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Welcome back to Autumn Term 2020

 

We hope that you have all had an enjoyable summer holiday and are ready to embrace the challenge of a new academic year.

As you are no doubt aware, the Government has issued guidance that allows us to reopen for all pupils from the start of the Autumn Term.

We have been busy making plans in order for us to comply with the guidance so that we can make a swift start to the school year.

The keystone of Government advice is its “System of Controls” which focuses on the prevention of COVID 19 and the response to any potential infection. In this letter, I intend to outline our key processes to ensure the safety of your children and all the staff at Merit.

 

Please take some time to read the information and get back to us with any concerns you may have.

 

Autumn Term 2020

 

Teaching and learning: We will be welcoming back all year groups and intend to offer all curriculum subjects, with modifications to jujitsu, which is a contact sport and cannot go ahead without significant changes.

 

Each year group will form its own “bubble” as recommended by the Government. The new Year 11 cohort will form 2 groups owing to the small size of our classrooms. Pupils will not move around the building to the different classrooms to avoid crossover of groups in the corridors. Instead, they will receive all their lessons in one room for the duration of the school day and the teachers will move to deliver their lessons. Your child will therefore find that they are following a familiar timetable, but with different venues! Specialist rooms, for example the science room, will continue to be used where necessary, with all safety measures in place to minimise risks.

 

School equipment: your child will not be required to bring any school equipment into the building until further notice. All equipment will be provided by the school and will remain on the desk and a seating plan will be in place. Only your child will use the equipment on their designated desk. Additional equipment, such as calculators for example, will be wiped with antibacterial wipes prior to and after use.

 

Clothing: We would also like pupils to minimise the amount of clothing they bring into school, such as additional sweatshirts, coats and handbags. Uniform will need to be washed every night. On occasions, pupils may be asked to bring in equipment for outdoor learning or for the modified PE lesson. This should also be kept to a minimum.

 

Teaching staff: wherever possible, teachers will attempt to maintain a 2 meter social distance from the pupils, although this may not always be possible. As part of our protective measures, staff will be advised to avoid close face to face contact with pupils and minimise the amount of time spent within the one meter guideline. There will be some circumstances where masks and/or visors will be worn by staff.

 

Teachers will remain at the front of their classroom to deliver lessons and Teaching Assistants will circulate to support learning. Staff will be “crossing” bubbles so we have planned to ensure that when staff meet together, they are socially distanced, all hand sanitisation processes are adhered to and rooms are well ventilated. Some staff meetings will be “virtual”.

 

All pupils will wear a face covering at all times when in the school building. This can be a paper/disposable mask, a cloth mask (provided by you) or they can request a visor. When using face coverings, pupils and staff should not touch the front of these during use or removal. They should be removed by pulling them off from the rear or the side. Disposable masks should be placed in designated bins around the school site. Reusable face masks should be placed in a sealed bag or container when they are not being used, for example when outdoors at lunch or break times.  

Please speak with Mrs James if you have concerns about the wearing of face coverings.

 

Transport to school:

  • We would encourage all parents to transport their child as far as possible
  • No pupils or staff will use public transport
  • As far as possible, pupils will be the sole occupant of their taxis-this depends on funding
  • Pupils must get into the taxi with their mask on and keep it on for the duration of the journey to and from school
  • They must sanitise their hands before getting into the taxi and again when they get into the school building. This will be supervised by duty staff.
  • If it is not raining, pupils should consider travelling with the windows open for ventilation
  • If sharing a taxi, pupils should sit apart: one at the front and one at the back

 

On arrival at school:

  • Please note that the time for arrival is delayed by half an hour until further notice.  Pupils need to be at Merit by 9.30am at the latest, but not before 9am. This allows for the daily safeguarding briefing to take place, after which staff will be able to meet and greet the pupils to ensure they do not mingle. Taxi companies have been informed along with mainstream academies.
  • Pupils will enter via the main entrance
  • Pupils will have their temperature taken and will need to return home if their temperature is raised
  • Pupils will hand over their mobile phone to staff at reception. The phone will be placed by the pupil into a plastic wallet and will not be directly touched by our staff. Even better, mobile phones could be left at home.
  • Pupils will use the hand sanitiser provided before going into classrooms and sanitiser will be on every desk and at the entrance to all rooms
  • They will be directed to their allocated teaching room and the register will be taken. Unlike “normal” times, pupils will be registered with their teaching groups, rather than in their usual mixed groups. This will continue until further notice.
  • Boxes of tissues will be available on desks for sneezes! We will remind the pupils of the “Catch It, Bin It, Kill It” campaign to reduce the chance of droplets spreading in the classrooms.

 

Changes to the school day:

The structure of the school day will not change greatly. Breaks and lunchtimes will happen at the same times as usual, but pupils will go to the hall in their bubbles to have lunch at their designated times. When the weather is good, pupils can go out onto the yard area to eat and social distancing measures will continue to be observed. There will be the usual football and games as it is deemed safe to be outdoors.

 

This week:

When we last wrote to you before the holidays, we asked you to send your child in non- school uniform at the start of the new term. This is still the case.

 

Thursday 3rd September-non-school uniform

Friday 4th September-non-school uniform

The week commencing 7th September we will expect pupils to be wearing their uniform as usual.

We are so excited to be welcoming our pupils back to Merit and look forward to seeing parents and carers in the near future. If you wish to come into school, please make an appointment prior to your visit.

I will write to you next week to explain the procedures that we have in place if there is spike in local cases of Covid 19 or in the event of an outbreak in school.

 

With very best wishes,

 

Mel James and the staff at Merit.

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