I’m sure that all staff and school leaders (as well as the children), were cautiously optimistic (as I was), about returning to school on Monday. We were tasked at CVPS with the responsibility of caring for the children, giving them a taste of a ‘new normal’ and keeping children as well as our adults all safe in school. As robust as our consultation and risk assessments have been, we never know whether plans are fully effective until the children try them out. And they have totally enjoyed trying them out as the pictures and parents have told us! Staggered start/finish times are working well – and the one way system at the front of the school has benefitted from strong support from our families. Thank you. We have sanitised every surface in sight several times by the end of the day and the children now line up to go out, to come in, to wash hands.
During the day the children each sit at their own tables and have their own individual sets of stationery, books, devices in the older classes, as well as water bottles and even sets of colouring pens. They chattered excitedly as they discovered the contents on the first day back! As staff we have become used to thinking twice before we touch anything – is it the only way or can we talk the children through what they are doing to get them to move their own things. And then there are times if any of the children have been distressed for any reason, we do still comfort them in the way we would usually, which means we can’t be socially distanced, but straight afterwards we both go to wash or sanitise our hands, and try and keep things lighthearted as we do. If this is what we need to do to stay safe, and keep our school operational we are up for that. Learning is important but the priority has been for the children to learn the new routines, remember how to chat to friends but from a distance, and to focus on the many positives.
Seeing the children enjoy one another’s company, spend time chatting after many weeks apart, engaging in learning activities like painting, techonology lessons using construction toys, and having a ready selection of reading books, really has been an absolute joy to see. The very first child to return at the very front of the line on Monday morning at 8.15 ready to come to school filled us with delight. Rigid with excitement, gritting her teeth jumping up and down and saying excitedly “I’m coming to school, I’m coming to school!” has most definitely made all the planning and developments very worthwhile and was not an isolated case.
And it’s because of the successes this week that we will be sending out information today or Monday about a proposal that we have discussed as a staff team that will allow more children to return. We have carefully considered the government guidelines, and watched national statistics which continue on a positive trend in terms of reduced incidence of the virus. We are mindful that the government are now leaving it to schools to decide whether we can welcome more children back, so that’s what we’ve been doing at CVPS this week.
Staff consultation about proposals
I’ve been totally bowled over by our incredibly positive staff team when we have discussed the proposals to extend opening. All staff including the non teaching teams are fully committed to reopening the school and have contributed significantly to the school plans, with expertly considered adaptations to systems to prioritise safety as well as children’s enjoyment. Governors have also been included in this process, and I am exceptionally proud to be working with such a competent team of committed, but sensible professionals. CVPS, as well as many others have been done an absolute disservice by the national media coverage of the school reopening process. Many schools have worked to find creative, safe, solutions to the many challenges we face, and this week we have seen that these solutions have been effective.
We fully appreciate that our proposal may not be the ideal for everyone they have taken the whole team the majority of this week to plan – and some of the structural arrangements have already been in the offing – to be able to secure bookings, especially when external suppliers of equipment have been concerned.
We are required to complete a written school report this term to send out to parents. Last year worked exceptionally well using email addresses for these reports to go out, so we intend to continue with this again this year.
Please can all families confirm your email address on the parent survey when it is sent out on Monday next week re the reopening proposals so that we can make sure your child’s school report goes to exactly the correct address.
Minimising risks – note to Nursery, Reception, Y1 and Y6 families
We have been trying to be realistic about risk, and reassuring families that CVPS is as low risk as possible for the children in our building. To support this please ensure that you do not send anything into school with the children.
If you have messages that need to be passed onto staff and they aren’t free to be able to talk about it during the drop off time, please contact the school by phone, email the office info account or use the facebook pages or messenger which is monitored during working hours.
A huge thank you to all families for supporting all the new system so well on the whole this week!
And finally here are just a few photos of our time this week…