Coronavirus

Frequently asked questions

Last updated: 2nd September

In opening our schools to more children, each Compass School has conducted a thorough COVID 19 risk assessment in line with government guidance and has implemented safeguards and procedures so that we achieve an environment that is as safe as we possibly can, whilst understanding that we will not be able to eliminate all risks. Nearly all Compass schools have been open during the national lock down period and have well established procedures for managing the learning of children in an environment that is as safe as we can possibly maintain. Following the Government’s announcement that all children will return to school in September we are continuing to review our risk assessments to ensure they reflect the  latest guidance.

These FAQs aim to show you how we have responded to Government guidance and how we aim to maintain our environments in accordance with that guidance which we will keep under review as and when new guidance is published. It is important to emphasise that no environment is completely risk free. We are aware of the risks and this document shows you how we aim to control them as best we can.

Government guidance states that ‘Returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing’ and that the ‘risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low’.

If your child has an Education Health and Care Plan, your child has a named social worker, or you are a key worker, your child has been entitled to a place in school since the start of the lockdown period on March 23rd , when schools were open to this small group of children in order to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus and to protect the NHS. Since June 1st as the situation had improved, schools have been open to some year groups educated in ‘bubbles’. Since June 15th, schools have had the flexibility to bring other pupils back where we have had the space to do so.

Due to a decrease in the transmission of the virus, and the fact that the NHS Test and Trace system is up and running, the Government expects all children in all year groups to return to school at the start of the autumn term, full-time. The Government has stated also stated that from the beginning of the autumn term school attendance will be mandatory again and the usual rules will apply, these are:

  • parents’ duty to secure that their child attends regularly at school where the child is a registered pupil at school and they are of compulsory school age;
  • schools’ responsibilities to record attendance and follow up absence
  • the availability to issue sanctions, including fixed penalty notices in line with local authorities’ codes of conduct

Where pupils who are still be unable to attend school in line with public health/clinical advice, absence will not be penalised.

Children who are symptomatic or live with a family member who is symptomatic will be expected to follow the self-isolation guidance and not be in school. This is exactly the same for adults in school.

From 1st August the shielding advice for adults and children paused, which will remain the case provided there continues to be a reduction in rates of transmission of the virus. Some pupils who are no-longer required to shield from 1st August but who remain under the care of a specialist health professional should discuss their care with their health professional before returning to school in September. If they cannot attend due to clinical or public health advice they will be offered access to remote education.

You can read the guidance ‘What parents and carers need to know during the Coronavirus outbreak’ here.

You can read the ‘Guidance for full opening: schools’ here.

You can read the staying at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus here.

You can read the Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are extremely clinically vulnerable here.

You can read the full guidance ‘Actions for Schools during the coronavirus outbreak’ here.

For the return of all children in the autumn term, we will be working to the requirements set out in the latest government ‘Guidance for full opening’, which builds on the control and protective measures that have already been established in our schools:

  • requirement that people who are ill stay at gome
  • robust hand & respiratory hygiene – ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’
  • enhanced cleaning arrangements
  • active engagement with NHS Test and Trace
  • reducing contacts and maximising distance between those in school wherever possible

Reducing contacts may include, as far as is practicable, grouping children together, avoiding contact between groups, staff maintaining distance from pupils and other staff.

We will continue to work together with your children to maintain good hygiene practices, with children washing their hands throughout the day for at least 20 seconds with soap, when they arrive in school, when they return from breaks, when they change rooms and before and after eating. Catching coughs and sneezes with tissues and encouraging children to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.

Resources will not be shared between children until they have been cleaned, and frequently touched objects will be wiped regularly by staff. In the early years, resources will not be shared between groups of children.

The Government has recognised 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’. Furthermore, there are some children for whom, in order to keep them safe, it will not always be possible to maintain the recommended distance of 2 metres. We have therefore worked through the Government’s ‘hierarchy of measures’, as set out in the guidance Implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings:

  • avoiding contact with anyone with symptoms
  • frequent hand cleaning and good hygiene practices
  • regular cleaning of settings
  • minimising contact and mixing

We will continue to welcome fewer visitors in school than usual, who will mainly be providing ongoing maintenance services, safeguarding/therapeutic support. Governors will now attend school as required. Any external people entering school will be providing essential services. They will be expected to follow our COVID -19 visitor protocols and will only work in areas of the school where children and staff are not present. We have strict protocols in place in order to receive deliveries.

You can read the full guidance ‘Implementing Protective Measures in Primary Schools’ here.

From 1st August the shielding advice for adults and children was paused, which will remain the case subject to a continued reduction in rates of transmission of the virus. Some pupils who are no-longer required to shield from 1st August but who remain under the care of a specialist health professional should discuss their care with their health professional before returning to school. If they cannot attend due to clinical or public health advice they will be offered access to remote education.

Government guidance states that ‘individuals who were considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable and received a letter advising them to shield are now advised that they can return to work from 1 August as long as they maintain social distancing.’ The guidance also states that ‘People who live with those who are clinically extremely vulnerable or clinically vulnerable can attend the workplace’.

You can read the guidance on shielding here.

You can read the guidance for schools during the coronavirus outbreak here.

Handwashing is built into the normal school routine. Staff will monitor the pupils that they are working with and ensure that they are washing their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds when they arrive in school, at regular periods during the day especially after breaks, when moving from one location to another, that they are catching coughs and sneezes with tissues and then washing hands, and that they are washing their hands before and after eating. Staff will also encourage children to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. There will be posters reminding children of how to wash their hands in the toilets and staff will supervise handwashing after children visit the toilets. Younger children and those with complex needs will be supervised closely.

The school will ensure that it monitors its supplies of hand sanitiser, soap and other essential products that are needed to maintain good hygiene. The Trust has purchased main items centrally. The Department for Education are aware that some items will be in high demand and have a contact email for schools should they have difficulty in sourcing key products.

No. This is not recommended by government or their advisors. We will only take a temperature if a child reports they are unwell whilst at school.

Some of our complex children who may spit, or dribble, will have their temperature taken as an additional precaution, as identified on their individual risk assessment.

We ask that families ensure that they keep their children at home if they are exhibiting the symptoms of the virus, which are:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

It is also important that children isolate for 14 days if a member of their household develops COVID 19 symptoms from the first day these symptoms occurred. See the staying at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus here.

The School has written to parents advising them of the procedures and routines in place and what families can do to help us to keep both children and adults safe in school as safe as possible. We know that children will be excited to see their teachers and friends and we will ensure they are inducted back into school life so that they understand the new routines and expectations whilst we operate within the COVID-19 period.

Our Schools have remained open for children of key workers, those with an Education, Health and Care Plan, and those with a named social worker, since 23rd March.

The Government stated that schools could open more widely from 1st June for children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, which is in addition to those existing groups. The Government confirmed this decision on 28th May, stating that the opening more widely of schools to these year groups could go ahead, as the 5 key tests that they have set out, have been met. These are:

  1. making sure the NHS can cope
  2. a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rate
  3. rate of infection decreasing to manageable levels
  4. ensuring supply of tests and PPE can meet future demand
  5. being confident that any adjustments would not risk a second peak that would overwhelm the NHS

Having under taken a thorough review of the Government guidance, scientific advice, feedback from the recognised education unions, the Trust and school-based risk assessments and plans for re-opening, our Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to the wider opening of the Compass Schools, from 1st June 2020. Trustees agreed that they, along with the schools’ individual local governing bodies, will ensure close monitoring and review of the measures in place. They will also remain in close contact with the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

The Government recently announced that primary schools can welcome back children in years 2 – 5 before the end of term, if they have the capacity and staffing to be able to do this, in line with their risk assessments and the protective measures. Your school will contact you with the arrangements for this where this has been possible to arrange. Decisions will be based on our three principles of safety first, equity and fairness, outstanding learning for all.

We would encourage you to let us know about your work situation and will do our best to accommodate individual circumstances as far as is possible.

From the autumn term all children will attend every day.

Your school will provide you with the specific arrangements for your own child as these will differ from school to school and are dependent on a range of local factors including building capacity, staff availability and pupil numbers. I It is likely that staggered start and finish times will continue in September. Your school may also close early one day of the week for teacher planning time, tis will not impact the total number of teaching hours that your child will receive. Your school will communicate its specific arrangements with you directly.

Yes your child will still be able to have a school lunch, which, depending on the setting, may consist of a packed lunch initially as we welcome back higher numbers of children. Where your child receives a packed as opposed to hot lunch we hope this will only be for a short period.

Unfortunately we will only be able to open for the groups of children determined by the Government which are currently nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6. Not all of our schools will be able to open to the wider year groups as this will need to be determined by staffing and capacity. We understand that this could cause difficulties for many of our families. Key worker children, those with a named social worker and those with an Education Health and Care Plan will of course continue to be entitled to attend school.

From September, if your child is not in school for public health or clinical reasons they will be able to access learning at home through our Compass Essentials Curriculum. This is the same offer that children in school will be receiving. We understand that the circumstances of every family will be different and therefore only ask that children at home complete the amount of learning that is possible in relation to your family’s individual circumstances. The Compass Essentials Curriculum offer is published on the school website and on the Compass Partnership of Schools’ website.

Your school will communicate who your child’s teacher will be prior to September.

From September, children will either be organised into full class groups of 30 or by year group, according to your school’s circumstances. Groups will not mix with each other.

Where possible, schools will endeavour to keep staffing consistent but this may not be possible due to the complexities of rotas and the number of staff who may be self-isolating.

The Government does not (based on current evidence) recommend the universal use of face coverings in schools. This evidence will be kept under review. In primary schools where social distancing is not possible in areas outside of classrooms between members of staff or visitors, for example in staffrooms, headteachers will have the discretion to decide whether to ask staff or visitors to wear, or agree to them wearing face coverings in these circumstances.

Based on current evidence and the measures that schools are already putting in place, such as the system of controls and consistent bubbles, face coverings will not be necessary in the classroom even where social distancing is not possible. Face coverings would have a negative impact on teaching and their use in the classroom should be avoided.

Face coverings are required at all times on public transport, in shops (for children over the age of 11) or when attending a hospital as a visitor or outpatient.

You can read the full guidance here.

All children can be tested, including children under 5, but children aged 11 and under will need to be helped by their parents/carers if using a home testing kit.

Anyone who displays symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can and should get a test. Tests can be booked online through the NHS testing and tracing for coronavirus website, or ordered by telephone via NHS 119 for those without access to the internet. Essential workers, which includes anyone involved in education or childcare, have priority access to testing.

As key works, teachers and other staff working in schools, can apply for a test through the Government scheme if they have coronavirus symptoms. If school staff have symptoms and are due to be in school, they are asked to follow government guidance and self-isolate in accordance with their circumstances. Please see full guidance here. The School maintains a record of staff absences as part of our normal attendance procedures and have adapted this for COVID-19, in accordance with government guidance, in order to support staff on when it is appropriate for them to return.

The Government guidance recognises 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’. We have worked through the hierarchy of measures’ as set out in the guidance Implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings.

Classroom layouts have been adapted to facilitate social distancing with children seated at desks that are as far apart as possible. Assemblies will take place virtually. Break times have been staggered to reduce the number of children using the playground and arrangements have been made for playground activities that will ensure social distancing can continue as far as is possible.

From September, groups will be arranged in full class sizes of 30 or year groups, in order to minimise the number of contacts children and staff have. In line with government guidance, staff will maintain a 2 metre distance from pupils and other staff as far as it is practicable. This will not always be possible, particularly when working with younger children. Children who are able to understand the concept will be supported to maintain distance and not touch staff where possible.

If there is a confirmed case in school we will follow the Government guidance for educational settings which is here.

If there is a confirmed case in school we will follow the Government guidance and contact the local health protection team. This team would also contact the school directly if there has been a confirmed case through NHS Test and Trace. The health protection team will confirm who was in contact with the person during the period they were infectious and ensure they are asked to self-isolate.

You can read the full guidance here.

We will continue to follow government and local health protection team guidance and direction, and remain in regular communication with the Royal Borough of Greenwich. We will keep our school communities up to date with any changes that may need to be made, giving as much notice as possible.

Staff will continue to help children when they are upset or injured.

If a member of your household develops coronavirus symptoms we ask that you inform the School that your child will be absent due to the fact that you will be following the Government’s staying at home guidance here.

The School is cleaned every day by our contracted cleaning company.

We will regularly wipe frequently touched surfaces and handles throughout the day. We are following the Government guidance for cleaning in non-healthcare settings. You can read the full guidance here.

Resources will only be used by one child at a time where this is possible and wiped clean at the end of each day. In the early years resources will be cleaned at the end of each session.  The use of resources in the Early Years will be restricted so that these can be cleaned at the end of each day. Hand washing after engaging with equipment will be key in the early years.

From the autumn term, classroom based resources, such as books and games, can be used and shared within the bubble; these will be cleaned regularly. Resources that are shared between classes or bubbles, will be cleaned frequently and carefully and always between bubbles, or rotated to allow them to be left unused and out of reach for a period of 48 hours (72 hours for plastics) between use by different bubbles. Outdoor play equipment will be cleaned frequently and similar rules on hand cleaning, cleaning of the resources and rotation will apply.

Staff will supervise handwashing after children have used the toilet.

Staff will supervise the numbers of children entering and exiting the toilets in order to maintain social distancing as far as is practicable.

Playtime and lunchtimes will be staggered in order to maintain social distancing as far as possible, but at the same time enabling children to get fresh air and have a break from the classroom. Staff will remind children about how they can interact with their friends on the playground, according to the small ‘bubble’ groups that they have been organised into.

Children will spend the majority of their time in their classroom with individual desks arranged as far apart as possible, and facing forward from September.

Your school will provide you with specific guidance in this area.

If public transport is your means of bringing your child to school and you do Staggered start and finish times will continue in September to enable more journeys to take place outside of peak travel times, where this is possible. Walking and cycling to school where possible is encouraged. You may find the Government’s safer travel guidance for passengers helpful, which you can access here.

The Government states ‘Returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing’ and that the ‘risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low’.

You can read the full guidance here.

Home learning will be provided through our online learning platforms. Any children without access to technology will be provided with paper packs. Please ensure that you make the school aware of your situation so that this may be recorded.

We may need to join classes according to staffing available. All decision-making will be routed in ensuring the safety of children and staff. Class sizes will be a maximum of 15 children and these small ‘bubble’ groups will not mix with other small groups. A teacher, and if required, teaching assistant, will be allocated to each small ‘bubble’ group, which they will stay with for a minimum period of a week, this arrangement is to reduce the mixing of pupils and staff.

The Government states ‘We want to get all children back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know it is good for children’s mental wellbeing to have social interactions with other children, carers and teachers’. The guidance also sets out the latest scientific advice to government which is:

  • ‘there is high scientific confidence that children of all ages have less sever symptoms tan adults if they contract coronavirus and there is moderately high scientific confidence that younger children are less likely to become unwell if infected with coronavirus
  • limiting the numbers of children going back to school and college initially then gradually increasing numbers, guided by scientific advice, reduces the risk of increasing the rate of transmission’

You can read the full guidance here.

We are taking all necessary measures to keep our schools as safe as possible.

We recognise that the rules can seem confusing for children and so we will regularly remind them about how to keep themselves safe in school in an age-appropriate way. The format of the school day is also organised so as to best enable pupils to follow the rules. Our principles, values, expectations and standards of behaviour will remain the same. It is important that children feel that these are consistent. We have adapted our behaviour policy to reflect the current context.

Your school will provide you with specific details in this area if they normally run a breakfast and after school club.

We have a bereavement policy that will guide all staff in situations such as these. We recognise that this could be a very traumatic time for children and families and are fully prepared to support everyone who needs it. This may include signposting or referral to specialist services.

We have reshaped our curriculum to ensure children are given more time to explore concerns and issues that may arise or have arisen during this crisis.

If a child or adult experiences coronavirus symptoms in school, they will be sent home and advised to follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection guidance. They will be advised to self-isolate for 7 days and to arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus, through NHS.UK/NHS 119. Fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days. The child’s parent or staff member will be advised to update the school as soon as they receive the outcome of their test.

If they are awaiting collection, they will be moved, if possible, to a room where they can be isolated behind a closed door, depending on the age of the individual and with appropriate adult supervision if required. If it is not possible to isolate them, they will be moved to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people. PPE will be worn by staff caring for the individual while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as for a very young child or a child with complex needs).

In an emergency we will call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk.

We will follow the Government guidance COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings guidance and the Government guidance COVID-19: implementing protective measures in education settings.

If there is a confirmed case in school we will follow the Government guidance and contact the local health protection team. This team would also contact the school directly if there has been a confirmed case through NHS Test and Trace. The health protection team will confirm who was in contact with the person during the period they were infectious and ensure they are asked to self-isolate. You can read the full guidance here.

September transition

  • Children who are joining our Reception in September will be contacted after half term with start dates
  • July information meetings will be recorded and sent electronically
  • An information pack will be developed to support parents to ensure their children are school ready
  • There will be no home visits, but phone calls will be made in advance
  • Virtual parents and children sessions will take place through google meet to support children getting to know their peers, staff and school

 

How we will organise the day

  • Parents will not be able to come into class to settle children
  • There will be no messy play that involves hands (e.g. playdough, shaving foam etc)
  • Play such as mud kitchen, water and sand will be monitored for hygiene and children will only be able to access these resources in their ‘bubble’ groups. ‘Bubble’ groups will be rota’d in order to use these resources
  • Children will be supervised to wash their hands before eating snacks and these will be distributed by their teacher/teaching assistant
  • There will be no free flow between classes
  • Bubble groups will be rota’d to access the outdoor space at different times and will not mix with other groups
  • Children will be spaced out as far as possible on the carpet, if space does not allow then use tables will be used
  • Children will be supervised to wash their hands regularly, and supported with this by adults and with songs
  • Children will be encouraged to spread out during play
  • Toys will be cleaned on a daily basis and will not be shared outside of bubble groups. Toys that are difficult to clean have been removed from the classroom
  • Children will be talked to about not putting their hands in their mouth, good handwashing, avoiding physical contact