Once again I hope this update finds you and your family well.
As a parent myself (although my children have now left school) I can only imagine the sense of relief you must have felt when the First Minister announced on Tuesday 2nd March that all pupils would return in some format to face to face learning on Monday 15th March. This is, of course, if the trajectory of infection remains on the same course and I suspect we will hear another announcement on Tuesday 9th or Thursday 11th March confirming this. Furthermore it is anticipated that from 12th April 2021 we will have a full return to school – and that, quite frankly, is the best news we have heard in a while.
As a Headteacher however I have to take a more cautious view regarding this announcement as I have the responsibility to ensure everyone’s Health and Safety remains my top priority. Although Education Scotland (the national body for supporting teaching and learning) issued their guidance this week https://education.gov.scot/improvement/covid-19-education-recovery/cerg-guidance/ with Scottish Government guidance expected early next week, there are certain considerations which I must alert you to as parent and carer that will determine the in-school timetable and online learning capacity we are able to manage.
The key considerations that apply prior to a safe phased return on the 15th March are as follows
- Maintain strict 2m physical distancing within secondary schools in alignment with the Reducing Risks in Schools guidance.
- Face coverings must be worn by all pupils at all times, unless a medical exemption exists.
- Where possible, ensure all learners in secondary schools receive some in-school education each week, for example, to help the school re-connect with learners, support their health and wellbeing and support the transition back to full time schooling.
- Maximise the number of children and young people who are receiving in-school learning (within operational considerations in each school) whilst trying to maintain online provision.
- Continue to give priority for lessons to learners who are taking National Qualifications. This will ensure that they are prepared for their qualifications under the 2021 Alternative Certification Model.
- Continue to ensure daily registration/check-in arrangements for every learner.
- Maintain provision for key worker children and vulnerable learners.
Essentially what these considerations mean is that I will need to carefully balance the health and safety of everyone to ensure the conditions above are complied with. Basically we all need to work together to make sure we can make this return to school on 15th March as risk free as possible.
Since Wednesday morning we have trying to internalise how we will apply the guidance to a simple curriculum rationale that everyone can understand then apply this to a workable, safe, timetable model. We are continuing to work on this today and hope to have this published on our website by Tuesday or Wednesday next week. We will of course send you a text to inform you when it is published online, however as always please keep a ‘weather’ eye on all communications from the school.
Have a nice weekend and as always keep yourself and your family COVID safe.