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St John's C of E Primary School

School Re-opening Part 4

Dear Parents,

This week I have tried to provide you with bite sized chunks of information about the changes to school in response to Coronavirus.

I have explained: “bubbles”, “pinch points” and social distancing; and how these apply to St John’s.

TODAY’S TOPIC: HYGIENE

Two important things that we will be teaching the children when they come back are:

  1. You can catch Covid-19 from breathing it in (direct transmission).
  2. You can catch Covid-19 from touching a contaminated surface and then touching your face (indirect transmission).

Because of these two facts, we will need to teach children to do the following things:

  1. Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. Either into your elbow, or into a tissue which goes in the bin. Children with a persistent cough cannot come to school.
  2. Keep your social distance.
  3. Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds with liquid soap and warm water
  4. Don’t touch your face.

What extra measures have been put in place at school?

  • Wall-mounted hand sanitisers have been installed in all classrooms and entrances to the building.
  • Children will wash their hands when they arrive in school, before playtime, after playtime, before lunchtime and after lunchtime.
  • Hand dryers have been replaced with paper towels for thorough drying of hands.
  • All surfaces have been cleared so that they can be thoroughly cleaned regularly throughout the day.
  • All the internal doors will be propped open so that children will not need to touch door handles.
  • A cleaner will be onsite throughout the school day to wipe high-use areas eg bannisters, light switches, tables, etc.
  • Parents will not be allowed into the building and we will continue to communicate via email and phone.

Are there any problems with this?

Our biggest problem will be the time this will take. Each child has to wash their hands for 20 seconds. They can only go into the toilet one at a time as the sinks are very close together and don’t allow for social distancing. It is likely that we will have to supervise the hand washing to ensure it is done properly, and that only one child at a time is in the room.

When all the children return, that means organising 30 children to wash their hands one at a time for 20 seconds each; which those of you that are quick at maths might have realised is going to take 10 minutes! And that doesn’t allow time for actually going to the toilet, or moving in and out of the room-whilst carefully keeping a distance between you and the next person in the queue. And we would be doing this five times a day…

The second problem is finance. Potentially we will need £6000 to install an extra sink in each classroom. We will also need to pay for an additional cleaner, and as more children arrive in school, this might need to be two cleaners. Money we use to improve hygiene is clearly essential, but it is still money that is taken away from our job of educating. I think that the future of education is going to include a lot more digital devices, and that is where I would like to prioritise our spending.

The final problem is that we won’t be able to welcome parents into the building. I sincerely hope that this situation won’t be long term as one of the best things about St John’s is that we are open to everybody. Parents are as welcome as their children, and we have always welcomed you in. For a while, though, we will not be opening the main doors, and you will be asked to remain outside. Me, Mrs Hedges and Mrs O’Keefe will come outside before and after school so that we can catch up with you, but you will have to leave your children at the specified entrance. Any messages/ concerns will have to be emailed to the teacher, or you will be welcome to call the school.

Best wishes,

Mrs Seymour

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