* = new/substantial updates since April
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 is school's approach to the opening in April?
In February, the Prime Minister announced that England would move into a new phase of managing COVID-19. He said that we as a country would now be dealing with the virus by "moving from government restrictions to personal responsibility, so we protect ourselves without losing our liberties."
Essentially, this places responsibility on the public to manage the spread of the disease in their communities by making sensible decisions. There are no significant changes to the government's advice, just changes to the law enforcing that advice.
The global pandemic is not over yet, and the government is clear in their response that there is considerable uncertainty about the path that the virus will now take in the UK. The very nature of viruses means that new variants of COVID-19 will continue to emerge. This could include variants that make vaccines less effective, are resistant to antivirals, or cause more severe disease.
As a school, where hundreds of people gather each day, we must be careful and take sensible precautions - reducing the risk while impacting as little as possible on school life. Outbreaks of illness affect how well classes and groups run, but most importantly, we have members of our wider community and staff with vulnerable family members (and vulnerabilities themselves), so a cautious approach is needed to help keep these people safe. In essence, we're trying to achieve a balance.
What happens now if my child tests positive or develops COVID-19 symptoms? *
The government is advising parents to keep their children at home for at least 3 full days after the day they got the first positive test result. If the child has symptoms, we would very much appreciate you getting them a test. On the morning of the fourth day, if they feel well and do not have a high temperature, they can return to school.
For the reasons above, and following government guidance, we cannot let children come into school if they have a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. We hope you agree that this is a sensible stance. Even if a child may be symptom-free, other people in our community might not be so fortunate. Allowing children to come into school while they are infectious poses a significant risk to others.
For schools, this places COVID-19 on the same level as the current policy for when children have other infectious illnesses like chicken pox or vomiting/diarrhoea. These require children to be clear of symptoms for a fixed period of time before returning to school (e.g. the well-known 48 hours for vomiting/diarrhoea). Again, we hope that families understand and appreciate the reasons why they must also keep their children at home if they test positive for COVID-19 or begin to show symptoms.
How often should I test my child? *
Children should take an LFD (Lateral Flow Device) test if they begin to show symptoms of COVID-19. If the test is positive, they should follow the updated government guidance and stay at home. If a member of your household tests positive, we would very much appreciate you giving your child a test before sending them into school. See the question below about how to get a test.
Is school still operating with staggered starts and finishes?
Yes, we’ll keep that as it stands for the moment. The theory is that this reduces groups of children mixing indoors. Classes of children are still together at breaks and lunches, but this happens outside where the virus is less likely to spread, and allows children to socialise with friends who might not be in their class. While eating lunch indoors, children are in class groups, as before. If the weather calls for a 'wet break', children normally take breaktime in their own classrooms.
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. Some children walk to school on their own, and this is fine, they can join the queue.
|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|
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. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is clear that routinely taking the temperature of pupils is not recommended as this is an unreliable method for identifying COVID-19.
Do I need to wear a face covering while on the school grounds?
The government has said that face coverings 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?
Their parents will be contacted and asked to take them home. This is the same arrangement which happens for any child who displays symptoms of an infectious illness (e.g. chicken pox or vomiting/diarrhoea). Parents should arrange an LFD test for their child and follow the updated government guidance if the test is positive. A negative test result means that the child can come back to school if they are well enough to do so.
What if a member of a child's family/household becomes symptomatic?
The child will be able to come to school unless they develop symptoms themselves or test positive. We would greatly appreciate you giving your child an LFD test before you send them into school. As mentioned above, the household should follow the updated government guidance.
What if a member of school staff develops symptoms or tests positive?
If a member of staff develops symptoms, they will take an LFD test. If a test returns positive, the staff member will work from home if they are well enough to do so, but their class will be able to remain in school.
Could a class (or the whole school) still close?
In the case of a local outbreak, the school could be asked to close by the UKHSA 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 do I get a test? *
LFD tests can be purchased from a local pharmacy or collection point. NHS Test and Trace has a handy search tool here so you can see where collection points are.
What are the rules for travelling abroad?
Information regarding travelling to/from the UK 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 in the News section of our website.
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 LFD or 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. Teachers are often at their class' entrance at the end of the school day.
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. 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).
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.