Dear Parents and Carers,
A very productive but full-on week nears its end. We’ve made great strides over the last few days, putting together the complicated jigsaw that reopening the school is proving to be. We have first of all put measures in place that encourage social distancing. We have co-ordinated safe routes around the school building, internally and externally. We have put up signage to remind, guide and assist everybody to travel safely. Classes have been reformatted to welcome the smaller groups, with desks moved and one way systems established. We have cleaning stations and procedures for regular handwashing. It may be unfamiliar, but it’s been done as child friendly as possible and is of course for the benefit of their safety. Children are adaptable and will see plenty that they recognise, despite these changes; most significantly, their very welcoming teachers, who will be excited to see them!
On top of all this, we have conducted the complicated task of getting our heads around the logistics of having various year groups, spread across different days, with siblings in on the same day, plus a boy/girl balance and a rota for staggered breaks in allocated play zones outside. Side by side with that, we’ve sorted the restart of our Key Worker RSS childcare provision from Monday and allocated staff to care for those children for the rest of term on a rota basis.
All identified risks have been mitigated as much as possible. Those measures have also been included in the letter I sent to you earlier this week, so that the whole community is informed and on board with the way forward. The sheer amount of factors that staff have had to consider in this whole process, has been staggering and I am very grateful to them for their input to put together this plan, which is one I am very confident will work.
When the Minister of Education first announced the framework by which schools would reopen, I was very much in opposition. This was because of the scale of demands on staff to put such a plan together in such unprecedented times, on top of ensuring the paramount considerations regarding safety were in place. I should never underestimate what the staff can pull off though, despite those astronomical demands and we have all worked together positively and diligently to make the school as safe as we possibly can. Governors have been much encouraged by what we have done and from the significant positive feedback received from the school community, parents have been too, when they would rightly be in need of great reassurance.
Shielding – One thing I would like to request, is that any families with a member living in the household who is shielding, but is intending to send their child back, contact me directly for a discussion. Public Health Wales guidance indicates that they should not return without a very strict risk assessment, to determine whether it is appropriate.
Welsh Government – Please be aware that discussions continue nationally, regarding many elements of the framework for reopening schools. If the situation changes in any way, or any amendments need to be made to the plan as a result, I will let you know.
Key Worker Childcare – The Ruthin Hub has been a positive example of schools working together to provide childcare for our Key Workers. As schools now begin the process of reopening, that childcare now reverts to the parent school. We want to wish all the pupils we’ve got to know over the last few months well as they return! There can be no additions to the list of pupils accessing this provision, without a discussion regarding eligibility with myself, so please get in touch if you need this service and all carers in the household are Key Workers, having no alternative childcare. Many thanks.
School Uniform – You will be aware from the plans put in place, that our pupils will not need any school uniform until September at the earliest. I have been in discussions with Workplace Worksafe, who are very understanding of the situation and wish to be supportive and helpful to any parents regarding uniform orders. I will liaise with them over the Summer as the picture becomes clearer, so that they will have enough stock when the time is right. I am sure they will address any queries you have directly.
Twitter – I understand and acknowledge that Twitter has been quieter this week, due to the scale of the work taking place here behind the scenes. However, please continue to share your activities, experiences and photos and we can keep everybody enthused and motivated, through seeing all the positive home learning that is going on.
Have a lovely weekend and remember I am always the other side of the email inbox to address and respond to any of your queries.
Thank you for your ongoing support. It means a lot. Please tell your children to keep smiling – we’ll see many of them soon and can’t wait!
Bryn D. Jones