FAQ's About School During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Why isn’t school returning to 'normal' in September?

In late March, Covid-19 infections were increasing faster than anticipated. The government then announced that the public health benefits of keeping schools open had shifted and the scientific advice was that schools should close to slow the spread of the virus.

Like many schools in Tower Hamlets, our school remained open for vulnerable children and children of key workers during lockdown. We then welcomed other year groups, on a part time basis since as the spread of the virus slowed down and now the number of people with the infection is low.

We are taking a number of measures to ensure that we are able to reduce the risk of the transmission of COVID-19. These include;

  • Creating bubbles of children and ensuring that bubbles do not mix with other bubbles
  • Having different start and finish times, break times and mealtimes throughout the day to manage the flow of children through the school
  • Increased signage to support hygiene measure (e.g. washing hands, covering your mouth when you sneeze)  and reminding children of this throughout the day
  • Timetabled toilet, hand washing and sanitising breaks throughout the day
  • Timetabled movement around the school
  • Reducing visitors and parents on the school site
  • Increased deep cleaning before, during and  after school
  • Adapting the breakfast and afterschool care provision
What date is my child returning to school?

Thursday 3rd September

Year 5

Year 6

Front Pupil Entrance 8:45 – 3:15

Front Pupil Entrance 8:50 – 3:20

Friday 4th September

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Back Pupil Entrance 8:45 – 3:15

Back Pupil Entrance 8:45 – 3:15

Back Pupil Entrance 8:50 – 3:20

Back Pupil Entrance 8:50 – 3:20

Our Reception children will join us from Monday 7th September and we will contact those parents separately

Which bubble will my child be in?

In school your child will be in a 'bubble' of up to 30 children – this means that each class in our school will be one 'bubble'. This means there will be a Reception bubble, a Year 1 bubble and so on for each year group.

Can my child wear a mask and gloves in school?

No. Government advice is that children in school do not need to wear masks and gloves in school and indeed at this age most do not know how to wear them safely. If you wish your child to wear a mask and / or gloves travelling to school this is fine but you must remove and dispose of these yourself before the child enters the grounds.

Will my child get a cooked meal?

Yes, all children will be provided with a hot cooked lunch. Some year groups will be eating these in their classrooms rather than the hall to enable us to keep bubbles separate from one another.

Does my child need to wear their school uniform?

Yes, all children need to wear full school uniform. Please check the website to ensure that the clothing and shoes you are buying for your child are correct.

What does my child need to bring to school?

Your child should bring their coat and a full water bottle, both of which should be clearly marked with their name. If they are having a packed lunch they should also bring this and ensure that it is in a suitable lunch box or bag which is also marked with their name. Packed lunches should not be in open bags such as carrier bags.

We will be in touch in September about other items such as PE kits and book bags but until you hear from us please do not send your child with any other items.

Can I speak to the teacher at the start or end of the day?

This is tricky as the teacher will be dismissing the children from the gate and needs to maintain social distancing. If you have a non –urgent query please send an email via the school office and the teacher will respond to you as soon as possible. If you have an urgent concern please ask the teacher, when they hand over your child, if they can call you as your concern is urgent. They will then call you as soon as possible.

My child has medical needs and I am worried about them returning to school

As a school we receive notification from the Local Authority of children who should not return to school in September due to their medical condition. We have contacted all families to request that anyone who has concerns email us and we will be in contact during the first week of September. This is likely to involve us needing to speak to the child’s consultant and working with the school nurse to draw up a care plan but our approach will differ for each individual child.

The staggered start and end times of the day and different gates mean that I need to be in two different places at once. What should I do?

We have spent a significant amount of time looking at all of the sibling links to try to minimise this scenario for the vast majority of parents. The only families who will have two children at different gates at the same time have one of these siblings in Year 5 or Year 6. A member of school staff will be at the Front Pupil Entrance (where Year 5 and Year 6 enter) at 8:40am so that parents can leave their eldest child in their line with the staff member supervising them.

Can my child come to school on their bike or scooter?

At this time we are encouraging all families to walk to school as we are unable to use the bike / scooter shelters in the playground as we need to ensure that children remain in their own individual bubbles. We are sorry as we know that this is the quickest and easiest way for many children to travel to school. Of course children can travel to school on them but you as a parent would need to take them home again with you. If you live a long distance from the school and have no alternative but to travel via bike please do email admin@stepneygreencoat.towerhamlets.sch.uk and we will see if we can help.

My child has lost their jumper. Where will I find it?

If your child’s name is in their jumper then we will return it to you. If an item is not named it will be placed in the lost property box but this will not be able to be accessed until things return to ‘normal’. Please do ensure that your child’s name is clearly marked on all of their belongings.

I’m worried about other parents socially distancing at the gate

We need all parents to show responsibility and maintain social distancing at the gate. Only one parent per child should come to drop off and collect their child. No parent should be in the queue for another year group if they do not have a child in that class. Parents must follow the signage on the gates to help keep everyone safe.

Why are breakfast care and after school care going to be different?

They need to be different to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

This means that we will not be bringing in outside provider to deliver clubs, whilst we will of course offer activities it will predominantly be care based. It also means that we have to closely control and monitor the size of each care bubble and which children are in each care bubble to enable effective track and trace to take place should anyone in the school be infected with COVID-19. Parents are not able to come on site so we will need strict drop off and collection times. We will also need to ensure enhanced, additional cleaning of the spaces used for care which impacts of the timing of the sessions.

This core package of care will be reviewed at October half term in line with government and local authority advice.

How will I know if my child is behaving well?

If your child is behaving well and gets to red on our rainbow system they will come home wearing a sticker. If they have not behaved well and they are on blue you will receive a call from the class teacher in the first instance. If this behaviour becomes repetitive you will then be contacted by the Phase Leader and / or Headteacher as appropriate.

I’m running late for school and will arrive after my child’s gate has closed. What should I do?

We must urge you to allow adequate time to ensure that you arrive on time. Us being able to fully re-open the school is dependent on keeping the bubbles of children separate from one another. If you arrive after your child’s class has come into school you will need to wait until 9am when all of the bubbles of children have been admitted. Between 9am and 9:15am you must call the school number, 020 7987 3202, option 2, where we will then provide you with a gate and time slot to drop your child off. Please do not buzz at the main gate or call the main office.

What should I do if my child or someone in our household has symptom of COVID-19?

You must call us immediately to let us know. You must keep your child at home and follow the current guidance from the government around testing. This is available by checking the NHS website or calling 111. You must notify us of the outcome of any COVID-19 testing before your child returns to school.

Someone in my child’s bubble has a symptom of COVID-19. What will the school do?

We will follow all of the government guidance around ensuring that the individual goes and stays home and is directed for testing. As a school we have decided, as we have done in the summer term, that we would contact everyone within that bubble to let them know that someone is showing symptoms which may be linked to COVID-19. Once we are informed of a negative or positive test result we will contact everyone in the bubble to notify them of the outcome.

The school has called to say that my child is showing a symptom of COVID-19 and that I need to collect my child. I think they are fine do I really have to come and collect them?

Yes you do. The only way to know for certain if your child has COVID-19 is for a test to be carried out. Some symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to other conditions such as seasonal colds, flu and allergies but we cannot take the risk, either as a school or as a nation of not following the government advice around testing.

Will my child be having a weekly PE lesson?

Each class will have a weekly PE lesson which will take place outside.

On your child’s PE day (and only on this day!) they should come to school in their PE kit – a white t-shirt, green or grey PE shorts and black plimsolls or plain black trainers. As the lessons will be outside, children can also wear plain grey, green or navy jogging bottoms and a green sweatshirt. None of the PE kit, including the trainers should have brand logos. The reason for the lessons taking place outdoors is to minimise the transmission of COVID-19 and children coming to school in their PE kit, which they will wear for the full day, reduces the risk. They are not bringing in additional bags and clothing from outside, there is no risk of them accidentally putting on another child’s item of clothing and  it also means that for our older children who usually change in separate spaces according to gender (which cannot happen as bubbles need to stay in their own classroom space) they do not need to change with children of the opposite sex. In addition to the weekly PE lesson at play and lunchtimes children will be encouraged to take part in a range of activities and exercise.

We will let you know your child’s PE day in September.

When will my child be able to use the toilet?

As a school we simply do not have enough toilets to be able to allocate one set of toilets for each bubble of children. Our youngest children in Reception and Year 1 do have their own toilet facilities in their classrooms so are able to access the toilet as and when they need to. Children in Y2, Y3 and Y4 access the main toilets situated on the ground floor of the building and our Y5 and Y6 children access the toilets situated on the landing outside of their classrooms. However, children from different bubbles cannot access shared toilets at the same time. The toilets are cleaned between each bubble using them. For this reason each class has three timetabled toilet slots throughout the school day—the same (or more in the case of older classes) as pre-covid when they would have used the toilets at playtime and lunchtime. We do of course have some children who have medical needs meaning that they need access the toilet more frequently. They are taken by an adult from within their bubble, who then completes a clean of the facility after the child has used it. There will also be times when other children need to use the toilet outside of the scheduled slots. In the first instance, if a child asks to go to the toilet they will be asked if there are able to wait until the next scheduled slot, but assured that if they cannot wait then they will be taken. The last thing we want is for a child to be distressed or to have an accident. It is however, as I’m sure you can imagine a balancing act as when an adult from within the bubble is at the toilet with a child they are not in class supporting teaching and learning.