Since Lockdown began we have remained open for the children of key workers, vulnerable and special educational needs children.
From 22nd June 2020, Blackburn Central High School will provide face-to-face support for Year 10 students. As we must control the number of people and where they go on site, students will not be allowed in the building until 8:20am, unless prior arrangement have been made. Students will finish school at 2:45pm, but may take 5 or 10 minutes to make it off site due to social distancing arrangements.
We will remain open for:
- Vulnerable students in all year groups (including year 10)
- Children of critical workers in all year groups (including year 10)
- Face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 students, with a clear expectation that high quality remote education will continue to be the predominant form of education
We will also continue to support all other students who remain at home, making use of the available remote education support to provide a quality education.
We have implemented a number of changes to create a safer environment, where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. This includes:
- minimising contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that students and staff who have coronavirus symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school
- cleaning hands more often than usual - students and staff should be encouraged to regularly wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly, or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered
- ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
- cleaning frequently touched surfaces often, using standard products such as detergents and bleach
- minimising contact and mixing, as far as possible, by keeping students in small groups for face-to-face support and keeping those groups as consistent as possible whilst in school (e.g. for arrival, lunchtime, breaks and departure) and altering the school environment (e.g. changing classroom layouts so desks are further apart or dividing groups into different classrooms)
As well as the measures above, only a quarter of Year 10 students will be allowed in school at any one time. This is in addition to vulnerable students and children of critical workers who might be in full-time attendance from other year groups. No students will be allowed on the school grounds unless for agreed contact time or attendance as above.
Why have Year 10 students been prioritised?
Year 10 students are in the middle of their GCSE education, with less than a year until they take their exams so we want to make sure they are getting the very, very best education.
Do I have to send my child back to school?
The government has said that children in Year 10 are no longer required to stay at home. However, a decision to send a child back to school rests with parents and carers. Parents will NOT be fined if they decide to continue with remote learning – and schools are not expected to keep physical attendance records.
What are you doing to keep children safe?
The government has issued specific guidance for schools to minimise the risk of infection, including smaller class sizes.
We have rearranged classrooms so that the two-metre distance rule is upheld as much as possible, and encourage both staff and students to wash their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds and ensure that the facilities are always kept clean.
We’ve also reduced the number of ‘pinch points’ – times where a lot of people could potentially be in contact – by altering timetables and staggering break times.
Students who develop COVID symptoms will be sent home. If they later test positive for the virus, the whole class will be sent home and will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
Full details of the work we have done to keep our families safe is available in our Extension of Schools Covid-19 Risk Assessment.
Do students need to wear school uniform?
Yes, but to make life easier for parents and to help stop the spread of COVID-19 amongst students, school blazers, ties and jumpers are not required.
Students should attend in fresh uniform trousers or skirt, plus a white long or shirt sleeve shirt. To stop the spread of COVID-19 all staff and students must wear a fresh set of clothes each day they are in school. School uniform must be washed after each use.
PE kit is NOT required, but students should wear trainers/sports shoes in school so that they can take part in light exercise.
What should students bring to school?
Students should bring as little as possible to school. Stationary packs, including pencils, pens, rulers, calculators, and books will be provided. These packs will remain in school, so avoid cross contamination between school and home.
The only thing students might need to bring is a coat or jumper in case of poor weather, and their packed lunch.
Will you be serving school meals?
We will not be serving school meals as free school meal vouchers are still being sent out to families. Students are expected to bring a packed lunch from home each day.
Will face masks or coverings be needed?
The new guidance specifically says that neither adults or children are required to wear face masks, coverings or other personal protective equipment (PPE) at school. According to the government, face coverings can be helpful for short outings – like going to the shop or if you have to use public transport.
Face masks must be worn on public transport from 15th June. Students and adults are welcome to wear face masks when in school, but they are not mandatory.
If a student is ill with coronavirus symptoms in school, anyone looking after them should use appropriate PPE until the student is able to return home.
What if someone in my household is clinically vulnerable?
People with pre-existing conditions might be especially at risk of catching COVID-19 and so the people living with them must take some additional precautions.
If your child is in the clinically vulnerable category, you should seek the advice of a doctor before deciding to send your child back to school or not. If your child is living with someone who’s clinically vulnerable, they’ll still be encouraged to attend school while adhering to strict social distancing.
The same can’t be said if your child’s condition falls into the extremely clinically vulnerable category, in which case they are not encouraged to return to school but instead to keep ‘shielding’ at home.
My child has special educational needs (SEN)
Schools remain open to all vulnerable and SEN children and they are encouraged to attend as they might receive better support there than at home. Vulnerable children can continue distance learning if their social worker believes that they are less at risk at home or in placement.
If your child has an education, health and care (EHC) plan, your local authority can help you carry out a risk assessment on whether your child’s needs can be met at home or if it’s in their best interest to return to their education setting.
What happens if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19)?
When a student or staff member develops symptoms compatible with coronavirus, they will be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days and arrange to be tested, by visiting NHS.UK or phoning 119. Their fellow household members should self-isolate for 14 days.
If the student or staff member tests negative, they can return to their setting and fellow household members can end their self-isolation.
If the student or staff member tests positive, the rest of their class will be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. The other household members of that wider class do not need to self-isolate unless the student or staff member they live with develops symptoms.
In some cases a larger number of other children may be asked to self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure – perhaps the whole class, site or year group.
When will schools return to normal?
COVID-19 will continue to impact society so it’s hard to predict when or if schools will return to the way they were before the outbreak.
Will school be open over the summer break?
Government guidance has not been made available for summer provision. We will keep you informed once we have been made aware, so for now we will close on Friday 17th July 2020 as per previously planned.
The Blackburn with Darwen Help Hub has been set up to offer support with any issues that arise during the Coronavirus outbreak. You can phone 01254 588111 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday or 9:00am to 12:00pm Saturday and Sunday. You can also fill in the online form at www.blackburn.gov.uk
Other sources of support:
- Kooth - online support and counselling for young people
- Childline - counselling support for young people. Call 0800 1111
- Mind - mental health information and support
- Healthy Young Minds - mental health information and support