COVID 19 – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS as @ 05.03.21

 

On February 22nd the Government announced the full reopening of schools stating that

“From 8 March all children and students should return to school or college and attendance will be mandatory once again from this date. Mandatory attendance means that it is your legal duty as a parent to send your child (if they are of compulsory school age) to school regularly if they are registered at one.”

.https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-in-the-autumn-term

West Hill has read and implemented the Government guidance, where possible, and measures have been taken to minimise the risk to our pupils and our staff. A comprehensive Risk Assessment has been carried out in line with local and national government requirements.

For our return in March, most things remain as they were in the Autumn term. Changes to our measures are highlighted in bold and underlined.

Should my son wear a face covering, mask or other PPE?

Face coverings should be worn on-site as directed by staff.  This includes in classrooms when social distancing cannot be maintained and when moving around school.  Masks can be removed when eating and at break and lunch when he is in his own yard zone.  This does not apply in situations where wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example in PE lessonsThe wearing of face coverings in classrooms will be reviewed nationally at Easter. The full guidance can be found here:  Face coverings .gov.uk guidance  In addition, pupils should follow all necessary regulations off-site, for example by wearing them on public transport.

 

What should I do if I believe my son is exempt?

The exemptions to this which may apply are:

  • people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
  • to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others ‒ including if it would negatively impact on your ability to exercise or participate in a strenuous activity

If you believe that your child meets with one or more of these criteria then please contact us to discuss the situation.  Otherwise we expect him to attend school and follow the procedures that we have in place. 

 

My son has asthma, is he expected to wear a face covering?

Asthma UK advise that if your child finds it ‘impossible’ to wear a face covering then they can be classed as exempt.  In this case you should contact us to arrange for his exemption to be recorded.

Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Testing

From March 2, all West Hill pupils, who consented to a test, were invited into school to have the first of three tests. Testing will continue throughout the school day the week beginning 8th March.

Any pupil with a positive test result will need to self-isolate immediately in line with government guidance

Following their 3 on-site LFD tests, the government has announced that all pupils will be supplied with LFD test kits to test themselves for coronavirus twice a week at home

Parent testing

Households with children of school age are now eligible to get rapid covid-19 tests each week.  Press release

Check this link to find your nearest pick-up point.  Postcode search

 

What measures have been taken to reopen school safely?

There are four measures that will be in place at all times:

  • Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell.
  • Cleaning hands thoroughly more often than usual – sanitisation at the start and end of every lesson.
  • Ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
  • Enhanced cleaning.

In addition, we will be reducing contact between individuals and following social distancing where possible.  This includes the following measures:

  • Grouping children together in year groups.
  • Avoiding contact between groups with one-way systems, zoned outdoor spaces and staggered departure.
  • Arranging classrooms with forward facing desks.
  • Staff maintaining distance of 2 metres from pupils and other staff as much as possible
  • Carefully considering the use of shared equipment.

Should my son wear his school uniform?

Yes. Full school uniform should be worn by all pupils.

Will the school day start and end at the usual time?

We would ask that boys do not enter the school site until 8.20. At the end of the day, year groups will be dismissed at timed intervals from 14.40 to encourage social distancing. They are as follows: 

 

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Year 11

Mon

1440

1445

1450

1455

1500

Tue

1500

1440

1445

1450

1455

Wed

1455

1500

1440

1445

1450

Thur

1450

1455

1500

1440

1445

Fri

1445

1450

1455

1500

1440

 

Other than his essential equipment, what else will my son need to bring in every day?

  • Personal hand sanitiser
  • Face masks x 2 (Snoods or scarves are not appropriate)
  • Tissues
  • Water bottle (Note there are no water fountains on site)
  • If not pre-ordered, a packed lunch

Will the School Dining Room be open as normal?

There will be no breakfast or break service. Boys will be able to pre order lunches during form time.  This will be done on a Monday* and lunches will be delivered to be eaten in form rooms and will be charged against the Parent Pay account. Menus will be published on the website. For further details please refer to https://www.westhillschool.co.uk/catering

*Boys will be able to order later in the week if required.

My son is entitled to free school meals, what will he receive?

Credits will be placed on the Parent Pay account so he can order in the same way as other boys.

What will classroom learning look like?

All classrooms have been laid out to comply with the DfE guidance. Boys will be sat forward facing in rows. They will be instructed to hand sanitise at the start and end of every lesson. Cleaners will be deployed in teaching buildings throughout the day. Equipment, such as pens and pencils, cannot be shared so it is important boys bring what they need for every lesson. Shared resources such as keyboards will be wiped down between use. Boys will be reminded that they should remain two metres away from staff.

How can I best support my son when he is in school?

Do encourage your son to observe social distancing protocols on the way to, and home from, school. If possible, avoid public transport and encourage your son to walk or cycle to school. Cycle lockers are available and can be used by any pupil. When in school, he should stick to his year group bubble and the designated areas of the yard. He should clean his hands thoroughly, more often than usual, and ensure good hygiene by following the “catch it, bin it, kill it” approach.

I don’t feel comfortable about sending my child to school. Do they have to attend?

Government guidance states that it is vital for all children to return to school to minimise as far as possible the long-term impact of COVID-19 on children’s education, wellbeing and development. The link between higher rates of absence and lower academic achievement is well documented, therefore, we encourage you to ensure your son attends school as much as possible, unless they are following clinical advice not toWhere children are not attending following clinical/public health advice, absence will not be penalised. Evidence of this will need to be seen in order for the absence not to be classed as unauthorised and risk prosecution. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools

What if I need to contact the school?

Contact can be made via email admin@westhillschool.co.uk  or ringing 0161 338 2193.

Parents will not be allowed on site without an appointment. Where an appointment has been arranged with a member of staff, only one adult may attend the meeting.

What do I do if my son is displaying symptoms?

If your son is displaying symptoms of Coronavirus, do not send him into school. Please follow the usual school procedure for recording absence.

 Anyone can now register for a test through https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 or call 119 if you do not have access to the internet. He will need to self-isolate until the test is confirmed negative.

What arrangements will be in place if a child or adult is unwell/showing symptoms of fever or a cough?

If a pupil or member of staff becomes symptomatic on site, arrangements will be made for them to go home, or be collected from school. School will contact Public Health England and follow the advice issued.

How can my son keep up to date with his work if he is absent from school?

Using our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) your son will be able to immediately switch to remote home learning for all subjects.  This learning will mirror the learning taking place in school and, as a result, your son will not fall behind.

All pupils will regularly be shown how to access this work by their class teachers.

Will PE classes still take place?

PE lessons will be taking place. The intention is to run mainly outdoor activities focusing on the summer sports in the first half term back. Full kit will be required for all boys.

Will there be any extracurricular activities?

Some extracurricular activities will commence on the boys return. This situation will be under constant review and we will inform you of any changes using the School Gateway.

My son has booked to go on a residential trip.

All residential trips are reviewed in line with current guidance. The individual trip leader will communicate the latest information to the parents of all boys involved.

My son is anxious at the moment. How can I help him and what support can he access in school?

It is important that you have honest, open, age appropriate conversations with your son about the Coronavirus and its impact. It can help young people feel in control if they understand what is happening and are giving a chance to talk about their emotions.

The Children’s Commissioner’s for England has produced a children’s guide to coronavirus which can be found at www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/publication/childrens-guide-to-coronavirus/

For older children Young Minds provide a number of resources for parents/carers and children to access youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/

 

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