Changes to School opening on 1st June
I have always been clear that Wirksworth staff and governors would follow the advice of the government during the COVID-19 outbreak. This afternoon advice has altered and therefore the plans that we had made to welcome back year 6 and all key worker children will have to change.
Having spoken to the Vice Chair of Governors this afternoon we have decided that, with this new information, we will only be opening for the children of key workers and vulnerable children during the week beginning June 1st, and we will be delaying the year 6 return to school until we feel it is safe to do so.
The following guidance was issued, from Derbyshire County Council this afternoon that contradicted the two metre social distancing advice on the government web site. I enclose a quote from this afternoon’s letter from DCC to Headteachers and Chairs of Governors.
Yesterday (Thursday 21st May) DCC was able to confirm with the Department for Education that:
the 2m social distancing issue within classrooms is essential and schools should not plan their classroom capacity to be based on anything less than 2m social distancing.
This is different to the two metre social distancing guidelines that we had had built our risk assessments and reopening plans on. This was produced following advice from the government that was published on May 11th and is still on their web site as I write this letter – I enclose the government advice below.
We know that, unlike older children and adults, early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain 2 metres apart from each other and staff. In deciding to bring more children back to early years and schools, we are taking this into account.
You can see that today’s information from DCC and the Department for Education is in contradiction to the advice on the government’s website. Therefore, for now we will not be opening the school to the year 6 pupils on Monday 1st June, but we still be open for children of keyworkers.
For those of you who class yourself as a keyworker, you must continue to book a place at school through the email firstname.lastname@example.org . Please note that key workers need to let us know if their child will need a place on the week beginning Monday 1st June, by 9am on Thursday 28th May for us to draw up rotas and prepare for children. Those who have already booked in you do not need to let us know again. Bookings must be completed no later than the Thursday before the following week of childcare is needed. If you know rotas for longer than a week we are happy to take bookings up until the end of term.
On June 1st, staff and I will welcome key worker and vulnerable children who have booked in and we will continue to send home learning for the children. We aim to use this extra time to gather exact numbers of parents who class themselves as keyworkers by making phone calls to gather this information from you. I
hope to have drawn up plans and risk assessments to share with you by Wednesday 3rd June, for hopefully opening to year 6 pupils the week beginning Monday 8th June, if it is safe to do so.
Before finishing I need to thank all of the staff for the work that they have done in preparing for June 1st, under the previous guidance, and their flexibility and adaptability to change.
Finally, I would like to say a word to the Year 6 pupils.
I am very sorry that I can’t open up so you can see your friends and teachers. I know you will be disappointed that you won’t be able to come to school to see friends on Monday 1st June, but we are working hard to make sure the school is safe for you to return. I will keep posting on Class Dojo and keep uploading your posts as I love reading and seeing what you are up to.
Parents, please give them an extra cuddle tonight and let them know that staff are also upset as we are not able to see them either but that we will be in school making it safe and ready for them as soon as we possibly can.