COVID-19 Information

We will use this page to keep you up up to date with any useful information about Coronavirus in relation to school.

St Margaret Ward Catholic Primary School is committed to keeping children and staff safe now everyone is returning to school full time. We would like to inform you about what we will be doing and what we ask of you as parents or carers to support this, including what to do if your child shows symptoms of coronavirus. 

What are the arrangements for drop-off and pick-up?

To ensure that the number of people on site is controlled, there are restrictions to entrance gates and drop-off/pick-up times. There will be staff on hand to guide you if you are unsure.

 

Drop-off
between…

Pick-up
between…

Where to drop-off & pick-up?

Enter/exit to school site by…

Nursery

am: 8.50-9.00

pm: at 12.30

am: at 11.40
pm: 3.15-3.25

Nursery door

Hurst Avenue gate

Reception

8.40-8.50

3.05-3.15

Reception door

Hurst Avenue gate

Year 1

8.40-8.50

3.05-3.15

Y1 Classroom door

Cherry Lane gate

Year 2

8.40-8.50

3.05-3.15

Playground door

Cherry Lane gate

Year 3

8.40-8.50

3.05-3.15

Y3 Classroom door

Hurst Avenue gate

Year 4

8.50-9.00

3.15-3.25

Courtyard gate

Hurst Avenue gate

Year 5

8.50-9.00

3.15-3.25

Playground door

Cherry Lane gate

Year 6

8.50-9.00

3.15-3.25

Chapel door

Cherry Lane gate

 

  • All adults must wear a mask at drop-off and pick-up times unless a genuine medical exemption applies. Please inform Mr Hughes if this is the case.
  • If you are dropping off children at more than one location then please use the gates which are nearest for entry or exit so as to minimise the time that you are on site.
  • School gates will not be opened until five minutes before the start of the earliest drop-off and pick-up window (e.g. 8.35am and 3.00pm). Please do not enter the school grounds (unless attending Breakfast Club) before any of these times.
  • Only one adult per family should drop-off and pick-up. Year 5 and 6 children can walk to and from school with permission from their parents. Please inform school.
  • Please help us by ensuring you follow the procedures and do not gather at entrance gates or doors longer than is necessary.

How do I contact the school office?

The school office will remain closed to face-to-face visitors until further notice. Messages can be passed on to the class teachers via the members of staff on the various entrance doors.

If you do need to contact the office, then please ring 969 9852 or email office@smwprimary.net. Mrs Shaw and Mrs Murray will be on hand to help you as usual.

Now everyone will be back in school full time, it will not be possible for teachers to reply to messages on Seesaw as happened during lockdown. Please contact the office, by telephone or email, and your message will be passed on.

Can my child wear a face mask?

In line with current guidance from Public Health England, the wearing of face masks is not recommended for primary school pupils at present.

As previously stated, adults at drop-off/pick-up (including staff members on doors and the playground) must wear a staff. In school, staff members and visitors wear masks when in communal areas to limit the possibility of transmission across the school.

For your information, masks in primary schools are not currently recommended for the following reasons:

  • In primary schools, it should be possible to avoid the sort of close contact seen in corridors and on public transport, where masks would be beneficial. Increased cleaning routines and hand washing are much more effective measures for younger children.
  • Most primary children will not be able to manage masks properly, and if adults have to help them, then this partially defeats the object.
  • There would be negative impacts on communication and thus education.
  • If used, this would be for long periods. They would become damp and this would reduce the impact that they may have.

Also note that face masks, when used correctly, are not actually intended to protect the wearer. They protect others from the wearer.

Staff members may also use PPE (e.g. masks/visors, gloves, apron) when attending to someone who is displaying symptoms or administering first aid to an individual who is not in their bubble.

What are the arrangements for school dinners?

School hot dinners will be available. The full menu can be viewed on our website. https://www.smwprimary.net/information-for-parents/lunch-menus

We will assume that you will continue your same choice of either a school dinner or own packed lunch unless you inform us otherwise in advance.

Lunchtimes will be staggered and lunches will be eaten either in the classroom or the hall to minimise mixing between different classes.

Will Breakfast Club and Bright Stars be open?

We are pleased to confirm that Breakfast Club and Bright Stars will be open at the usual times, with extra safety measures in place such as:

  • Both clubs will take place in the hall and chapel, rather than the Bright Stars classroom. Please drop off and pick up from the old Church entrance
  • Children will be in smaller ‘bubbles’ according to age. This may mean that some siblings may not be able to mix.

Will there be after-school clubs?

The sports clubs, run by Nathan and Colin, will run from the week beginning March 8th. Numbers will be limited and extra measures are in place to promote social distancing. Forest Schools after-school club will also take place. Instructions on how to book places on the clubs have already been sent to parents. Please ensure payment is received before your child starts.

How will school reduce the risk of coronavirus during the school day?

While the risk from coronavirus cannot be completely eliminated from any part of our society at the present moment, we are working hard to minimise this risk as much as possible within school. There are a number of additional safety measures which we are taking to do this, including but not limited to:

  • No individual who is displaying any symptoms of coronavirus will be allowed on site, while strict Public Health guidelines will be followed if a member of our school community tests positive.
  • New drop-off and pick-up procedures will control and limit the number of individuals on site.
  • All children will have their hands sanitised on entry to the building. Regular hand washing, supervised where necessary, will take place at other times during the day, such as before and after breaktimes and lunchtimes.
  • Children will be kept in class-sized bubbles of up to 32 pupils for the majority of the day. All lessons apart from PE will take place in their classrooms, with the exception of some pupils in Year 6 who will have some lessons in the Bright Stars room.
  • On some occasions, however, class-sized groups are not compatible with managing the practical logistics within and around school, therefore there may be some mixing between some children from more than one bubble for short periods. Controls will be put in place to still manage and minimise this.
  • Lunchtimes will be staggered with a maximum of two classes in any one area – either in the hall or on the playground/field. At lunchtimes, children in the hall will sit in their own bubble distanced from any other bubble. Breaktimes will be staggered with a maximum of two classes on the playground and/or field at any one time.
  • As the government has stated, social distancing within schools is not always possible, especially with younger children. However, children are distanced as far apart as is reasonably practical in their classrooms and, where appropriate, individual desks will be utilised and placed facing forwards.
  • Staff will attempt to limit their close interaction (within 1m) with children as much as possible, while still providing a high level of education and care. Windows are opened to increase ventilation and outdoor spaces are used for learning as much as possible, including for PE and Forest Schools.
  • Some resources, such as pens and pencils, have been allocated to each child and are kept in their own plastic wallet. Some sharing of classroom resources is reasonably unavoidable, but this will still be restricted to within their own bubble, unless thoroughly cleaned between uses.
  • Home-school reading books will be controlled to reduce the possibility of cross-contamination between school and different households. The majority of homework will be online for this same reason.
  • Movement around the building will be controlled and no large gatherings such as whole-school assemblies will take place.
  • Visitors to the site will be restricted and sanitising stations will be at entry/exit points for those who have been authorised. The school office will be closed for face-to-face visitors, unless by prior arrangement.
  • Enhanced cleaning routines will be in place for toilets and high-contact points during the school day.
  • Water fountains which are used by more than one class will be out of use. Children should still bring in their own water bottle already filled with water. This will then be re-filled from a jug by one individual during the day.

Further information of the all the measures being taken are detailed in our full and extensive risk assessment which is published via the link at the bottom of ths page.

Can I keep my child off school if I think it is still unsafe?

While school understands you may still have concerns about your child returning, it is the expectation for all children to be in school. If you wish to discuss your concerns with Mr Hughes personally, please get in touch via the school office on 969 9852.

What should I do if my child or another member of our household shows symptoms of coronavirus?

Please do not send your child into school if they or anyone in the household is unwell, awaiting test results or has been tested positive.  

Remember the most common symptoms of coronavirus (CoVid-19) are a recent start of any of the following:

  • New continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • High temperature - this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • Loss or change in your normal sense of taste or smell - this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Children may also display gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea.

If a child or member of staff becomes unwell with coronavirus symptoms while at school, they will be sent home and advised to isolate until the result of the CoVid-19 test is known. The school will arrange any necessary cleaning.

How do I get a test?

If your child or anyone in your household is displaying symptoms of coronavirus, you must book a test. Further information can be found via this link https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/

When you have the result, please tell the school whether it is positive or negative.

What happens if a child or staff member tests positive?

The person and any members of their household should isolate for 10 days from the day after the onset of symptoms. The person needs to be free from a fever prior to returning to school. 

They will not be allowed back in school until the period of self-isolation has been completed.

Those identified as contacts within their school (children and adults) will be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 10 days (and offered testing if symptoms develop).

The other household members who live with the person in the class/group do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with in that group subsequently develops symptoms.

If my child tests positive, do I need to tell people they have been in contact with?

Yes. You need to log onto the NHS Test and Trace portal https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk/ and share details of all their close contacts.   All close contacts (household, school related or any other close contacts) will receive a letter or text to advise them to self-isolate.

What happens if my child tests negative?

Your child can return to school when they feel better and are free from a fever. Household members can end their isolation straight away following the negative test, unless someone else in the household is waiting for the result of their test.

What do I need to do if either myself or my child has been in ‘contact’ with somebody who has tested positive?

A ‘contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (CoVid-19) anytime from 2 days before the person was symptomatic up to 10 days from onset of symptoms (this is when they are infectious to others). 

For example, a contact can be:

  • People who spend significant time in the same household as a person who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Close personal relationships/partners
  • A person who has had face-to-face contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), including: being coughed on, having a face-to-face conversation within one metre, or having skin-to-skin physical contact, or any contact within one metre for one minute or longer
  • A person who has been within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) for more than 15 minutes
  • A person who has travelled in a small vehicle with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or in a large vehicle or plane near someone who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)

In a schools/setting context, if you or your child is deemed to fall into one of the ‘contact’ categories above then you/they must self-isolate at home because you are at risk of developing symptoms in the next 14 days and could spread the virus to others before the symptoms begin. If you have concerns for your health, contact your GP or NHS 111 online. In an emergency, contact 999.

Are children at risk of infection?

Children of all ages can catch the infection, however children make up a very small proportion of CoVid-19 cases, with about 1% of confirmed cases in England aged under 19 years. Children also have a much lower risk of developing symptoms or severe disease.

Can children pass on the infection? 

There is some uncertainty about how much asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic children can transmit the disease. However the evidence so far from a number of studies suggests children are less likely to pass it on, and do not appear to play a major role in transmission.  Most children with CoVid-19 have caught the infection from adults and not the reverse. This is in contrast to seasonal ‘flu.

What happens if somebody in wider school community tests positive?

If a member of our wider school community (e.g. a parent/carer, a member of our cleaning staff, a governor) tests positive. They need to let the school know immediately so they can identify if the positive person has had contact with anyone who attended the school in the previous 48 hours before the onset of symptoms or date of the test.  Contact tracing will take place to understand the types of contact the individual has had both in school and out of school.  

Our risk assessment was updated to take into account measures from the March 8th full re-opening of school. Please click on the link to view.

We would like to reassure you that we are doing all we can to keep your children safe and we thank you in advance for following this advice and guidance.