8 September 2020
Important updates for parents with children in Years 7 & 10
Dear Year 7 & 10 Parents/Carers
Firstly I would like to thank you for your patience whilst we work through our first experience of managing positive COVID-19 cases in school. The school will continue to work closely with Salford’s Public Health Team to reduce the risk of infection for your children and our staff.
Public Health Advice on self-isolation
As reported yesterday, students in our Year 7 and Year 10 bubbles are close contacts of the case and must self-isolate for 14 days (this also applies to all household members of the positive cases). Isolation means your child cannot go outside of the house (unless in your garden), other family members (outside your household) cannot visit, and the child cannot see friends.
Only contacts of a case should self-isolate. They do NOT need to be tested because they will still need to isolate for the 14 days even if the test is negative. Other members of your household do not need to self-isolate. We have now confirmed that siblings of students in Years 7 & 10 do not need to self isolate and should return to school. Apologies for any inconvenience caused yesterday whilst we awaited clarification on this point.
Return to school date for students in Years 7 & 10
Students in Years 7 & 10 may return to school on Thursday 17 September 2020. This is 14 days from the date the positive cases were last in school. Students should not return if they have any symptoms related to COVID-19, advice on symptoms was detailed in the letter sent home with your child and available on our school website.
Work for students in Years 7 & 10
During their period of isolation, we will be setting work for these groups via our school website and Google classroom. Year 10 students will be familiar with Google classroom which was used to set work during the months of lockdown. Year 7 students should refer to the school website swinton.coopacademies.co.uk/stories/home-learning-resources-years-7-10/
Please could parents of students in Years 7 & 10 complete this short survey https://forms.gle/7hjCectSmgZPkvQp8 so that we can provide additional support where necessary. If you have more than one child in these year groups, please complete a separate survey for each of them.
We would encourage you to keep an eye on our school website and social media channels for updates:
If you have any questions or concerns please contact us by calling, tel: 0161 794 6215 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your co-operation.
7 September 2020
A confirmed case of COVID-19 in our school
A member of our school has tested positive for COVID-19. The school is working closely with Salford’s Public Health Team to reduce the risk of infection for your children and our staff.
We have been risk assessing the situation in school and we have measures in place to reduce the impact of situations like this.
Public Health advice at this stage is that the setting remains open because the majority of the school community are not close contacts. The school has increased cleaning generally. We have arranged deep cleaning of the areas affected.
Public Health Advice on Self-isolation
For those children who are contacts of the case, the school has already been in contact to let those parents know and to explain the next steps. Any close contact must self-isolate for 14 days (this includes household members of the positive case). Only the close contact needs to self-isolate; other members of their household do not need to self-isolate.
Isolation means the person cannot go outside of the house (unless in your garden) other family members (outside your household) cannot visit and the child cannot see friends. Contacts who are isolating do NOT need to be tested because they will still need to continue to isolate for 14 days even if the test is negative.
If you have not been contacted in the next 24hrs, that means you have not been identified as a close contact and can return to school.
Following further clarification from Public Health, only students in Years 7 and 10 need to isolate which means that any siblings who are in Years 8, 9 & 11 are able to attend school and we look forward to seeing them back tomorrow. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused today but we felt that it was better to take this precaution until we received clarification.
Public Health Advice on symptoms
If your child is identified as a contact, please try not to worry. For most people COVID-19 is a mild illness.
As we head into autumn and winter, Public Health in Salford are advising to consider a combination of new symptoms (two or more) if the person does not have the classic symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) which are the fever, cough or loss of taste/smell.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:
- A new continuous cough
- A high temperature (fever)
- A loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
- Any one of the above symptoms gives reason for high level of suspicion for COVID-19
A well person or child: feels 100% well, seems themselves and is not displaying any changes in behaviour or their daily routines.
An unwell person or child could be a possible case of COVID-19.
A combination of symptoms (two or more) below gives reason for high level of suspicion for COVID-19:
Vomiting/nausea/off their food, diarrhoea, sleeping more than usual, complaining of not feeling themselves, listless/restless/agitated, shortness of breath, feeling cold, headache, severe body aches, sore throat, congested or runny nose, skin rash – anything that is not feeling themselves.
Note: For fevers, the NHS advice is to look for a high temperature – ‘this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back; you do not need to measure your temperature’.
We are asking everyone who is unwell with one of the main symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) or any two of the other symptoms above to book a test by ringing 0800 952 1000.
Information about COVID-19 symptoms and management of the virus can be found here: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Although COVID-19 is circulating in the community, usual childhood illnesses are too; and it is important that these are not missed. Please contact your GP or NHS111 if you are worried; or call 999 if seriously unwell.
If you have any questions or concerns please refer to the government website, or you can contact school by calling, tel: 0161 794 6215 or email: email@example.com
Mark Harrison, Headteacher
Home Learning Resourcess
For those students in Year 7 and Year 10 who were sent home on Monday 7 September 2020 to self-isolate, we will be setting/providing work to complete at home until they can return.
Year 10s will have their work set for them on Google Classroom (as we did during lockdown before Summer) and Year 7s will have some English, Maths and Science work uploaded online.
Find all the details here: swinton.coopacademies.co.uk/stories/home-learning-resources-years-7-10/
- On Thursday 3rd September, students should queue on the new pavement markings on Sefton Road, ensuring they keep a 2 metre gap from each other.
- They will then be signed in by staff, expected to sanitise their hands and sent to their form room.
- From Friday 4th September, each year group will have its own entrance and exit to the school building. Students must use the entrance specific to their year group regardless of whether they pass other entrances on the way or not.
- Students will study their usual timetable and subjects, including their full option choices in Year 10 & Year 11.
- Students will be taught by their usual, subject specialist teachers.
- The school is being split into five zones to keep year groups apart throughout the day.
- Each year group is allocated separate social spaces and mini canteens offering a limited menu. Free school meals will continue to be made available to eligible students.
- For the time being, we will not be able to offer our free breakfast club due to the need to keep year groups in separate areas of the building. This means students should not arrive on site before 8:45am.
- Students are not permitted to move to a different zone during lessons or at break and lunch time.
- Students will only go outside of their zone to attend lessons that need specialist classrooms. All English, mathematics, humanities and MFL lessons will be taught in the year group zones.
- When using a specialist classroom, cleaners will work through the day to make sure areas are cleaned between sessions of different year groups.
- Hand sanitisers are placed throughout the school building and students will be expected to use them regularly.
- All students must understand that these changes are for the safety of all those connected to the school and are not negotiable or optional. Any student who chooses not to follow these systems, and does not immediately respond if challenged, will be sanctioned.
Physical Education Lessons
One issue we cannot resolve is changing space for students whilst maintaining some form of social distancing. Therefore, up to October half term at which point we will review the decision, students will be expected to wear their PE kit to school on the days when they have their PE lessons. A tracksuit may be worn over the top if the weather is poor. If a student wears their PE kit on a day they are not timetabled to have a PE lesson they will be sent home to change into their uniform.
Paying for Lunch
Many students continue to top up their lunch accounts using cash machines in the school building. Unfortunately these machines will need to be closed down as it would mean hundreds of students using the same keypad across the week. Therefore, we urge you to use the online system to top up your child’s account. If this is not possible due to your personal circumstances please contact us directly so we can find a solution for you.
Our children have become far too reliant on their mobile devices through the lockdown period. For many, their phone will have been their only contact with the world, this is not healthy and cannot continue post lockdown.
Due to this, and other potential benefits, students will not be allowed their phones out in school at any time, including break and lunch time, starting in September. If your child needs to carry a phone to and from school that is fine but please be aware that any child who has their phone out in school will have it confiscated for the remainder of the day in the first instance. There will be no warnings, the expectation is that phones are not seen at any time in the school building, this also includes headphones/earbuds etc. If they need to contact you during the school day then they must do this through the school office. I understand times have changed but every generation prior to this one managed in this way and I am confident they will adapt.
The main reasons for this decision are:
- We need students to re-engage with each other and not just through mobile devices
- Mobile phones were increasingly causing interruptions to learning prior to lockdown, having lost six months of learning we simply cannot allow this to continue
- The majority of arguments between students in school start on social media/phones
- Schools that completely ban phones see an increase in engagement and outcomes for students. On average the increase in exam results is 6.4%, with students who were underperforming showing on average a 14% improvement
These are benefits we cannot ignore, we have tried a variety of ways to allow students to use their phones in school and all have continued to interrupt learning. I hope you understand our decision and will support us with its enforcement.
Changes to school day times
Mondays will now finish at 3pm for students instead of 2pm. You will remember that last year there was a consultation with parents about building more curriculum development time into the week by shortening the school day each Monday. Due to a combination of much of that work being close to completion, and the need to catch up for lost time due to COVID 19, we will be returning to a more traditional finish time of 3pm Monday-Thursday. Arrangements on Friday, including the early finish for students who have not had a correction that week continues.
COVID 19 Related changes
It is difficult to understand how our children may have been affected by the long period of isolation they have faced and we need to consider how to best support them as things slowly return to normal. To do this I want them to be aware of some changes in school and also the support that will be available to them on their return.
- 1-2-1 Return Interviews – all students will have an individual meeting during their first half term back in school, this will give them a chance to discuss anything they have found difficult and we will provide support from there for anyone who needs it
- The first two days for all students in September will be a full re-induction into the school, this will involve some time with Form Tutors, a reminder of standards and expectations as well as an update on what may have changed since they were last in the building. This is essential to ensure a smooth start to the year and to reduce the concerns many children will have about coming back to school.
Marking and Feedback
We have always kept the majority of students’ books in school and used them as the main method of marking and feedback for students. With the current COVID 19 situation, if teachers were to collect in books regularly they would be increasing the risk of spreading infection and affecting a larger number of people. Therefore, from September, books will not be collected, and all students will be expected to take all their books home each day. This means a school bag every day is essential; the students will also have to be more organised with their day to day timetable to avoid having to carry everything all the time. Marking and feedback will mainly be through Google Classroom or, if paper based, will involve a few days’ delay to allow the work to be clear of any potential viruses.
Finally, I want to wish you all well for the remainder of the summer and hope you all get some form of break from the current routine of lockdown. I am sure that there will be many of you, parents, carers and children, that are anxious about the return to school. This is completely normal and to be expected under the current circumstances, it is new territory for all of us. However, I am confident that we have a system in place that will support everyone’s safe return and get the children back into their learning as quickly and smoothly as possible.
To find out how we/and external agencies can support you and your child during our school closure please visit: School Closure Support