Thursday 14th May 2020
To all of our Rushbrook families I hope that you are all managing to stay well. I realise that it’s not an easy time for anyone, but I know you will all understand that working with you to keep everyone safe remains our top priority.
Some of you might have watched the Prime Minister on Sunday night when he mentioned the possibility of schools opening to more children from 1 June at the earliest. He reminded us that this – and other parts of the lockdown – would only happen if there continued to be a drop in the rate of infection. Since Sunday night the government has sent out different messages about what they would like schools to try to do. We are working hard to work out what the best thing is for us to do to keep everyone safe and to gradually increase the number of children that we have in school.
We want nothing more than to be able to welcome children back to school. We are missing seeing the children. We know that you also want to get children back to school too. It’s important, however, that we only do what is safe for our children, families and for staff.
To give you an idea of some of the things we need to get right to follow government guidance and keep everyone safe, if we just focus on what the Prime Minister said – Reception, Year 1 and year 6 – that is almost 300 children. We then have to add in the children of key workers. Even if we took every child in those three year groups it would leave nearly 200 brothers and sisters not in school.
To follow the safety guidance that means we would need nearly every classroom in the school. We would also need nearly every member of staff because the groups must be kept no higher than 15 per class. Some of our staff are not able to work in school because of health conditions.
These are just some of the challenges faced before beginning to look at the physical limitations of the school building. We’ve been asked to maintain social distancing at all times, including by staggering the start and finish times in the day to avoid traffic building up and groups of parents/carers having to stand near one another. To make this work safely for children, families and staff we need to do all of this really carefully and we need your help.
We are asking for your help is the following ways:
• Please do not make plans based on the dates given by the government. The government said 1 June ‘at the earliest’ and this date is under review as the rate of infections is checked on a regular basis.
• Be patient with us as we try to work out the best ways of taking children back to school in new and careful ways that are designed to keep everyone protected from illness. we need to devise a plan based on guidance that we only received yesterday.
• Please support the decisions that we make, even if they are not ideal for you and your family. None of us would choose to be in this situation and we do appreciate the difficulties that many of you are facing. As always, we will do what we can to continue being as supportive as possible.
There is not a single solution to these issues. We are working together with other local schools and we are all struggling with a situation that is new to us and which is changing as new guidance comes in every day. Sometimes that guidance contradicts itself and different schools will need to do things slightly differently depending on buildings, the number of staff available and other local needs.
Thank you for working with us to get through these difficult times and to keep our children, families and staff safe. We really appreciate and want to protect the excellent relationships we have with our families, so I will always be fair, open and honest with you at every stage of our planning for next month.
I will continue to keep you all updated.