Covid Parental FAQ
Now that the students have returned to school, parents, understandably have many questions and concerns. We have created a COVID FAQ list below and further information about what to do if you or your child has symptoms of Covid-19.
- Does my child have to go to school?
Yes, as of September 2020 the Department for Education has reapplied the law. It is compulsory for your child to receive full-time education.
- Why does my child have to go to school?
Returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental to children’s cognitive and academic development. Lower academic achievement also translates into long-term economic costs due to having a less well-qualified workforce. This affects the standard of living that today’s pupils will have over the course of their entire life.
- What will happen if I don’t send my child to school?
From September onwards, the usual rules on school attendance will apply. If your child is of compulsory school age it is a parents’ duty to ensure that they attend regularly at the school where they are a registered pupil. We are legally responsible for recording attendance and following up pupil absence. The aim would always be to work with parents/carers to resolve any issues or concerns around attendance
- Will my child be safe in school?
Yes. The Academy is following Government guidelines on reopening schools to children. Students are in a bubble and your child will stay in this bubble. We have also have completed a risk assessment, and this will be regularly updated We also have enhanced cleaning arrangements. You can help us by asking your child to sanitise their hands regularly, not touch their face, cough into their elbow, use tissues and bin after use and to do what the academy asks them to do to ensure their safety
- What if my child is anxious about going into school?
It will be normal for some children to be worried about returning to the academy. Talk to them about their concerns and use these FAQs to help answer any questions they may have. If your child seems particularly anxious, talk to the academy.
- I’m really anxious about my child returning to school.
This is a time where everyone has anxieties. Be assured that we will be following Government guidance and taking every precaution to ensure the safety of everyone working within the academy. This includes all children, all staff and any visitors to the academy.
- My child has been shielding, can I keep them off school?
No, shielding advice for all adults and children paused on 1 August, after a continued decline in the rates of community transmission of Covid19. This means that even the small number of pupils who will remain on the shielded patient list can return to school, as can those who have family members who are shielding. If you have concerns, you may like to talk to the consultant/paediatrician working with your child.
- My child has a serious medical condition which has required them to be shielded, will they be safe at school?
Yes, we will be following Government guidance and taking every precaution to ensure their safety. However, you may like to talk to the consultant/paediatrician working with your child for more specific information. The academy will work with you/the medical professionals to ensure any additional safety measures are put in place.
- My child has a serious condition and medical professionals have advised against a return to school. Will I get in trouble?
The Academy would like the medical professionals to confirm this is the case. This could be by letter, phone call or email from the professionals. Then, and because they are complying with medical/public health advice, we will be able to immediately offer your child access to remote education. These activities will be monitored. Absence in this case will not be penalised.
- What if my child has symptoms?
If your child has symptoms of coronavirus (high temperature, a new, continuous cough, loss or change in sense of taste or smell) the child and their household need to follow the Government guidance on self-isolation (www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance) and arrange for your child to be tested (call 119 or book through www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test).
You also need to inform the school.
- When should my child self-isolate
You must self-isolate immediately if:
- you have any (a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
- you’ve tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus
- you live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive
- someone in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive
- you’re told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
- you arrive in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk – see GOV.UK: how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK
The below chart may help you to decide the correct steps to take.
- What if another child in the class has symptoms?
We will be following Government guidance if this happens. The child will be sent home and asked to self-isolate. Children who have been in close contact with them do not need to go home to self-isolate unless the child tests positive, your child develops symptoms themselves or you have been requested to do so by NHS Test & Trace.
- I have just returned from a holiday abroad, what should I do?
Details about which countries can be visited without quarantine restrictions on the return are constantly being updated, check for the latest position on travel quarantine on the government website. If you find that your family is required to quarantine then your child must isolate at home for the necessary period. You should contact the academy and let us know so that homework can be provided
- What is the risk to my child?
Evidence suggests that the risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low but that there are negative health impacts of being out of school.
- How many children are in a bubble?
Students are in year group bubbles to allow pupils to have access to the whole curriculum and specialist teachers.
- Will my child’s ‘bubble’ have separate toilet facilities?
- I am concerned about my child sharing school resources. How can this be safe?
For individual and very frequently used equipment, such as pencils and pens, your child may be provided with their own items. Alternatively, you can provide these basic items in a pencil case, for your child. We expect students to have the correct equipment with them and it is important that you provide these. Classroom-based resources, such as books and games, can be used and shared within the bubble; these should be cleaned regularly, along with all frequently touched surfaces. Resources that are shared between classes or bubbles, such as sports, art and science equipment will be cleaned frequently and meticulously and always between bubbles.
- Will my child still receive the full curriculum?
- Will my child be in the same classroom all day?
Students in Year 7-9 will remain in the same room for all lessons and it is the teachers who will move around. Students in Y10-11 will move within the same 9 rooms (for each year group) so as to attend option subjects in different groups. We have also adapted staggered break times and lunchtimes to create time for the cleaning of surfaces in the dining hall between groups. Passing briefly in the corridor or playground is low risk.
- Should my child wear a mask in school?
There was originally no requirement to wear masks but guidance from the Government changed on 25 August. We will allow students to wear face coverings in communal areas at their own discretion. If you feel it is necessary for your child to wear a face mask in the classroom please contact your Head of Year.
Where local lockdown restrictions apply, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils in the academy when moving around, such as in corridors and communal areas, where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
- Will my child’s teacher be wearing a full mask?
In most cases, teachers will not be wearing full masks. However, there are a few situations where this may be required – for example, if a member of staff must provide close medical care for your child.
- My children have different start times – why is this?
We are trying to reduce contact between children at particular pressure points in the day. These include drop off and collection times. Children will still receive a full education; the academy has adjusted the timetable to accommodate this. If this causes problems, please talk to the academy. Please do not gather at the academy gates.
- Where will my child go if it rains before the start of the day?
The Academy would like to reinforce the importance of students wearing an appropriate overcoat during wet weather and would encourage the use of an umbrella. Please refer to the new start times for each year group.
- Will I be allowed to go into my child’s school?
You can only enter the Academy via an appointment. This is because of the meeting areas that we use, need to be fully cleaned after every meeting. Please do not turn up asking to see a member of staff without an appointment. If you need to collect an ill child, you will be asked to wait in reception, and a member of staff will bring your child to you.
- Will school lunches still be available?
Lunches are still available for all year groups from our bistro across two lunchtimes. The bistro still provides a wide range of healthy meal options with monthly themed days as it always has. Students in Year 7 will still enjoy a ‘family lunch’ service every other week in which students eat together and debate engaging topics with their teachers and peers in a structured environment. Year’s 7, 8, 9 and 10 are required to pre-order their lunch using the academy’s purpose-built form. Students that receive free school meals will continue to do so as they have previously. Finally, students are welcome to bring their own packed lunch from home as they always have.
Pre-orders and further details can be found at http://www.ormistonsirstanleymatthewsacademy.co.uk/food-ordering-for-pupil-lunches/
- Will hampers still be available to free school meal children from September?
As the government guidelines state that all pupils are to be back at school in September hampers will no longer be available and a free meal will be provided in school. Vouchers will no longer be issued to families in relation to FSM as all children are expected to be in school.
- My child has ASD. Is there anything I can do to support them with the return to school?
Your child may find change difficult and it is important that you help them to understand which parts of going to school will still be the same and what will be different – predictability and understanding will help your child to re-access school successfully in September.
- My child has social, emotional and mental health needs. How can I support them returning to school in September?
Whether your child finds change difficult or not, it is important that you help them to understand which parts of going to school will still be the same and what will be different – predictability and understanding will help your child to return to school safely and successfully in September.
How can I find out more about the academy plan?
You can get further information from the informational video below.