Covid-19: Important information for Parents
4th January Update – 8pm
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement tonight, I will write to all parents tomorrow (5th January) regarding the plans for reopening and remote learning.
It is my intention to ensure that Rookwood remains open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. If your child qualifies for such provision and you would like them to attend school, please email firstname.lastname@example.org by 2pm tomorrow (Tuesday 5th January).
Thank you for your patience as my team and I review the latest changes.
Re: Additional Measures during National Lockdown
The government has now updated its advice to schools regarding remaining open during the period of lockdown, starting tomorrow (5th November 2020). On the whole, most measures we already have in place will continue as last half-term. However, it is essential that all pupils do follow the rules (for example, Senior School pupils wearing face masks when inside buildings unless at their classroom desks). We are also implementing the following changes:
During the lockdown period, all parents (unless exempt) should wear face masks when collecting and dropping-off children at the nursery gate. This is due to the proximity between parents and the supervising staff. Please also remember to follow the one-way system and maintain social distance between groups when queuing along the path.
Unfortunately, due to staffing constraints, we have had to reduce our hours for a small number of families in the nursery. Those affected have already been contacted and I apologise for this inconvenience. We do hope to return to a full service as soon as practicable.
After School Provision
During lockdown, schools will be unable to provide after school extra-curricular activities. We can continue to provide wraparound childcare, but only if it is necessary to “enable parents to work, seek work, attend education or training, or for the purposes of respite care for carers”.
We anticipate that most pupils will leave at the end of the normal school day. We will provide supervised study, in separate bubbles, until 5pm (collecting by 5.15pm at the latest) for those in Reception to Year 11.
Parents must book places by emailing email@example.com by 2pm on the day you require supervision. It is possible to book multiple days at a time and, if you subsequently need to cancel the booking, please do inform the school as soon as possible. We will confirm rooms once we understand demand.
Start of Day Routine
Morning arrival times, including Breakfast Club, will continue as normal. However, it is essential that different family groups maintain their social distance at all times and vacate the site swiftly. Lower School teachers will still be available for brief discussions, but parents and staff will now need to wear face masks when doing so. Ideally, please use email communication instead.
End of Day Routine
To help with traffic flow, Years 3 to 6 can be collected from the main playground from 3.45pm (starting tomorrow). The collection time for other years remains unchanged. Parents should wait by their cars and their children will be sent to them, wherever possible.
Additional Music and Drama Lessons
We are still waiting for clarification as to whether peripatetic lessons can continue during lockdown. Until we receive direction to the contrary, these lessons will continue with after school lessons rearranged into the school day.
As currently, wherever possible, meetings with teachers should be online. In exceptional circumstances, if this is not possible, meetings should be coordinated with drop-off or collection in order to prevent unnecessary travel.
There may be some changes to the boarding routine, especially at the weekend. Ms Dwyer will be in contact with boarding parents about these changes in due course.
When you must keep your child off school..
You must not send your child to school, including the boarding house, if:
• They develop one or more symptoms of Covid-19:
o High temperature
o New, continuous cough
o Loss or change to sense of smell or taste
• They are self-isolating due to them or someone in their household having symptoms of Covid-19
• They are self-isolating (in quarantine) because they have recently returned to the UK from overseas (unless from an exempt country – list available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors#countries-and-territories-with-no-self-isolation-requirement-on-arrival-in-england)
If your child develops any symptoms of Covid-19 whilst in school, you will expected to collect them from school without delay. The school has systems in place, in line with the local Health Protection Team guidance, to safely monitor your child’s symptoms whilst keeping them isolated until they are collected.
If a child develops any symptoms of Covid-19 they must self-isolate for 10 days and members of their household must self-isolate for 14 days. Parents are strongly urged to obtain a coronavirus test (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus).
Your child must not return to school during the self-isolation period, even if they feel better, unless and until they (or the person self-isolating) receive a negative test result.
Rookwood School recognises that this is extremely inconvenient for parents, especially with the current difficulties many people are experiencing obtaining a test.
If your child receives a positive test result, you must inform the school as we are required to take additional action. This may include closing the school to some or all year groups.
I am pleased to confirm that our school minibus routes will resume from Monday 7th September. There will be additional measures in place, including only using alternate seats and requiring all passengers, of any age, to wear a face mask/covering. This is because children from different bubbles will be in close proximity to each other. There is more information about face masks, including limited exceptions to this rule, in the next section.
All families wanting to use school transport must register their interest by completing the online booking form. As every year, we will confirm the exact routes and timings once returns have been received. We may be able to add additional stops, depending on demand – such requests should be included on the booking form. For further information, please visit our website: https://www.rookwoodschool.org/school-bus-routes/
All staff and all Senior School pupils (Year 7 upwards) must carry a face covering with them, unless exempt on medical or other grounds (if your child is exempt, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so that staff can be informed). Face coverings must be worn inside all communal areas of buildings (foyers, corridors, locker areas and communal toilet areas), except the Main Hall during lunch. This is because different bubbles are likely to come into close proximity with each other in these areas, albeit for short periods of time.
Face coverings should be removed once at a desk or workstation in classrooms. This is because the pupils will then be within their own social bubble, with desks appropriately spaced apart and having been cleaned between lessons. Furthermore, in order to facilitate teaching and learning, it is important that pupils and teachers can see each other clearly during lessons.
Face coverings are not required in the Main Hall during lunch time as additional measures will be in place, as outlined in a later section.
Lower School pupils (up to Year 6) are not required to wear face coverings, except on school transport. This is because the movement of younger pupils around the site will be much more controlled than in the Senior School, for example with staff escorting individual classes in and out of Paddocks in order to avoid groups mixing, and also because the risk to younger pupils is lower than for older pupils and adults.
For hygiene reasons, pupils should use a fresh, clean face covering each day. For environmental reasons, we highly recommend that pupils have a rotation of washable coverings. As a last resort, pupils who have forgotten their face covering may collect a disposable mask from the main office.
The following advice applies to all pupils who use a face mask in school or whilst travelling to or from school:
• Hands should be washed or sanitised before and after touching a face mask
• Try to avoid touching the mask whilst wearing it
• Take particular care to avoid touching the front of the mask (the area which covers the mouth and nose) including when taking the mask on and off
• If a mask gets wet, it should be removed and replaced with a dry mask
• Masks should be stored in a sealable plastic bag when not being worn (a sealable sandwich bag is sufficient)
• Disposable masks should be disposed of in waste bins (not recycling bins)
Pupils are expected to provide their own masks and plastic bags. However, as a last resort, both can be obtained from the main reception.
There will be frequent cleaning throughout the school day with a particular focus given to higher risk areas, such as key pads, door handles and toilet facilities. Where possible doors will be wedged open, provided it is safe to do so.
Pupil desks and work stations will be cleaned between class changeovers. To support this and in order to promote responsibility and leadership, older pupils will be expected to get involved with cleaning their individual areas. Pupils will receive appropriate instruction and supervision, in line with the relevant risk assessments and best practice.
Hand washing and sanitising
All pupils will be encouraged to wash their hands regularly during the school day. Furthermore, hand sanitiser will be available in all classrooms and offices.
Lockers, mobile phones and other personal belongings
Pupils will be allocated individual lockers (Senior School) or trays (Lower School) in order to store their books and other personal belongings, as well as PE lockers for relevant year groups. Care must be taken to maintain social distancing whilst accessing lockers and staff will be present, whenever possible, to remind pupils of this and to encourage kindness and mutual respect.
Mobile phones should never be used in school and, for most pupils, it is better for phones to remain at home. It is acknowledged that, in a small number of cases (for example, if using public transport), it is safer for a pupil to have their mobile phone with them. In which case, phones must be switched off and out of sight. We will no longer collect phones centrally due to the logistical problems with social distancing. Furthermore, this measure encourages individual responsibility and self-restraint.
The use of mobile phones during the school day remains strictly prohibited and we will enforce appropriate sanctions if this rule is ignored. If a pupil ever needs to contact home, they may use the telephones in the school offices.
All pupils are expected to wear full school uniform. This should be the new ‘blue blazer’ uniform. However, some year groups may still wear the old uniform until the end of term (‘grey blazer’: Years 2 through to 6; ‘black blazer’: Years 9 and 10). Year 11 may remain in the old uniform for the whole academic year. Our uniform supplier is able to provide sanitising spray in order to protect blazers, ties and other difficult to wash items.
I am pleased to confirm that we will return to providing a full lunch service. There will be additional measures in place in the Main Hall, including protective screens at the food counters, socially distanced queuing and allocated tables for each bubble.
Snacks will be provided for younger children, as normal. Older children are welcome to bring in their own snack (strictly no products containing pineapple or nuts). Please note there will be no tuck shop running at this stage.
Learning support and other 1:1 sessions
Individual learning support, counselling and LAMDA lessons will resume next term. However, there may be a delay restarting peripatetic music lessons as these use external tutors. Where appropriate, there will be additional measures in place for 1:1 sessions, such as protective screens or staff wearing face visors.
Wider social bubbles
In most cases, especially when inside buildings, pupils will remain within their year group bubbles and not interact with other bubbles. However, in order to provide an enriching curriculum (for example, PE) and only when it is safe to do so (depending on the age of the pupils and number of pupils involved), we may allow combined year groups for some outside activities. Initially this will only be:
• Reception, Year 1 and Year 2
• Year 3 and Year 4
• Year 5 and Year 6
At this stage, we will not run any mixed year group activities in the Senior School.
For logistical purposes, we will also operate a ‘Boarding Bubble’ in the boarding house and ‘EYFS Bubble’ within the Rookery building.
Breakfast Club will resume from 7.30am on Monday 7th September. However, due to the need to protect the boarding and EYFS bubbles, the club will operate from the Main Hall with separate tables for each year group. Attendance must be booked in advance by emailing email@example.com
Whilst I am keen to offer as normal an education as possible, the safety of the Rookwood Family is of paramount importance and therefore the measures above will be under constant review. I am most grateful to all parents, staff and pupils for your support and understanding, and I look forward to reopening the school to all pupils on 3rd September.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please do email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr Anthony Kirk-Burgess