The government is currently issuing updated guidance on a regular basis through the Department for Education in response to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
This page contains the government guidelines that we are following, as well as our updated Risk Assessment and recent communication letters sent to families.
Effective Infection Protection and Control/Hygiene
The Department for Education has advised schools to take important actions to help prevent the spread of the virus. The spread of Coronavirus involves dealing with direct transmission (for instance, when in close contact with those sneezing and coughing) and indirect transmission (via touching contaminated surfaces).
The following is the set of actions that the government has directed schools to take in the latest updated guidelines:
1. Minimising contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have Coronavirus symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school.
2. Clean hands thoroughly more often than usual.
3. Ensure good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
4. Introduce enhanced cleaning, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents and Milton.
5. Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing wherever possible.
6. Where necessary, wear personal protective equipment in specific circumstances.
Response to any infection
7. Engage with the NHS Test and Trace process.
8. Manage confirmed cases of Coronavirus amongst the school community.
9. Contain any outbreak by following local health protection team advice.
We have a large number of anti-viral/bacterial gel dispensers throughout our sites and we will continue to encourage all children, staff and visitors to use them frequently throughout the day. Equally, all toilets have sufficient hand basins and soap for use.
All children will be reminded about the importance of good hygiene practices in our form times or assemblies and to wash their hands for 20 seconds with running water and soap before drying them thoroughly. This will be reinforced through the signage around the sites. All children will wash their hands before eating and will be encouraged to do so when entering the buildings.
Our classrooms all have anti-viral/bacterial surface sprays and wipes for use by staff throughout the day.
Our maintenance teams will continue to clean frequently touched surfaces during the day using detergents, computer/iPad wipes and Milton sterilising cleaner. Our cleaning teams will continue to provide a nightly ‘deep clean’ every evening of all hard surfaces using Milton sterilising cleaner.
Temperature Checks and Medication
Public Health England is clear that routinely taking the temperature of pupils is no longer recommended as this is an unreliable method for identifying Coronavirus. We will not take the children’s temperatures unless we suspect that a pupil has symptoms. Each school has several contactless digital infrared thermometers on standby.
Do not send children to school with a temperature, consistent cough or any other sickness. Anybody who has a temperature of 37.8 degrees or higher will be sent home. Do not try to mask a high temperature with Calpol or any other medicine. Please make sure that your child has all normal medication when school restarts and consider that the supply we may have had previously could be out of date.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Face Masks
The Prime Minister changed his stance on face masks and announced that older pupils from Year 7 upwards in secondary schools may wear masks in communal areas and where social distancing cannot be safely managed.
The government’s sudden change in policy follows a new statement from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 21 August 2020: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-achildren-and-masks-related-to-covid-19.
The Department for Education released a short update about face coverings in schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-ineducation/face-coverings-in-education.
We do not necessarily see the need for face masks in schools by our older pupils as there are obvious drawbacks surrounding the safe and hygienic use, storage and disposal of masks as well as communication with staff. However, although we do not recommend that pupils wear them at this stage, we do recognise that there may be some seniors at Braeside and Normanhurst who feel more comfortable wearing a face mask whilst on site due to their particular circumstances. They are not mandatory at this stage as we are not in an area currently in local lockdown. Of course, this might change over the coming months depending on how the government feels at the time.
Face masks are not appropriate for younger children below the age of 11 at any school, and are still not recommended for use by the government or Public Health England.
Please note the following about the use of face masks by senior pupils at Braeside and Normanhurst that must be adhered to if they are to be worn in school:
- They must bring a container (eg a ‘zip lock’ food bag) with them each day in which to place the mask safely during lunchtimes, PE/Music lessons and any other occasion when they are not able to wear it.
- They must not touch the front of their mask, including putting it on, during use or when removing it.
- They must wash or sanitise their hands before touching the mask and after removing it.
- The mask must go up to the bridge of the nose and all the way under the chin, with any loops or ties tightened so that it fits snuggly over the face.
- They must avoid wearing it loosely on the neck or forehead.
- They must avoid taking it off and putting it on a lot in quick succession.
- They must change the mask if it becomes damp, dirty or damaged.
- They must bring their own supply of masks with a sufficient quantity of spares for use throughout the day, bearing in mind the timetabled lessons, lunch/break times, weather and any extra-curricular activities.
- They must dispose of the mask safely, if required to during the day, in a separate bag or container.
Our staff are not health experts and cannot take responsibility for the optional use of face masks by some pupils or the day-to-day wearing and safe storage of them, so it will be up to the pupils themselves to follow the above procedures.
If your child intends to wear a face mask in school next week then please email the School Office before the start of term on Thursday 3 September to let us know and to confirm that you have spent some time with him/her to make sure they are aware of the above procedures and do not inadvertently increase the risk of transmission.
The following sites may be of use:
The safety of our children and staff is of the utmost importance, and any decisions we take are driven by our aim to minimise the risks in accordance with our comprehensive Risk Assessment.
All parents and visitors who have a particular reason to enter our buildings (see ‘parents’ section below) must wear appropriate face masks from Thursday 3 September 2020 until further notice.
Just as it is the law in England that we must wear a face covering in indoor settings such as shops, supermarkets, banks, hair salons, libraries and churches, we feel that it is appropriate to ask all non-staff adults entering our buildings to do the same. Please follow the same procedures as above when wearing masks. At this stage, it will not be necessary to wear a face mask outside the buildings when on site, but of course you are welcome to do so. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Face masks will be optional for use by staff. The government guidelines currently state that schools should not require staff to wear face coverings, even if they are not always able to maintain a distance of 2 metres from others. Although we will not be requiring them to use face masks, it will be their choice to wear their own during the day if they are able to manage them effectively in line with the procedures above and feel safer doing so. Some staff will be returning to school for the first time since March due to particular shielding needs, and will have particular medical conditions to consider. We do have a small stock of emergency protective gloves, face shields and face masks for staff to use if PPE is required during the day for a small number of cases including:
- For younger children whose care routinely already involves the use of PPE due to their intimate care needs.
- If a child becomes unwell with symptoms of Coronavirus while at school and needs direct personal care and supervision by a member of staff until they can return home.
Parents/Carers on Site
We will continue to minimise large gatherings and additional adults on site until conditions allow us to return to normal. Although we normally take pride in our open door policies and quick access to staff, I know you will appreciate that this will not be possible at the moment.
Therefore, while we look to reduce the number of people on site in order to help minimise the spread of Coronavirus and keep the children and staff safe, I would ask that you respect the following:
- No parent/carer should enter any of the buildings unless for a specific reason, such as for a pre-arranged appointment or to take medication to the School Office.
- Parents/carers must not gather on site at the start or end of the day around the dropping off/picking up times.
- If your child needs to be accompanied to one of our buildings then only one parent/carer should attend. Your child should come into school and you should leave straight away.
- The School Office will operate on a ‘1 in, 1 out’ basis, with parents/carers invited to queue at 2m intervals as marked. Please keep visits in person to the School Office to an absolute minimum and either call or email as alternatives.
- All parents and visitors who need to enter our buildings must wear a face mask at all times as outlined above.