FAQs for parents about the re-opening of schools and nurseries

FAQs for parents about the re-opening of schools and nurseries container

FAQs for parents about the re-opening of schools and nurseries content

In light of the announcement from Deputy First Minister John Swinney regarding the re-opening of schools and nurseries on Thursday 30th July, we have produced an updated version of these FAQs.

Schools will re-open full-time in August for school aged children.

All eligible children aged 3 years to 5 years and some 2 year olds, who are enrolled in a Local Authority nursery, will be offered up to 1140 hours of free early learning and childcare by early September 2020.

Local authority nurseries will continue to follow settling in procedures for young children and will contact parents directly with updated information on the exact times children will be attending nursery.
 
Some private, voluntary and third sector funded providers working in partnership with the local authority will also provide Early Learning and Childcare places

The local authority will be working with the Scottish Government, staff, trade unions and parent councils to prepare for the re-opening of our schools and nurseries.

Each school has produced an individual plan for blended learning for school aged children, which will be kept as a contingency in case circumstances change.

These have been sent directly to families by schools and will feature on the school website.

The council will continue to communicate regularly with families about developments through this website www.dundeecity.gov.uk as well as social media channels.

We have had questions from parents and carers about our schools and nurseries re-opening which have informed these FAQs.

The planning for re-opening and recovery for all schools and nurseries is based on these guiding principles:

Safe
Plans must protect the physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing of children and young people as well as all staff.

Fair and Ethical
Plans should ensure every child has the same opportunity to succeed through their blend of in-school and in-home learning, with a particular focus on closing the poverty related attainment gap; and therefore be able to prioritise learners at key points and/or with specific needs.

Clear
Plans should be easy to interpret and understand, and have the confidence of parents, staff and young people so that they can plan ahead.

Realistic
Plans must be possible and achievable within the resources that each school and the Council has available.

  1. When will schools and nurseries re-open?
     

    Staff returned to Dundee schools and local authority nurseries from Monday June 15 as preparations continue to welcome children and young people back in August 2020. Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced on Thursday 30 July 2020 that as Scotland continues to make progress on suppressing coronavirus:

    Schools will return full time for school aged children.

    All eligible children aged 3 years to 5 years and some 2 year olds, who are enrolled in a Local Authority nursery, will be offered up to 1140 hours of free early learning and childcare by early September 2020.

    Local authority nurseries will continue to follow settling in procedures for young children and will contact parents directly with updated information on the exact times children will be attending nursery. 

    Some private, voluntary and third sector funded providers working in partnership with the local authority will also provide Early Learning and Childcare places.

    Families should contact their preferred provider directly.

    All staff in Dundee schools and local authority nurseries will return on Monday 10 August - Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 August will be In-Service days for staff to prepare for your child’s return.

    Children and young people will be phased back from Wednesday 12 August 2020 and each Head Teacher and school/ local authority nursery will determine what this soft start looks like including any staggered start and finish times, particular days for attending by child/ class/year group, staggered breaks etc.

    Information will be communicated to you directly by the school/ local authority nursery regarding the arrangements for your child/ren.

    Primary 1 children will attend for mornings only as normal for the first three weeks of the term. They will start full time on Monday 31 August 2020.

  2. What plans will be in place to make sure that my child is safe when returning to school/nursery?
     

    A risk assessment plan is in place for every school and nursery to ensure that there are appropriate safety measures. If there are any additional considerations for your child’s health and safety, please discuss these with your child’s school/nursery. Each school and nursery will also have risk assessments that take account of their individual context. There will be hand sanitisers available throughout and increased hand washing procedures as well as supplies of wipes to clean work areas after use. Schools/ nurseries will also make appropriate arrangements for controlled exit and entry to the buildings as well as shared space areas and outdoor spaces. Breaks and lunch times may be staggered within the school day for school aged children. Schools and nurseries will also ensure clear signage is visible around the building and will put in place one way systems where possible. Advice regarding physical distancing will be managed appropriately.

    Some children and young people need additional support, which means that different considerations are required, for example, where staff need to help with intimate care, provision of some medications and healthcare supports. However, schools and nurseries will be carrying out individual risk assessments to ensure everyone stays safe. For example, they will decide whether PPE should be worn. At all times the wellbeing, safety and best interests of your child and the staff will be carefully considered.

    The decision to reopen schools and nurseries will be based on scientific evidence. This suggests that the virus is sufficiently under control to start planning for reopening, and that by putting measures in place and making sure everything is kept clean and hygienic, children can return safely.

  3. How will children with Additional Support Needs be supported in planning their return to school?
     

    All schools and nurseries must have considered planning for children and young people with Additional Support Needs in their recovery plans. They should be based on what they already know about the child’s needs and review their individual plans this in light of any impact of Covid-19. If there are things which have increased the vulnerability of a child, this will be considered in the planning for their return. We are not able to offer additional time in school/nursery only on the basis of Additional Support Needs as we have to take other factors into account, in particular the safety of all children and staff.

  4. What about provision for key workers?
     

    The emergency period for critical childcare ceases on Friday 31 July 2020. Any child attending the Local Authority Community Support Centres will stop attending after Tuesday 4 August 2020 to allow the schools and nurseries to be prepared for the return on Monday 10 August.

    Funding for critical childcare ceases on Friday 31 July 2020 in those Early Learning and Childcare Funded Providers providing emergency childcare on behalf of the Local Authority.

  5. How can I find out what the plan is for my child’s school?

    You can visit the school’s website or contact the Head Teacher. If you follow Twitter, there are regular updates from schools and nurseries throughout the week. Schools have been developing blogs to showcase their learning developments and to share good practice, with examples at Our Lady's Primary and Fintry Primary
     
  6. Will other buildings being used for school aged children to attend, other than schools should there be a need to move to the contingency plans?

    We have been exploring a number of options around each school and its individual circumstances as part of our contingency planning.

    There are many things that would have to be taken into consideration around the use of other buildings, including the availability of cleaning services and safe access.

    These plans would only be used if changing circumstances prevented full re-opening.

  7. What about school uniform policy?
     

    This has been discussed with our Parent Council Chairs, Head Teachers and our Convenors. We have reached agreement that individual schools will make the decision about school uniform policy at local level. Head Teachers will discuss this with their Parent Councils and the wider parent forum to agree the approach for their own community.

  8. Will my child be able to travel on their usual taxi or minibus to school?

    Home to school transport contracts should be regarded as an extension of the school estate and physical distancing measures between pupils are not necessary (subject to continued low levels of infection within Scotland). We recognise that school transport will involve mixed age groups of pupils, but still consider the risk of transmission to be acceptably low when mitigations are in place. Children or young people must not travel on regular home-to-school transport if they, or a member of their household, have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID- 19).

  9. My child travels on a dedicated school bus service, can they still use this?

    As far as it is safe to do so, children and their parents/carers should be encouraged to travel to school on foot, bike or scooter. If your child is unable to do this and requires to use a dedicated school bus service, this should be regarded as an extension of the school estate and physical distancing measures between pupils are not necessary (subject to continued low levels of infection within Scotland). We recognise that school transport will involve mixed age groups of pupils, but still consider the risk of transmission to be acceptably low when mitigations are in place. Children or young people must not travel on dedicated school bus services if they, or a member of their household, have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID- 19).

    Hand sanitising should be required for everyone on every entry to dedicated school transport.

    The above information and guidance relies on important mitigations including: hygiene, ventilation, improved cleaning regimes including regular and thorough cleaning of surfaces, and regular handwashing. It is contingent on there being low levels of infection in the Scottish population and on systems being in place for close monitoring, rapid testing and tracing of suspected cases.

    Measures put in place as precautions may become more relaxed as the prevalence and incidence of Covid-19 in Scotland reduce. Conversely, measures may need to be strengthened or reintroduced if there is evidence of a resurgence, or in the light of localised outbreaks. Where other relevant new evidence has implications for this advice, it will also need to be taken into account.

    Transport arrangements for children and young people with Additional Support Needs has been communicated separately.

  10. Cleaning - How will my child learn of changes to the school and nursery environment?

    We are working closely with our partners in Tayside Contracts. In advance of and during all children and young people’s return to school or nursery, staff will share the changes to schools and nurseries and what to expect within the school and nursery corridors, classrooms and playrooms. Appropriate signage will also be displayed to support this and remind children and young people what they must do in order to keep themselves and others safe.

  11. What are the schools and nurseries doing to ensure hygiene measures are applied?

    Sanitisation points are being installed throughout all education establishments in line with Scottish Government and Heath guidance in key areas such as entry points, dining area and entrances to gyms.

  12. How are schools and nurseries being cleaned?

    Revised approaches have been agreed with Dundee City Council and its cleaning contractors. Increased cleaning regimes will be undertaken within schools and nurseries in the morning/lunchtime and evenings. In addition to this, daytime cleaners will undertake duties to focus on areas such as toilets, dining, social areas, door handles and handrails etc

  13. Catering - How can I pay for my child’s meal?

    Young people will not be able to use cash to top up their accounts in school, all schools and ELC establishments will be operating a cashless catering service. Your child’s account can be topped up through parentpay or alternatively via paypoint. Further information and guidance on this is available from your child’s school. Payment for the meal will be removed centrally following receipt of a young person’s lunch order.

  14. What kind of catering service will be available?

    A limited meals service will be available, to allow for catering staff to facilitate physical distancing measures within kitchens and the dining environment.

    Initially there will only be a lunchtime provision.

    The provision of Council run breakfast and breaktime service will be reviewed in line with Scottish Government guidance during the academic session. If safe and appropriate any planned resume to these services will be communicated by the school to parents/carers and young people.

    Breakfast provision provided by Out of School Clubs will be available.

  15. How will my school aged child order their lunch?

    Initially, any young person requiring lunch will complete a snack order card, this provides a limited number of choices for the young person to select. Each sheet requires completion of the child’s name and class to identify them. The child’s lunch will be provided within sealed containers in a snack bag.

  16. How will my child receive their lunch?

    Lunches will be provided through a series of collection points across the school or directly to classrooms and playrooms, this will vary dependent upon the stage and school/ nursery setting. Each school/ nursery will agree and communicate to parents/carers what approach they intend to take.

  17. Where will my school age child eat their lunch?

    Again, provision will vary dependent upon the schools unique circumstances. Where available and possible, dining centres and cafeterias will be used, in some circumstances, pupils may have lunches delivered directly to their classrooms and they will eat their lunch there.

  18. Where will my nursery age child eat their lunch?

    Children will eat in the nursery playroom, supported by staff.

  19. Test, Trace and Isolate – what is the protocol if someone presents with symptoms in the school/establishment?

    If someone presents with symptoms of COVID-19 in the building the school/ nursery will follow the advice in the RA document. The child/young person/member if staff will be sent home and will self-isolate as per the NHS advice.

    The approach is symptomatic and all should be alert to any symptoms of COVID-19 and follow the appropriate action.

    In relation to 'Test and Protect', the NHS will contact anyone deemed to be a close contact. Likewise other contacts in the school/centre will also be directly contacted by NHS if required.

    Advice regarding this is on OneDundee and in the detailed risk assessment.

  20. When will primary and secondary school extra-curricular clubs re-start?

    Active Schools is working with Schools, coaches and volunteers to support the re-start of outdoor extra-curricular sport and physical activity clubs in schools.  We hope to re-start extra-curricular clubs after the October Holidays.  We understand that getting schools back up and running is the priority and there may be other factors that may affect the re-start of sports clubs, such as staggered starts/finish times and cleaning schedules. We will work with schools and the Children and Families Service to review the situation in three weeks and provide further updates. Read more ...

The answers to other questions which you may have are available on the ParentClub website.