Reopening Letter for Parents

Dear Parent/Carer

As we look to reopen school we have worked closely with Public Health England and Infection Control to consider how we can adjust our systems to reduce risks further and keep Rainford High open. This has led to a number of adjustments rather than wholesale change.  We will no doubt have further positive cases of coronavirus but our aim is simple: to keep the school open for as many children as possible.

We have continued to develop our remote learning approach and capacity so that every lesson will be available for every child online from Monday 12th October. These lessons cover the same content of knowledge, skills and understanding that students would cover across the curriculum if in school. Our aim is to ensure that no student will be left behind if they engage and use the support available to keep on top of their learning across all their subjects when absent from school.

Below are the actions we are taking to reopen the school on Monday 12th October.

  1. 1. Reduce student movement further at Key Stage 3. 

At the present time we have operated a system of one large bubble that we allowed to mix in a number of ways to accommodate curriculum, student movement and subject requirements. This in effect gave us a super bubble with 5 mini bubbles. From Monday October 12th that will be reduced to one super bubble with three mini bubbles. This means some students will be in new forms and new classes with a different teacher for some lessons. Although disruptive, we have been advised that the reduction of movement is key to reducing the risk of the virus spreading.

  1. 2. Consistent seating plans in Key Stage 3

The majority of lessons will use a single seating plan, that used currently in English, and then all other seating plans in Art, Design and Technology, Science, Maths and PE will need to take account of the single seating plan when grouping students. This is to ensure we can operate a far more focused track and trace system to reduce the number of students self-isolating when we have further positive cases of coronavirus in school.

  1. 3. Contact logging

All students will need to update a daily contact log on Google Classroom using phones during the school day. This will take account of anyone they are in contact they have had close contact with. For this purpose, it is someone they have been within arm’s length of and have had a face to face conversation with for more than a minute. It is not standing behind someone in a line when wearing a mask or passing by someone on a corridor or in the playground. This will support the school in running an accurate track and trace system in identifying which students need to self-isolate and remove the need to isolate whole classes and year groups.

  1. 4. Hand washing and sanitising workplaces’

Students will need to follow hygiene protocols and be supported with following them at any time they move classrooms even within the year bubble. This includes hand sanitising and sanitising desks.

  1. 5. Face masks and coverings

These will be worn in all communal areas such as corridors and changing rooms, as well as on the way to ordering food in the canteen. They will also be worn on buses going to and from school. Teachers will proactively enforce the wearing of masks when students leave classrooms and move around the school. We ask students and parents to support us in this.

  1. 6. Key Stage 4 and 5will have accurate individual lesson seating plans and expect effective hygiene protocols to be followed in all lessons. Students will need to distance effectively when moving around the school which should be possible due to the significant reduction in movement in Key Stage 3. This will be supported by accurate contact logging.
  2. 7. Increased levels of ventilation

Classroom window and doors will be open to improve air flow around the building. This means that student who may be cold should wear a jumper. A plain grey jumper in KS3 and a plain black jumper in KS4 will stop students being cold and prevent requests for them to wear coats in lessons. These requests will be denied. The school ventilates the whole building every night for three hours to create the best environment possible in the present situation.

  1. 8. Student Responsibility

We are asking very simply that students follow the school ethos of:

Everyone Matters wear a mask – polite and respectful
Everyone Helps wash your hands and clean your desk- make sensible choices
Everyone Succeeds we keep Rainford High open- let us all work hard

  1. 9. Remote Learning

If students are absent for any reason they need to catch up. All lessons and lesson tasks will be posted on google classroom.  Students who are absent for Covid related reasons or ill have no need to fall behind and can easily attempt and complete work.  If students do not catch up and complete the work, they will be challenged and sanctioned. If students are not engaging and failing to show their best efforts, they will be disadvantaged if a centre assessed grading system is introduced to support examination outcomes, as the evidence teachers use will suggest a low level of grading should be awarded.

  1. 10. Buses

We are working with the service providers and have requested an increase in capacity to allow for greater space on the buses but this is not possible. We are looking at other options but in the mean time we need students to wear, a mask or face covering for the entirety of the bus journey. We will be taking regular CCTV footage from the bus companies to address students who are not wearing masks during the journey and they will be sanctioned.

  1. 11. ‘Protect Your Education’ Campaign

This will be launched with students and families this week to ensure everyone is clear about what we need to do to keep our school open moving forward. The first short video is on the school website and attached to this email.

The new approach is a subtle development rather than total overhaul of what we were doing before we were forced to close; however, it will require a significant amount of adjustment for teachers and students to ensure its success.

We are also trying to do something positive during the pandemic by trying to get our community to support the research into the use of Medical Detection Dogs to stop the spread of coronavirus. To be involved you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Have suspected mild COVID-19 symptoms, or have been exposed to COVID-19, or have received a positive swab test result conducted in the previous 72 hours, or are a current NHS staff member, or currently living with an NHS staff member.
  • Aged 16 or over.
  • Willing and able to wear a face mask for at least 3 hours, and nylon socks and a shirt for 12 hours.
  • Your part in this study would involve providing the result of your swab test, as well as samples of your breath and body odour which would be achieved through the wearing of a mask, shirt and nylon socks.

For more details on how you can volunteer or support this project, please contact ARCTEC by calling 0207 927 2777 or by emailing coviddogs@lshtm.ac.uk.

For further details please visit: www.lshtm.ac.uk/research/centres-projects-groups/using-dogs-to-detect-covid-19.

Thank you once again for your support in reopening and keeping Rainford High open moving forward.

Yours sincerely

Ian Young

Principal