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Frequently Asked Questions about Coronavirus

Below you will find the most current up-to-date information regarding how Castlefort may operate if the school opens on June 1st 2020. This is true and accurate as of the time of publishing (21st May 2020).


We must stress that this is subject to change and we fully expect this to change as the UK Government will need to provide further guidance in order to facilitate a wider opening of schools. These question and answers have been created based on recent concerns parents/ carers have made since the announcement was made to re-open schools. We hope you find it useful. The main changes are also available here:


Will my child be able to return on June 1st?

June 1st is the UK Government's target to start reopening schools. This date will only be confirmed on 28th May. If the Government have met their 5 tests to reopen schools on this date, they will instruct schools to open to a select group of pupils on June 1st.


In our school, this will include:

  • Vulnerable children;
  • Key worker children;
  • Nursery key worker children only;
  • Reception pupils;
  • Y1 pupils;
  • Y6 pupils.


If your child does not qualify (e.g. any non-key worker child currently in Years 2, 3, 4 and 5), they will not be allowed to return to school on June 1st.


Why is Nursery only open to key worker children?


Due to the considerable number of key worker children we have in Nursery, we do not have sufficient space or staff to allow the full return of Nursery. We must prioritise Nursery key worker children, as advised by the UK Government, the local authority and our school Governors.


Do I have to send my child back to school? Will I receive a fine if I choose to keep them at home?


The UK Government are advising parents/ carers to send children back to school if they are eligible to do so. Children and young people who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable have been advised to shield and should not attend. Parents/ carers with children who are clinically vulnerable should seek medical advice from the GP before returning their child to school. No parent or carer will receive a fine if they choose to keep their child at home and they will be fully supported by the school.


Will children return to normal classrooms and proceedings?


School will be very different in a number of aspects when we re-open. We will not be able to operate our normal proceedings due to the new guidance  published by the UK Government which aims to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Children may no longer have their normal class teacher. Children may not learn in their normal classroom. Children will only be able to learn in groups of 15 pupils or less. They will not be able to socialise in other groups during the day. School will only be open Monday to Thursday for children who are not vulnerable or key worker children. Key worker children will still be able to access school on a Friday to provide childcare for the key workers.


Will the school be open during normal school hours?


School will be closed to all pupils on a Friday except those who are key worker children. School opening and closing times will also change slightly for some groups. This is to allow for a staggered start/ end to prevent groups of parents and children from gathering in large numbers outside the school gates.


Why is school closing on a Friday to non-key worker children?


There are many important reasons why school will not be open on a Friday to non-key worker children. Governors and staff are prioritising the mental health of both the pupils and the staff. We are also allowing time for teaching staff to plan and prepare learning for those children attending school alongside setting and marking online work for those who are unable to attend school. We will also be spending Friday cleaning the school thoroughly to further reduce the chance of coronavirus spreading in the school. 


Why have the drop off/ pick up points changed?


Parents/ carers will not be able to step onto the school premises unless they have permission from the Headteacher. The UK Government advice states that parents/carers should not gather on playgrounds and therefore the location where your drop off/ pick up your child will have to change. If you need to speak to a senior member of staff, please call the school office and we will get back to you as soon as possible. The school office will be closed to parents/ carers until further notice.


I am a key worker and I need my child in at normal times. Can I access normal school times for my child?


Yes. Key worker children are given priority in this circumstance. You can bring your key worker children to the Key Stage 2 playground at 8:45 a.m. and collect your key worker child at the latest possible pick up time from the gates as set out on the letter called re-opening phased return.


My child is in Year 2/3/4/5 and I am not a key worker. When will my child return?


The UK Government has set an ambitious target of getting these children back into schools for the last 4 weeks of the summer term. However, there is currently no guidance available to schools on how this will work. Therefore schools are currently unable to plan to allow for the return of these children and are awaiting further instruction from the UK Government.


I am a key worker. Can I send my child in on a part time basis?


We do not advise parents/ carers to send their child in part time. Unless your child is ill, if you choose to send you child into school, you should do on the knowledge that this is on a full time basis. 


I don't want my child in school at the moment because of the R rate. However, I might change my mind if the R rate drops. Can I send my child back if I change my mind?


Parents/ carers have the right to change their mind. However, the school will need time to review the provision available. Therefore, if you change your mind, you must let the school office know and they will call you back with a date when your child may return. It is important to note, this may not be the next working day and senior staff may need a few days to adapt their risk assessments. Decisions will take into account the number pupils in school, the number of staff available and the space available in school to facilitate any necessary changes. 


My child will not be returning to school. What support will be available for my child?


For children who are unable to return to school, or for parents who are choosing to keep their child at home, we are signposting parents/ carers to use the UK Government approved Oak National Academy website which contains daily lessons for children from Reception to Year 6. Teachers will also be setting some online tasks via Purple Mash. Pupils will be able to use their Doodle Maths, Times Table Rockstars, Oxford Reading Buddy and Spelling Shed apps too. Work packs will also be made available for pupils in Nursery - Year 6. 


My child has shown symptoms. What should I do?


If you child shows symptoms of coronavirus, you should contact 111 to arrange a test. Parents will be able to use the 111 online coronavirus service if their child is 5 or over. Parents will be able to call 111 if their child is aged under 5.


The staff members and children who have been in direct contact with the person showing symptoms will be expected to self isolate until the test result is known. 


My child is anxious about returning. How will they be supported?


Staff members will talk to your child about the basics of coronavirus and will reassure them of the minimal risk the virus poses to children. Staff will discuss the implications of the virus based on the age of the child and discussions will avoid frightening children and will stick to the facts. There is also a book which is accessible on the website so parents/ carers can talk through why things have changed in school as a result of coronavirus. However, it is very important to note that staff will not be able to hug children in order to keep them and your child safe. If a child is refusing to come into school, staff will not be able to pick the child up and escort them into the school premises. Children will need to come into school on a voluntary basis and unaided from a member of staff or parent/ carer. Parents/ carers will also not be allowed into the school building to reassure the child. Staff will, of course, do their best to calm the child.