The government is currently issuing updated guidance on a regular basis through the Department for Education in response to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Some of the government guidance that we are following is available by clicking here.
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 are reminded regularly 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 is reinforced through the signage around the sites. All children 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 continue to clean frequently touched surfaces during the day using detergents, computer/iPad wipes and Milton sterilising cleaner. Our cleaning teams 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 will be sent home. Do not try to mask a high temperature with Calpol or any other medicine.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Face Coverings
Face coverings must now be worn by all pupils in Year 7 and above when moving around indoors, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain. This does not currently apply to younger children in primary schools or in Early Years settings.
Following NHS and Public England guidance about the use of face coverings, our senior pupils at Braeside and Normanhurst must:
- bring a container (eg a ‘zip lock’ food bag) each day in which to place the face covering safely when they are not wearing it.
- avoid touching the front of their face covering, including putting it on, during use or when removing it.
- wash or sanitise hands before touching the face covering and after removing it.
- ensure the face covering goes 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.
- avoid wearing it loosely on the neck or forehead.
- avoid taking it off and putting it on a lot in quick succession.
- change the face covering if it becomes damp, dirty or damaged.
- bring their own supply of face covering 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.
- dispose of any disposable face coverings safely, if required to during the day, in a separate bag or container that they also provide.
Our staff are not health experts and cannot take responsibility for the use of face coverings by 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.
As in our previous approach, it will not usually be necessary to wear face coverings in the classroom. The DfE maintains that face coverings could have a negative impact on teaching and guides schools to avoid their use in classrooms.
More detailed guidance about the wearing of face coverings is available through the diagram here and via the following links:
Parents and Visitors
All parents and visitors must wear a suitable face covering on site at all times. This includes on any occasion when a parent needs to enter one of the buildings and also outside on the site when dropping off or picking up.
All staff are required to wear face coverings when moving through the buildings to reach their destination areas. All staff have the option of wearing face coverings to teach or when carrying out their duties. We also have a bank of perspex screens and face shields to be used in specialist lessons.
Staff have been told to wear face coverings when in close proximity to parents/carers who are dropping off or picking up.
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.
Staff maintain distance from each other during the school day and have been asked not to gather in groups at break/lunchtimes. Most meetings take place virtually by Zoom.
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.
Asymptomatic Lateral Flow Testing
We are distributing the government’s home testing kits for all staff to enable them to carry out lateral flow tests at home twice each week. This will help to protect our staff when they are in school.
Primary age pupils from Kindergarten to Year 6
Primary age pupils will not be tested with lateral flow tests. The government will continue to review this approach in the light of any emerging evidence.
Secondary age pupils from Year 7 to Year 11
All secondary age pupils at Normanhurst and Braeside are being given three on-site lateral flow tests 3 to 5 days apart, starting with the first on Monday 8 March. Thereafter, we will distribute the government’s testing kits for home testing twice weekly.
All testing is being conducted by specially-trained school staff in appropriately reorganised spaces that have been set up in accordance with NHS and Public Health England guidelines.
Lateral flow tests provide results in around 30 minutes without the need to send kits to an external lab. They will also help with the one in three people who have the virus but do not have symptoms, so who could be spreading the disease unknowingly. A negative test will keep pupils/staff in school, with a positive test requiring a separate lab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and isolation. Results are reported to NHS Test and Trace as soon as the test is completed using the details supplied with the kits.