September 2020 – Whole School Opening

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September 2020 – Whole School Opening

Category : Events

September Opening Parent, Student and Staff Guide (v2 with face covering update):

Whole School Opening Document September 2020v2

Video briefings:

Year 7 – https://youtu.be/fesnHUgGS5g

Year 8 – https://youtu.be/fQg7d63WazU

Year 9 – https://youtu.be/_2QcC-wYz50

Year 10 – https://youtu.be/McaQFEND9-w

Year 11 – https://youtu.be/k8GqjUgsCCI

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented a great number of challenges to us and the whole education community. As part of national social distancing measures to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), limited numbers of children and young people have attended educational and childcare settings, to ensure that students and staff attending could do so safely. That is why, since 23rd March 2020, education and childcare settings have only been open to priority groups. As well as offering face-to-face provision for those able to attend, the school has provided a significant amount to support the remote education of those who have remained at home via Google Classrooms, MyMaths and paper based work packs.

By September 2020 a lot of students will not have been in school for five months.  In order to ensure that they return to full- time schooling safely, Ysgol Clywedog has carried out a risk assessment. These are the outcomes of the School Risk Assessment which has been compiled in line with Government Guidelines.

It is recognised that a return to the physical school site, will be difficult for some students and staff who will have experienced a range of challenges during the last few months. These challenges may have presented themselves as a result of ‘lock-down’; social distancing; illness; and, in some cases, bereavement. We’ll be kind and nurturing but get back to learning routines as soon as possible.

The approach is underpinned by the latest understanding of the science available to Welsh Government, which indicates the need for a phased approach to limit the risk of increasing the rate of transmission (often referred to as the R ‘reproduction’ value) above 1. The increased operation of the school is based on a stabilisation of the R-value. Therefore, should this worsen then the school will adapt accordingly, in line with local authority and Welsh Government advice.

The school has ensured that the latest guidance from Public Health Wales is at the core of any plans. This includes:

  • a requirement that people who are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 stay at home
  • robust hand and respiratory hygiene including ventilation
  • continue increased cleaning arrangements
  • active engagement with Test, Trace, Protect strategy
  • formal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise social and physical distancing between those in school wherever possible and minimise potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practicable.

How contact between learners, learners and staff, and between staff are reduced will depend on the school’s circumstances and should include:

  • grouping learners together
  • avoiding contact between separate groups as much as possible
  • arranging classrooms with forward facing desks, recognising this may not be
  • possible or appropriate in all schools/settings
  • staff maintaining distance from learners and other staff as much as possible.

It is anticipated that students, parents/carers and staff may feel apprehensive about the risks. However, the provision can be made far safer through adherence to the published government guidelines. These include social distancing, hygiene and self-isolation of those showing symptoms, or living with someone showing symptoms. This will minimise the risk of transmission of infection.

As in July, the decisions we have taken at school are based on what we feel is safe, practicable and directly linked to the existing scientific and medical information available. We will be working with our students and staff to reinforce the key messages of frequent hand-washing and good personal hygiene; maintaining social distancing and ‘bubbles’, as far as is reasonable, as approaches to reducing the risk of infection. Following an analysis of the school site, we have established the class size capacity. To reduce social mixing, each year group will form a ‘bubble’. These ‘bubbles’ will be situated in a designated form zones of the school. In other words, each year group will only use their own specified zone. We will also stagger key stage 3 and key stage 4 breaks and, regrettably, there will be limited use of specialist areas of the school, e.g. design technology workshops, to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.

The purpose of the guide is to explain how school will operate during September in the first instance. It may not address every question but it is designed to provide clarity on how and why school will operate in the way it will from the new academic year. I anticipate that we will need to review this as the term progresses and we will continue to reflect changes as Welsh Government assessments are made.

These changes are designed for the safety of all. Naturally, I trust families will appreciate that where a student is unable to follow these safety measures then the school will have to assess suitability of provision. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is that everyone follows the guidelines at school. This includes staff, who will need to model these behaviours. It will be tough, I am certain. However, collectively I am sure we can do it.

Thank you again for your support and cooperation to date, and for the coming weeks and months.

Matt Vickery

Head teacher


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