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Minimising risk and dealing with anxiety

boars head 54x64pxWhilst we have been sheltered in our homes, it is natural to feel some anxiety about venturing back into the wider world. As you will be aware, students of compulsory school age must be in school unless a statutory reason* applies. We are here to support our students and their families – we will work with you to support you as best we can so that students can start accessing face to face education with us again.

If you choose to keep your child off school and your child is not Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV), is not self-isolating and does not have covid, or any other illness, or any other pre-agreed absence, the absence will be classed as unauthorised.

*Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) Students and Shielding

We understand from the most recent government guidance, 'that many children identified at the start of the pandemic as clinically extremely vulnerable are not at increased risk of serious outcomes from coronavirus (COVID-19) and children are gradually being removed from the shielding patient list (SPL) as appropriate, following review with a clinician'. (Schools Coronavirus Operational Guidance February 2021)
If your child continues to be classified as clinically extremely vulnerable, you will have received a recent shielding letter.
The advice for pupils who have been confirmed as clinically extremely vulnerable is to stay at home as much as possible until further notice. They are advised not to attend school while shielding advice applies nationally. We will continue to provide remote learning for these students.
If your child is CEV, we would ask for you to contact the School Office to notify us of this at the earliest available opportunity, providing a copy of the shielding letter sent to confirm that they are advised not to attend.

Please find below a brief summary of some of the measures we will be using to minimise the risk with some suggestions of how students and their families can help us in this respect.

A full outline of our current protective measures can be found on the school website.

What we are doing in school to promote safety What students and their families can do to help
We are vigilant regarding symptoms in our students in school. Someone presenting symptoms will be sent home straight away or be supervised under strict guidelines provided by the government to make sure the risk of spread is minimised. Stay at home if you have symptoms of the virus (use government guidance).
Stay at home if you have been abroad following government guidance.
Collect children as quickly as possible if you are asked to.
Home testing kits provided to parents/carers collecting symptomatic children, and to staff who've developed symptoms at school (if unable to get a test elsewhere.) Arrange a 'standard' coronavirus (PCR) test and inform the school if there is a positive result
3 lateral flow tests provided to students within school, then home testing kits for testing of students twice a week. Carry out the home testing on Sunday and then on either Wednesday or Thursday.
Staff will also carry out the home testing on Sundays and then on either Wednesday or Thursday.
2 lateral flow home tests per week offered to staff.
We ask students and staff to share all test results with us, we'll keep accurate records of all results and will only share health records with the relevant people.
Deep cleans in the areas that a symptomatic person or student who has tested positive has been.
PPE will be disposed of properly, following decontamination guidance.
Cleaning staff will regularly clean frequently touched surfaces including:
Bathroom facilities (including taps and flush buttons)
Door and window handles
Light switches
Fingerprint scanners
Remember the basics of good hand hygiene and the 'catch it, bin it, kill it' ethos.
Avoid unnecessary touching of banisters/switches etc.
Try opening swing doors with your elbow.
Teachers to wipe the teacher's desk and any shared equipment available on arrival e.g. remote controls, HDMI cables. Teachers will use their own pens and board-markers. Don't touch anything in classrooms that is not your property unless directed by a member of staff.
Track and Trace
Thorough records kept to enable us to track and trace contacts of a positive case. We would ask parents to collect students as quickly as possible if you are contacted as part of track and trace procedures. Students should self-isolate as per the government guidance.
All close contacts to self-isolate in line with current government guidance.
Work with the local health protection team if there are 2 or more confirmed cases within 14 days, or an overall rise in sickness absence where coronavirus is suspected. Advice given by the team will be followed.
Sanitisers at every entrance to the school and mounted on walls in the corridors.
Promotion of good hand hygiene. Reminders given to students to sanitise wash and sanitise their hands frequently.
Sanitise your hands every time you enter the building.
Remember 'catch it, bin it, kill it'.
Wash your hands more frequently.
Remember not to touch your mouth, eyes and nose.
Thorough cleaning at the end of the day.
Shared resources, such as sports, art and science equipment, will be either:
cleaned frequently and meticulously, and always between groups using them; or
rotated so they can be unused and out of reach for 48 hours (72 hours for plastics) between use by different groups.
Rooms will be kept well ventilated by keeping windows slightly open and opening more widely while unoccupied. Bring extra layers if it is cold weather – acceptable layers include; plain black jumper, sweatshirt or hooded top (Dane Court PE Hooded tops are acceptable, any logos must be discreet), underneath and in addition to your blazer, not instead of; your coat over your blazer and sweatshirt.
Bubbles and social distancing
Continued use of year group entrances and bubbles to reduce individuals mixing. Use the same entrances used in Terms 1 and 2 to enter the building. Stay in your Year group areas and use the one way system.
Take steps to stay further away from people in the corridors while moving around. Be proactive in protecting yourself. It is acceptable to request that someone stands further away if you are uncomfortable with their proximity.
Arrive at school from 8am and wait for the start of school in their inside or outside year group zones. Consider staying outside and away from a busier communal space before school.
Leave the building promptly at 3.20 and keep social distancing from those around you.
Reminders given to maintain distance and students should not touch staff or peers. If possible, students sit side-by-side and facing forwards. Try your hardest to maintain the 2 metre distance between you and your friends when in school.
Teachers will try to maintain a 2 metre distance from students and other staff members; although this is not always possible, close face-to-face contact will be avoided, and time spent within 1 metre will be minimised. Allow space for teachers in corridors.
Where you are allowed to enter a room ready for a lesson, be seated when the teacher comes in.
The canteen will not be open during morning break.
Lunchtime will be staggered to create two serving opportunities. Year groups will not mix whilst eating.
Consider bringing a packed lunch with you.
Bring a bottle with a sports lid.
Consider eating and socialising outside to give you more space from your friends and to provide natural ventilation.
Revised behaviour protocols will minimise unsafe student conduct. Consider how you behave – be considerate of all those within our school community.
If we see unsafe behaviour, we will challenge it to keep our wider community safe.
Face coverings
Face covering will be promoted unless social distancing can be maintained or a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity (or they are exempt from wearing one). We would strongly encourage you to wear a mask in school.
Make sure you bring a mask to school (unless you are exempt).
Follow government guidance on mask safety.
Spare face coverings available for anyone without one or has a covering that's unsafe. Have a supply of face coverings ready at home. Keep a spare one in case one gets lost.
Lessons and Learning
Textbooks and student exercise books will be subject to a quarantine period. We will aim to use electronic methods to mark work. Bring all equipment you need for you own use; do not share your equipment with others.
Some lessons might have revised protocols; we will follow government's guidance for lessons involving drama, singing, chanting, shouting or playing instruments. When working in groups in larger spaces, consider whether you can build in some extra distance from the peers you are working with.
Remote learning for students are shielding (*see notes below) or are self-isolating due to government guidance.  
Visitors will have guidance on physical distancing and hygiene explained to them on or before arrival.
Visits will happen outside of school hours wherever possible.
A record will be kept of all visitors.
Parent and carers should not to gather at entrance gates or doors, or enter the site unless they have a pre-arranged appointment.
Consider whether you can email or call school instead.
If you need to visit our reception, please sanitise your hands on entry and remain 2 metres away from others.
Meetings will be conducted by telephone or using video conferencing.
Where this isn't possible, meetings will be conducted outside, outside of school hours, or in a room large enough to allow distancing.

Support for students anxious about the return to school

Consider using our school website support page to explore possible ways to alleviate anxiety:
The page includes help for students and directions for parents wishing to support their children.
Anxiety particularly linked to the return to school can be found here:
If your child is experiencing extreme anxiety and you can foresee difficulties that we may need to address to smooth the transition back to face to face learning, please let Mrs Holmes and Mrs Ives know as soon as possible on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will endeavour to work with you to address these issues.

Here is some specific advice from our colleagues at Thanet Inclusion Support Service. It is possibly aimed at parents of slightly younger children, but it does contain some useful advice if your child is worried about our return to school.

preparing your child for the return to school

Other useful websites:

Click below for a series of short videos on building resilience in children provided by the Kent Resilience Hub:

Year 7 Lockdown Gallery
Karl Midlane Kmc Gorge Oct 2019 51
Kent Mountain Centre 2019
Sports day 2019