26th August 2020

Dear Parents and Carers,
As we prepare to welcome all of our pupils back for the new academic year I would like to provide you with an overview of the most up to date advice regarding Coronavirus.

The letter is lengthy but it aims to capture vital information prior to your child returning. I have placed a copy under the Latest News section of the website to make following the hyperlinks straightforward.

We are all very excited about our pupils returning and welcoming some new faces, it is always a very special time of year but I am aware that you will be watching the news and following reports on social media about the on-going pandemic and some of these conflicting reports may be confusing.

Transport

Firstly, as shared at the end of last year we will be reopening school on Wednesday 2nd September. You will be well aware by now that the return to school will not be as familiar as in previous years. Our environmental changes are subtle but the routines will be different. In order to ensure school begins safely and is orderly, after so long an absence for some pupils, we have arranged staggered start and finish times, alongside a phased department return, so that our younger pupils can settle in to a quieter school on those first few days back.

Wednesday 2nd September – Early Years and Primary
Thursday 3rd September – Secondary
Monday 7th September – FE Department

After consultation with our governors, the local authority and our school advisor, and discussion regarding our Social Bubble Model we have, through necessity, organised two start times and two dismissal times. It is vital that as our pupils arrive on transport that they are welcomed and safely escorted into school ensuring that they follow a hygiene routine prior to entering the building and joining their class bubble. It would be impossible to provide a COVID secure environment if all of our pupils arrived and departed at the same time. Our Risk Assessment is based upon our site and pupils and cannot be compare to that of other sites. Please rest assured we have the best interest of your child, your family and that of our staff at the centre of our decision making and I know this is what you would want despite the challenges that these decisions are causing.

If you would like to transport your own child to and from school you may arrive at 9.00 a.m. with dismissal at 3.00 p.m. It is important that you park your car safely away from the school as the residential roads are narrow and the school transport buses require space to manoeuvre. On arrival please wait at the school pedestrian entrance and keep 2 metres apart as indicated. Staff will be ready to collect your child at 9.00 a.m. but no sooner as they have COVID security measures to complete before pupils arrive. If you chose this method please note the following web link https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/coronavirus-updates/send-school-transport/ this will support you in your decision making.

It is important that we know if you are transporting your own child so we can be there to collect. Please share this with your class teacher in the Zoom call on the 1st September.

Our whole school Risk Assessment can be found here https://www.loyneschool.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Loyne-School-COVID-19-Operational-Risk-Assessment-16072020.pdf

In order to support staff and keep our school environment as COVID Secure as possible please refrain from sending any items into school other than those which are essential. If you send in pads for your child these must be in an unopened pack.

Masks

Over summer I hope, where possible and appropriate, you have supported your child in wearing a face covering. These are now widely available and are becoming a common sight on children across the land. As you will know, for those with learning disabilities, the wearing of a face covering on transport is not mandatory. However, I would encourage you to continue to promote them. Our website houses a helpful video which we hope will help normalise the wearing of masks at certain times, in school https://www.loyneschool.org.uk/schoolclosure-wholeschool/ (See Support for you and your Family – Support for your children)
If your child is comfortable in wearing a mask and you are planning for them to wear one on transport please note the following:
– The mask worn to school will be removed on entry and placed in a plastic bag.
– A second mask will need to be provided for the homeward journey.

It would be helpful if you could provide a small container with the spare mask and a plastic bag inside. This will help staff at the start and end of the day.

Uniform

As shared at the end of term all pupils will be expected to wear uniform in September. In order to support you in keeping items clean and laundered daily we have relaxed our expectations. Your child can wear a navy blue t-shirt and navy sweat top and grey trousers/skirt without our usual school logo. FE can wear the FE hoodie or any coloured sweat top but this must be without a logo or slogan.
It is vital that your child’s clothes are washed when they come home as this will reduce the spread of the virus should any child/adult they come into contact with have the virus. If you would struggle to comply with this request please let school know as soon as possible and we will support you moving forwards.

Visits to school

Our school is operating a Social Bubble model which means all pupils and staff, to the best of our ability, are kept in a small bubble with no contact with the wider school. This is to ensure that if any one person or child shows signs of the virus we are able to clearly identify those who they have come into contact with. The least interpersonal contacts a child can have the safer they will be. It is for this reason that we will not be accepting any visitors to school for the foreseeable future. If you wish to speak to a manner of staff, over and above a usual phone call, we can arrange a virtual meeting. If your child is ill whilst in school (for any reason) you will be contacted in the usual manner.

COVID symptoms

Please note the following: The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

  •  a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  •  a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal – this may be difficult to ascertain from your child

Please DO NOT send your child to school if they exhibit any of these symptoms. If you have needed to administer paracetamol or any pain killer then you must let school know before sending your child in. They must not be sent on school transport.

If you, a member of your family or your child have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:

If your child displays these symptoms in school they will be isolated with a member of staff in full PPE. We will call you and you must come to pick your child up as soon as possible. From this point you will need to follow the steps above.

Please note in some circumstances we may need to suspend a social bubble for a short period of time. If this is the case we will, as per government guidance, from the end of September, provide remote learning. We will share more about our approach as the term begins. As you may be aware some areas of the country have had stronger lockdown restrictions placed on them. Areas of Lancashire have been affected by this. I am pleased to share that only under exceptional circumstances would schools close again. Lancashire County Council’s Director of Public Health and Wellbeing will keep the school informed of any locality changes and I will of course alert you to any changes as they arise. All of our policies, risk assessments and procedures are kept under constant review in light of this.

Our website has a vast array of information to support you and your child at this time. https://www.loyneschool.org.uk/

Finally, after a long and difficult spring I do hope you managed to enjoy the summer break. All our lives have been affected in one way or another and we are all slowly adapting to these challenges and changes to our lives and routines. As we prepare to welcome your child back to school we do so knowing that we can begin to bring normality to their days and engage them in the wonderful world of learning. Our new curriculum will support your child in developing their skills and ensure that their mental health and wellbeing are kept central, in order that they are minimally affected, by the on-going global situation. Your child’s class teacher will be in contact with you on the 1st September and I will write to you all again as the term gets underway with pertinent curriculum and day to day information. I would like thank you all for your continued support and cooperation at this challenging time.

Kind regards Susan Campbell