Letter to Parents/Carers (26/08/2020)
26 August 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
We are very much looking forward to welcoming students back to Havelock for the new academy year. The last year has been a difficult one for everyone and we are keen to get our students back in the classroom, focusing on their learning. We have a strong programme to support student wellbeing in these unprecedented times. The government is clear that they want all students back in school in September and we share this view. They have launched a campaign for this and links can be found in our dedicated Ready to Return website: https://www.havelockacademy.co.uk/ready_to_return/.
There is nothing we want more than having our students back in school, with routines as normal, or as near to normal as we can make them with the extra safety restrictions and guidelines in place. Our website contains our most up to date communications with parents, as well as other key information, including our COVID-19 Risk Assessment information.
We have worked hard over the summer to ensure the academy and teachers are ready for a safe return, with the following expectations in place for everyone:
- Students will sanitise hands regularly, including on entry to each lesson (sanitiser provided)
- Good hygiene will be encouraged at all times for everyone within the school
- Following new guidance from the government this week, we strongly recommend that students and staff wear plain face coverings in all communal spaces (such as corridors) and when travelling between lessons
- Students will wear their PE kit for school on days where they have PE (more further down)
- Students will sit in rows in lessons wherever possible, facing the front
- Students will be outside during social times (break, lunch) as much as possible to minimise risk
- No mass gatherings inside (such as Open Evenings, Awards Evenings) until further notice
- Assemblies will be delivered via “Teams” or similar technology to individual classrooms to avoid mass gatherings within school wherever possible
- After school activities will be limited during the first half term
- Students will know how to access remote learning, with support given in school for this, in the event of any future lockdown.
Behaviour expectations must be adhered to for everyone’s safety and students will be reminded of these expectations on their return. There are no excuses or exceptions for poor behaviour or disruption to the safety measures we have put in place. These are for everyone, staff and students, so it is imperative they are followed. We thank you in advance for discussing these expectations with your child and supporting us in this new way of working.
I would also like to draw your attention to the parent information booklet which includes the addendum to our Behaviour and Ethos policy, taking into consideration some of the issues surrounding social distancing and a new “no touch” approach – with non-contact sports, and no physical contact between students, even when playing. This booklet was shared just before the summer holidays via post, and is also available on our website here: https://tinyurl.com/y2toz72u (Please note the change in guidance on face coverings since the booklet was issued, with face coverings now strongly recommended and encouraged for all students and staff in corridors and communal areas.)
Our priority as we prepare to return is for the safety of our students, staff and community. In recent weeks, more evidence has emerged that looks at the risks of Covid-19 transmission in schools. Public Health England and other organisations have been carrying out studies into transmission of the virus amongst young people, and although full results have not yet been published, the preliminary findings show risks are minimal, with key points for us being:
- Northern Lincolnshire is not a high-risk area for the spread of Covid-19 and infection rates are very low
- Children are at a lower risk of contracting Covid-19 and those who do are likely to show only mild symptoms, with very few children across the world having fallen seriously ill or died from the virus
- Transmission between children and from children to adults is also low according to this preliminary research.
Taking into account this information, alongside the government guidance we are opening as planned with our new year 7 cohort joining us for two induction days on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th September. The days will start at 8.30am and finish at 2.50pm.
We will then welcome Years 11, 12 and 13 into the academy on Friday 4th September. This is a very important day for these students as this day will include lots of additional information and help to prepare them for a very busy year ahead, as well as their first face to face subject lessons for some time. The day will start at 8.30am and finish at 2.50pm (for sixth form students see the additional information from Miss Woodhouse which may include some bespoke times for some).
All other year groups will return on Monday 7th September for the new academy year. Please see the parent information booklet on the website (and linked to above) for the timings of the day for the individual year groups and arrangements for the split breaks and lunchtimes.
Students will be able to purchase lunch at the academy but we would like to encourage parents who wish to top up lunch money accounts to do so online via ParentPay to avoid the need for students to use the thumb scan machines with cash in school, as there will only be limited access to these machines at the end of each day. Hot and cold lunches will be available to purchase, with a more limited menu in the first instance. Students may bring a packed lunch with them if they prefer to do so.
Following an uncertain period with only a partial opening in the run up to the summer, I can confirm that our high expectations regarding academy uniform and equipment and attendance will return for the start of the new term next week. This includes Academy bags, black, polishable shoes and our Academy blazer and tie. Students will be encouraged to go outside, weather permitting, at breaks and lunchtimes as we know this is the safest place for them so they may choose to wear a coat and we strongly encourage this. Students should be make-up free with natural hair colour (hair length must be a minimum grade 2) and false nails are not permitted. Please visit our website if you would like a reminder of any of our uniform expectations.
We will have very limited access to changing facilities for PE lessons, and where possible these lessons will take place outside whenever the weather allows. For the time being, on a day when a student has PE, they must come to school in their PE kit and wear it for the full day, with their blazer if they wish over the top for warmth. As guidance is changing regularly, we will update you on this as soon as there is a change and we can return to using changing facilities in school.
Students must bring their own equipment, including pen, pencil, ruler, protractor (but no compass), calculator and pencil crayons. For safety reasons, we are unable to lend students pens or any other equipment to avoid contamination. We recommend that equipment is cleaned each evening. Equipment can be purchased from Student Services at break and lunchtime, as well as after school. Calculators and academy bags can be purchased from the main reception during our staff training days on 1st and 2nd September between 9am and 3pm. If you visit the academy during these two days to purchase equipment, please follow social distancing expectations at all times and we recommend the wearing of a face covering. Outside of these two days, please avoid visiting reception without an appointment, with our preferred way of communication being email or telephone during this time.
Students should attend every day and arrive on time. The academy will be open to all year groups, with attendance expected unless students are displaying any COVID-19 symptoms, in which case they should self-isolate and get tested as per government guidance. As a reminder, the symptoms to look out for include a raised temperature, a new continuous cough (for prolonged periods), and a loss or change to sense of smell and/or taste.
In preparation for return, there are a number of ways that you can support as parents and carers, including ensuring that students get back into good sleep routines, bringing bedtimes forward and ensuring they do not sleep with a mobile phone or other electronic devices in their bedroom; Ensuring that students who have changed hair colour, had piercings or taken the opportunity of an extended break from school to have acrylic nails applied, are back adhering to our rules by the first day of term; Ensuring students have a healthy breakfast before they leave home. In the initial month of term, food will only be available at lunch times. We hope, in the future, to reintroduce our breakfast club and our break time catering but these will not be in place to begin with.
Finally, we look forward to welcoming back all of our students and staff for the new academic year and would again like to thank all of our parents and carers for working with us over the recent difficult times. If you have any concerns or need to contact the academy ahead of the new academic year then please email us directly. If you do not have direct contact details for the member of staff you would like to contact, or are not sure who the best person is to deal with your enquiry, then please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will ensure your enquiry goes to the right person.
In the meantime, thank you for your ongoing support of the academy, and stay safe.