The governing body and senior leadership team at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School and Sixth Form College share a clear ambition to welcome all students back to school, full time from Monday 7th September 2020. This is to ensure that all of our children have the best possible start to the new term and fully engage with high quality learning across the full curriculum with their specialist teachers. We also recognise our responsibility to manage the return to school as safely as possible so we are constantly reviewing the information and guidance from the Department of Education, NHS and other organisations to inform our plans. We all share the same concerns about the impact of the last six months on the education of our children. This is why it will be so important to hit the ground running in September and to deliver a full curriculum for all children from day one. Parents will be concerned about the safety of their children and many people will have their own interpretations of the guidance around safety. We must also remember that schools are workplaces and we have responsibilities as employers as well as educators. The safety of everyone in our school community is our priority and will continue to be so. The current low level of Covid-19 in the community has enabled the government to relax the general measures that have restricted the movement and interaction of people in the community. These measures may change during the summer so we will review our plans every two weeks, taking account of the very latest guidance and advice. It is essential that all of us within the school community work together to embed safe behaviours and routines to help keep us all safe.
Coming back to school - A guide for parents, students and staff 1. Introduction
In creating this document, we aim to set out the behaviours, processes and environmental changes that will need to be in place in order for our school to return to a new but safe normal. The document is written as a step by step narrative following a student back to the classroom. Whatever we do, we need parents and carers to be confident that, as they send their children back to school, they will be well looked after and the environment will be safe and supportive. The safety of everyone in our school community is our priority and will continue to be so. In developing our plans, we must take into account the emerging evidence and guidance from a number of sources. We recognise that in most aspects of our plans, we could make different decisions and make different judgements. What is clear, is that the guidance in general, is not prescriptive and leaves final decision making to schools and colleges such as ours to make the best plans to suit the local needs. So it is the overall impact of the plans we put in place that is the most important consideration. We have tried hard to balance the educational needs of our students, the workplace safety of our staff and the need to mitigate the potential risks of CV19 in developing the overall plan. The relaxation of the lockdown rules are continuing and will do so over the summer weeks providing the low levels of CV19 continue to hold good. However, we will continue to monitor the emerging evidence and guidance from the Department of Education, the NHS and associated bodies and the Health and Safety Executive over the coming weeks and months. We have set in place a process for reviewing our plans every two weeks and we will welcome the views and feedback from parents and staff which we will take into account as part of that review process. This will continue into the new school year. Please take some time to read and think about this information and discuss it in detail as a family and how your child or children needs to adapt. Remember, we are doing this so that as a community we all adopt a set of modified behaviours which work together to keep us safe and allow us to deliver a full curriculum with specialist teachers in specialist learning spaces. Following every review, we will publish any changes on our website and welcome feedback using the email address Nocv19@hccs.info 2. Face coverings (Updated 1/9/2020) When school reopens for the new year, the wearing of face coverings will be compulsory for students when moving between lessons inside buildings and corridors and in some specialist areas where children are more likely to be interactive such as technology, science but optional when in classrooms. They will not be needed during outdoor activities including break and lunch times. The decision to use face coverings when moving between lessons is a precautionary additional measure to our expected safe behaviours. On the balance of probability, the wearing of face masks (in conjunction with all of the other expected safe behaviours) is more likely to make our school safer than if we don’t wear them. On a normal day, we have around 1,500 students and adults from 11 to 60 years old moving around our school buildings. Given that face masks are being worn in many other settings where people gather indoors, including on public transport and in shops, it seems illogical that we would not do the same in schools. In all other settings, when two meter social distancing measures are not possible, including workplaces, the use of alternative mitigation measures including the use of face coverings are recommended. We are recommending that students wear reusable, cloth face coverings which can be easily washed and dried at the end of each day. We do not wish to be overly prescriptive about which face coverings to wear but as a minimum, they should be plain in colour, preferably navy blue and have no logos, slogans or images on them. If in doubt, please just ask using the email address Nocv19@hccs.info
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering Clearly, for some children especially where they have a special educational need, face coverings may present challenges which may outweigh the potential benefits. Our SEN team will work with parents of children that they support on an individual basis to determine the best and safest way forward for each child. If a parent has a particular concern about their child because of an underlying medical condition, please let us know using the Nocv19@hccs.info email and we will be happy to discuss the best way forward.
3. If a child is ill or injured Please DO NOT send your child to school if they are feeling unwell. If your child is unwell for any reason not necessarily with symptoms of CV-19, they must not come to school If your child or any member of the household has CV-19 symptoms that are defined as a high temperature, persistent cough or loss of taste and smell, they must not come to school but please let us know by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff members should follow the normal procedure and contact the Headteacher and Cover office directly before 7:30am. Please refer immediately to the NHS Test and Trace service.
If a child becomes unwell during the school day, we will initially look after them in the usual way and parents will be contacted to pick them up ASAP. Whilst waiting to be picked up they will be isolated from other children in the reception area. If the child has any of the symptoms that may suggest CV-19, we will request parents to have the child tested urgently. Members of staff who develop symptoms will also be sent home immediately and an urgent test arranged. We will on every occasion take advice from the NHS Track and Trace service provider before the child or staff member may return to school. Should they subsequently test positive for CV-19, we will also take advice from the service provider about any further actions we may need to take in regard to contact tracing and isolation. The seating plans within our classroom planning software allow us to track precisely where students were sat in each lesson and where all other students were in relation to them. We will use this information to assist the Test and Trace service to offer the best advice. You can contact the NHS Test and Trace service by following this link:: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-an-antigen-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/ Thorough cleaning of all classrooms using appropriate cleaning products takes place daily. We also have a daytime cleaning team who are on site during the day to target any areas where any additional risks are identified. First aid The first aid rota will continue to operate as normal. When first aid is required, the responder will take with them one of the first aid bags that has been equipped with everything they are likely to need to respond to a wide range of first-aid situations. The bags have been equipped with appropriate personal protective equipment for use when a first aider is unable to advise from a distance of two metres. Whenever possible, unless the nature of the incident means it is not possible, face coverings must be worn by the first aider and student as a minimum when first aid is being administered. Students who are ill or injured and need to be taken home will wait to be picked up in an isolation area in reception. Students requiring medication Students requiring medication through the school day will continue to do this in the normal way from the school reception. For any further information or to discuss any specific medical issues relating to an individual child, then parents are asked to contact the Student Health Care Officer. 4. Healthy hands - safe hands Good and regular hand hygiene is one of the most effective things we can all do to combat the spread not just of CV-19 but of lots of other bugs and viruses as well. When school reopens we will continue to follow and will reinforce our healthy hands campaign that we launched at the start of the pandemic. Developing good hand hygiene habits is one important way that we can all keep each other safe so starting the process at home would help us all to stay safe. Never leave home or return home without washing your hands. Simple detergents work well against CV-19 We can all encourage good, healthy hands behaviours in our everyday family life. If parents want to provide their child with a hand sanitiser product to carry with them, that’s fine but please keep it to small bottles and remember if the alcohol content is less than 60% it is unlikely to be effective. Good hand cleaning with a simple detergent is still more effective than hand sanitiser. When in school, staff and students will be expected to sanitise their hands before entering any classroom,office or eating area. We have fitted 75 hand sanitising stations throughout the school at the entrance of every room so there can be no excuses. Free standing stations will also be placed in school reception, the staff entrance and to the entrances in the restaurant. NHS hand hygiene advice including a short effective hand washing video can be found here. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/ Clean clothes Covid-19 can survive for a time on fabrics. It is important to try and eradicate this virus at every opportunity and even though the prevalence of the virus in the general community has reduced dramatically, increased personal hygiene is a major contributor to keeping safe. Government advice suggests that wherever possible, staff and students should wear clean clothes each day so in relation to school uniforms, this may mean washing or changing them more frequently. It is important that students in school do not share common objects that they need to hold in their hands so please make sure that they bring some simple things with them like pens, pencils, geometry sets, calculators etc that they may need during their lessons. Do not bring unnecessary items to school. Drinking directly from water fountains will not be permitted so we are encouraging students to bring a reusable drinks bottle for their own use. 5. Deciding on the best way to get to school and back The government advice about the best ways to get children to school is to encourage walking or cycling wherever possible. We know that many of our students already do this. For those who drop children off, there may be other students who are involved with your family as part of the advice on social bubbles that may safely be able to share a ride in order to reduce the traffic movement around school. We will be trying to avoid mass-gathering of all students at the front of school so we are actively encouraging parents to think carefully about avoiding bringing vehicles to the front of school. There will be major building work in progress at the front of school in September, continuing until the half term break and a temporary reception in operation adjacent to the sixth form entrance. So please have a think about safe drop off points where your children can safely walk to school in say 2 to 5 minutes. Getting to school on the bus is always an issue for everyone to get right at the start of a new school year but obviously for the start of 2020/21 it is a much more contentious area. The issue of public transport is an important feature of getting people back to work and school. Face coverings are compulsory on public transport for everyone, including children over the age of 11.
Please follow all of the advice and guidance issued by transport providers by Cheshire East Transport Solutions Team and if applicable, the team at Cheshire West. We will be supporting students and transport providers to support safe behaviours, but recognise that the system is not within our control. Please apply for places on school transport as soon as possible. 6. School starts promptly at 8:40 am as normal When students get to school they need to be ready to manage themselves and the people around them in a safe manner. The front of school will look very different in September as our building programme will continue until the first half term. If everyone has the same expectations then it will be simpler for students to keep themselves safe. All students will enter via the gates situated between the maths block and the art block. This gate will close promptly at 8:40am by which time all students should be in their seats ready to start tutor time. Students who arrive late for school Students who arrive after 8:40am when school starts will need to queue to access the school reception where they will be recorded as late. The temporary school reception is located next to the sixth form reception. This is the main entrance for everyone during the day including visitors and two metre social distancing in the queue will be compulsory. Road markings now identify a pedestrian zone and two meter spacing Hand sanitising on entry to school reception is compulsory for EVERYONE. This may take students some time to enter. Students will only be admitted one at a time. We will do everything we can to process them quickly but it will always be preferable for students to arrive on time. One of our Heads of House will be on hand to manage the late arrivals each morning. We will discourage the usual mass dropping off and gathering of students in large numbers outside of school and discouraging students from gathering in groups of more than six. Large groups of students and smaller groups where no attempts are being made to maintain a safe distance from each other, will be required to comply with our safe behaviours before being allowed to enter school. Once in school, we will introduce a number of required safe behaviours to reduce the risk of spreading CV-19. We will strictly enforce no more than six students together in a group, discourage physical contact at all times and maintain a two meter ‘no go zone’ around all staff members. Students who arrive early for school The school dining room will open at 7:45am for students who arrive early. The dining room will be open and a limited selection of breakfast products will be provided as normal. This area is not staffed by teachers so parents dropping their children off before school opens do so at their risk. No responsibility is accepted or implied for the supervision of students before the duty staff take up duty at 8:20am and the school opens to students. There is no access to the rest of the school from the dining room until 8:20am 7. Moving around school Managing the movement around school and the social interactions of students is likely to be a significant challenge. The following behaviours will help us to manage the risks involved: ● The wearing of face coverings will be compulsory inside the school buildings for everyone. ● Students must keep their distance from each other and personal contact of any description will be discouraged at all times. ● Students in groups of more than six will be dispersed. ● Students will at all times, maintain a 2 metre distance from any staff member. ● Hand sanitising will be compulsory for students and staff on entering every classroom, every lesson. ● Unnecessary movement of students or staff around school will be discouraged and kept to a minimum. ● In all corridors, everyone will walk in single file and stay to the left. ● Drinking directly from water fountains will not be permitted under any circumstances. Drinks bottles may be filled for personal use. ● Additional signage will be in place around school as there will be major building work underway which will change the normal flow of students and staff during the first half term. The changes we are introducing are aimed at reducing the risks around the transmission of CV19. Managing the behaviours and systems appropriately will facilitate the delivery of high quality education across the full curriculum. Failure to follow the instructions around social distancing, hand hygiene or any of the additional measures put in place to manage the threat of CV-19 will be dealt with using the schools behaviour system. Persistent or deliberate failure of a student to follow the instructions may lead them to be sent home for the safety of others. Protect yourself, Protect each other - Keep our school community safe.
8. Managing the classroom Classrooms are the key areas for teaching and learning but they are also the place where some new disciplines are needed in order to get back to normal. Now that we have the structure for classrooms and classroom behaviours identified, everyone can get back to teaching and learning with some confidence. Most classrooms are broadly similar but once they have been arranged in a safe manner there may be some differences in capacity. This may mean some room changes where groups sizes are bigger than the room capacity. Outside of every classroom there is a wall mounted hand sanitiser dispenser. EVERYONE students or staff, must sanitise their hands on entering a classroom. Anyone not doing must be challenged. Students and staff will wear appropriate face coverings when in the classroom unless two metre social distancing is possible. We will work with parents and students on an individual basis where there are specific concerns about the impact of wearing a face covering on their physical or mental health. In the classroom, tables and chairs will be arranged in rows with all seats facing forwards. Face to face contact within one metre should be avoided for more than a few minutes. There will be a two metre exclusion zone around the teachers desk area that neither students or other staff should enter. Teachers should not queue students outside of classrooms. It is important for students to use the hand sanitiser and then as quickly as possible to enter the room and sit down. During lessons, student movement around the classroom must be kept to a minimum. Classroom doors and windows should remain open to help airflow unless a fire alarm sounds. Students should wherever possible, try to sit next to the same people in different lessons or to keep to a minimum the number of different people they may sit next to throughout their day. If it becomes necessary to work with the NHS Test and Track service, the classroom seating plans will provide us with the information needed to assist in the identification of students and staff who have been in closest contact during lessons. Every classroom will have a supply of tissues and a disinfectant spray to deal with any issues of students coughing or sneezing onto desks, although the use of face coverings is likely to reduce the risk of contamination of hard surfaces. At the end of the lesson, students should be asked to leave the room from the front row first and then one row at a time to reduce the possibility of students coming into direct contact with each other. In preparation for the return to school, the keyboards and mice have been replaced with new ones on 700 computer stations. They will need to be cleaned with disinfectant wipes after every use. Classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned using industry standard detergents and cleaning products everyday. During the school day, members of the school cleaning team will be available to assist with maintaining a safe environment.
9. Break and lunchtimes Morning break will continue to be scheduled as normal but year groups will be separated into social bubbles. Students are already taught in classes specific to their year group but this will now be extended to separate outdoor areas designated for each year group and these areas will be strictly enforced. Designated areas for year group bubbles will be: Year group 7 - Lower tennis courts Year group 8 - Canopy area and internal courtyard Year group 9 - Section 1 - Large tennis courts Year group 10 - Section 2 - Large tennis courts Year group 11 - Section 3 - Large tennis court Students will be actively discouraged from congregating in groups of more than six, social distancing will be encouraged and physical contact is not permitted under any circumstances. For morning break, food will be available to purchase from the dining room for year 11 students each day as normal. A second food outlet will be in place in the current small gym for students on a year group rotation. Wet break arrangements will remain as normal. Lunchtime Lunchtime will run in a similar way to breaktime with year groups restricted to their designated areas. Students will not form a lunch queue in the usual areas but will stay in their designated area until instructed to walk to the dining room in single file to the left. When they get to the dining room tables will be set out but with a reduced capacity to allow for better spacing. A second food outlet will be in operation in the gym which will reduce the demand on the dining room. Fingerprint identification will be replaced with swipe cards to avoid cross contamination. Meal deals, (one hot hand held option plus a cake or cookie and a drink) will be available for £3. Each will be handed over in a paper bag. No plastic trays or eating utensils will be necessary. Students should put all rubbish in the paper bag when they have finished lunch before disposal. Following lunch, students should return to their year groups designated area. During morning break and lunchtime, there will be no ball games on the designated year groups areas. The PE department will however run a football scheme on the 3G all weather pitch each lunchtime where teams from upto three year groups will be able to play sport for 30 minutes each day.
Wet lunchtimes During wet lunchtimes, the designated year group areas will change but all other arrangements stay in place. Designated year group areas: Year group 7 - Drama theatre 1 Year group 8 - Area 1 - Sports hall Year group 9 - Area 2 - Sports hall Year group 10 - Area 3 - Sports hall Year group 11 - Section 3 - Gym 10. Toilets Toilets are a key area of concern both in terms of hygiene and capacity. The number of students in each toilet block will be restricted and students will need to que until capacity comes available. All toilets will be available at lunch and break time. All toilet areas will be thoroughly cleaned at various points of the school day. Daytime cleaning staff have been recruited to support this. Expected behaviours: Students should leave the toilets clean after use. Inappropriate behaviour in the toilets cannot be tolerated. Students should wait outside for space to become available. Hand washing is compulsory when visiting the toilet. Students leave the toilets promptly to enable other students to enter. Social distancing and increased hygiene standards will also mean that the schools toilets will come under pressure in terms of controlling the number of students in each toilet block at any one time. This is an area where developing safe behaviors at home can help maintain a safe environment. Simple things like going to the toilet before leaving home each day would help to reduce pressure on toilet facilities at the start of each day and reduce the potential for cross contamination. If the routine is toilet first, wash hands thoroughly and then set off for school, then it’s a good routine to develop. 11. Going home At the end of the school day students will be asked to leave school quickly and to disperse. Those waiting for school busses will do so in an orderly manner and must wear face coverings on school or public transport. We will work closely with transport providers to help manage the appropriate behaviour of children from our school. We will discourage all parents from trying to pick up students from in front of the school and ask parents to think about agreeing to pick up points with their children up to five minutes walk away from school. Obviously, we have a small number of children who for for various reasons need more specific arrangements to be made and we are happy to discuss these in advance.
12. Promoting safe behaviours in summary Keeping our school community safe whilst ensuring the delivery of high quality education across a wide and varied curriculum will very much depend on everyone adopting safe behaviours. There are a number of behaviours just to summarise that have been identified at various parts of this document. ● Clean hands are safe hands, wash them frequently, sanitise before entering classrooms. ● Wear a face covering when inside the school buildings - On the balance of probability, it is likely to make school safer to do so. ● Always stay at least 2 metres away from any staff member when in or around school. ● Do not make physical contact with anyone in school ● Avoid face to face contact with anyone within 1 metre of you ● Wash your hands thoroughly after visiting the toilet ● Do not congregate in groups of more than six ● Walk down the corridors in single file and on the left ● Stay in your designated year group area at break times ● Don’t drink directly from water fountains ● Only bring to school essential items ● Consider the best way to come to school and where to get dropped off. Managing these behaviours. Maintaining safe behaviours is very important as we try to keep each other safe. It is inevitable that managing these behaviours has implications for our behaviour policy, but infringements will be dealt with in the same way as all other behavioural issues. In order to do this as efficiently as possible, we will be displaying reminders about safe behaviours all around the school. We will be amending our list of ‘positive and negative behaviours’ to reinforce this message and students who don’t comply will be challenged accordingly. Our behaviour escalation will operate in the normal way to enable us to mitigate the risks of unsafe behaviours. Teaching staff, student services and SLT will use the school’s normal sanctions to challenge and respond to persistent infringement of covid safe protocols. 13. Keeping our plans under review
These are very much unprecedented times not just for schools. It is important that we constantly review the arrangements that we have put in place as we all start to plot the route back to the new normal. In developing our plans, we have taken into account the emerging evidence and guidance from a number of sources. We recognise that in most aspects of our plans, we could make different decisions and make different judgements. What is clear, is that the guidance in general, is not prescriptive and leaves final decision making to schools and colleges such as ours to make the best plans to suit the local needs. We have tried hard to balance the educational needs of our students, the workplace safety of our staff and the need to mitigate the potential risks of CV19 in developing the overall plan.
The current low level of Covid-19 in the community has enabled the government to relax the general measures that have restricted the movement and interaction of people in the community. These measures are set to continue changing over the summer and into autumn so we will review our plans every two weeks, taking account of the very latest guidance and advice. The arrangements will be formally reviewed on:
Monday 10th August 2020
Monday 24th August 2020
Monday 7th September 2020 (first full return to school) Monday 21st September 2020
Monday 5th October 2020
Monday 19th October 2020 (immediately prior to half term)
As part of the ongoing review process, we would welcome feedback, comments and views from parents, students and staff. We will take everyones comments into consideration when reviewing the arrangements and the impact they are felt to be having on the overall safety of our school community. All comments should be sent in via the Nocv19@hccs.info email address which will be monitored throughout the following weeks and months.
Protect yourself, protect each other- Keep our school community safe.