning works.
If my child is self-isolating but their class is open, will school provide remote learning for my child?
Yes, but in a limited way. The staff members will be working with their class in school, so they will be unable to provide the same level of interaction as they would if they were teaching their whole class remotely. This will include limited use of Google Classroom and/or printed materials being delivered to your home, depending on the lessons being taught. Our Home Learning page also has many activities to help keep your child learning.
How will I know if a class has to close?
If children are in school, they will be given a letter. We will text parents with this information - if you have recently changed your phone number, please contact the office to keep us up to date. We will also publish the information on the front page of our website. You can check that now - look for the text 'CLASS STATUS'.
What if the school office has to close?
You can still email in using the email@example.com address, or the address of your child's teacher (see the question below). Depending on the time of day, other staff members may be available to answer a phone outside the office, but this will take longer to answer, so please let it ring.
If my child's class has to close, can his/her siblings still attend school?
Any child in the household whose class is open can still attend school if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms or have received a negative PCR test result, and if NHS Test and Trace has not told them to self-isolate.
How does remote learning work? *
Go to Google Classroom (we are using this as our 'learning platform') and log in using your child's username and password. Teachers can set work and tasks, and then respond to children's submissions, using this system. If for any reason you can't access the technology, we can help. Please get in touch with the office. You can also email your child's class teacher directly - see the question below.
There are also other activities on our Home Learning page.
In the case of a class closure, the government are expecting children to complete at least 4 hours of remote learning per day for Key Stage 2 children, and 3 hours per day for Key Stage 1 children.
You can see more information about school's remote learning offer on our Policies page. See the document called 'Providing remote education - info for parents'.
Can parents/carers come into school?
We are still trying to limit the number of visitors into school due to the high infection rates in Amber Valley. We must take small steps here to mitigate any problems which may arise. We are trying our utmost to ensure that the areas inside school remain sanitised as thoroughly as possible, and having other people in school risks compromising that. If you need to contact school staff, you can do so by phone or email using our contact details. You can also email teachers directly - see the question below for the addresses.
How can I contact my child's teacher? *
We have email addresses for each teacher. You can email questions, or ask them to give you a call. They will get back to you as soon as they can when their working day allows. You can also contact the office. Teachers are often at the entrances to school at the start/end of the school day, so you can also speak to them then.
|Mrs Hobson (Nursery)||firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Miss Marshall (Reception)||email@example.com|
|Mrs Rogers (Reception/Y1)||firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Miss Wilson (Y1/2)||email@example.com|
|Miss Barton (Y2/3)||firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Miss Glavan (Y3/4) *||email@example.com|
|Mr Buckle (Y4/5)||firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Mrs Goodburn (Y5/6)||email@example.com|
|Miss McKirdy (Y6)||firstname.lastname@example.org|
Are classrooms well ventilated? *
The government guidance says that schools need to balance the need for increased ventilation while maintaining a comfortable temperature. To that end, we open windows regularly and have CO2 (carbon dioxide) monitors in classrooms to help us regulate air quality. We are vigilant in making sure our children are not too cold when working in their classrooms, and you can help with this my providing them with extra warm clothing (e.g. a fleece) during particularly cold days.
What are the children learning in school?
When we first reopened fully on Monday 8th March 2021, wellbeing was a priority for all our children. We ran activities designed to get children talking about their experiences, and to help them through any difficulties. We have now moved on to reinforcing good learning behaviours and teaching our full curriculum, while keeping everyone as safe as possible. See the picture below of a 'socially-distanced, remote' music lesson in December! We will continue to put additional measures in place for individual children who have specific needs, and will involve external agencies if that becomes necessary. See our Recovery Curriculum page for more information.
What equipment/clothing do children need?
School uniform is back in fashion as it's important to return to normality for our children, as much as possible. Please see the ordering information in the question below. The guidance says that uniforms do not need to be cleaned more often than normal, nor in any special way. Children will need a PE kit and water bottle. They can bring their own belongings; and reading and homework books can also be taken to and from school. As usual, children in KS2 may bring a healthy snack; EYFS and KS1 children get a piece of fruit as a snack during morning break.
What if my child needs medicine during the day?
We are asking parents to give their child any medicine before they come to school, and to stagger the dosage times so that they are able to do this. Please call the school office if you have any further questions regarding medicine.
Will staff be wearing PPE (e.g. facemasks, visors, etc.)?
On a day-to-day basis, that is up to the member of staff. We need to support our staff if they are worried about their own health and safety, or that of a member of their household. Masks are common now in the community, so this will probably not be a surprise for children. Teachers talk to children sensitively about people in school and the community wearing PPE. If a situation arises where an adult does need to get close to a child (e.g. an accident), then the member of staff who deals with it will be wearing PPE (facemask/visor, gloves, sleeve protectors, and apron).
Can my child wear PPE?
That is not recommended by PHE, and could be quite problematic for younger children especially; but that is parents' choice. The guidance states:
"Public Health England does not (based on current evidence) recommend the use of face coverings in [primary] schools. This evidence will be kept under review. They are not required in schools as pupils and staff are mixing in consistent groups, and because misuse may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission. There may also be negative effects on communication and thus education."
How do I pay for school dinners?
Dinner money should be sent in with your child as normal at the beginning of each week. Please do not enter school to give this into the office personally. The cost of school meals is £2.20, which works out at £11.00 per week. It would be really helpful if you could send this in at the beginning of each week.
What if I need to drop something else off at school?
Please ensure your child has everything they need when you send them in. Due to the virus' ability to persist on surfaces, there is an increased risk of the virus being passed on if belongings are dropped off and passed along to children during the school day.
What if I need to buy some school uniform?
We are currently not selling uniform to parents from school, but you can order this directly from our supplier, Andrew Hyde. You can do this in three ways, and the order will be delivered directly to you:
Will specialist agencies be visiting schools?
We have many agencies who provide extra services to school to help children who have specific needs (e.g. Educational Psychology, Speech and Language Therapy, etc.) Some are now visiting schools, and some are still working remotely. Fortunately, the technology is working and we have had sessions delivered to children successfully via a video call.
How do I get more information?
You can use our email@example.com email address to ask questions. We might not have all the answers, but we'll try our best! If your question is a particularly tricky one, we may have to get advice first.
Thank you all for your understanding and support during these times.
Please rest assured that we are doing all we can to reduce the risk and deliver the best education possible
within these restrictions.
We will keep you informed all the way.