The KING DAVID HIGH SCHOOL, Yavneh Yeshiva High School, Yavneh Girls
Please see below our provisional plan of action for reopening school in September. We are calling it ‘provisional’ because there could be changes in the government’s guidelines.
As you are aware, government guidance [and our ideal] is for all children to return to school in September and to operate as normally as possible. However, pupil and staff safety is the school’s responsibility and if the school feels that the risk is too great [eg, if there is a spike in COVID cases in the area], we will reduce class sizes and operate a ‘rota’ system, with some pupils attending at school and some following lessons remotely from home. As you will see from the plan, the school has equipped classrooms with webcams and microphones so that, should a rota system be necessary, live lessons will be transmitted as they take place.
I hope you all have an enjoyable summer break.
Stay safe and stay well.
. Mitigating the COVID risk
There are three primary, common sense, ways to mitigate the risk: (i) hygiene; (ii) social distancing; (iii) masks. Because government mandates that all pupils return, social distancing is a virtual impossibility.
We cannot emphasise strongly enough the need for pupils to thoroughly and repeatedly wash their hands with soap and warm water [not only after using the washrooms but] throughout the day.
We have installed some 47 sanitising stations throughout the High School campus. It is also strongly recommended that parents equip their children with a small bottle of hand sanitiser to carry with them at all times.
Pupils should try to avoid touching their faces / mouths, as much as possible.
Masks for Pupils [and Visors for staff]
In the absence of social distancing, Masks are even more important and that is why we have to make the wearing of masks, absolutely mandatory - however uncomfortable. They are a lot less uncomfortable than COVID
We have no choice but to insist that pupils must wear masks at all times; on the school buses, in classes and when moving around indoors. When not in use [eg, when eating lunch or when outside the buildings] masks should be folded and safely stored in bags / pockets or similar. Masks should never be placed on desks / chairs etc.
Masks can be ‘disposable’ [replaced regularly] or re-usable fabric ones [washed regularly]. We also ask that the school uniforms are cleaned far more often than usual.
Masks should be plain coloured with no fancy designs.
We understand that some pupils / parents have concerns regarding the wearing of masks and if pupils find wearing a mask uncomfortable [as many of us do] or if it causes anxiety, the best suggestion is perhaps to have your child practise using a mask, during the holidays, so that they can become more accustomed to wearing one [pupils who have genuine medical difficulties eg, asthma - not mere discomfort - should discuss this with the head-teacher or deputy head].
We are aware that we are being much stricter than the government guidelines on this matter and that is because the guidelines do not deal adequately with the significant risk. It is also noteworthy that despite the best intentions of government, the ’guidelines’ have resulted in the UK having the second highest [per capita] COVID mortality rate in the world.
Lunches and a ‘cashless’ payment system
The plan is to limit the number of pupils in the dining room to around 100 pupils [one year group] at a time [with a quick rotation] and also to avoid the risk of contamination by exchange of cash. To achieve all this, we will implement the following;
1. Speeding up the traffic through the dining room by having only three [pre-prepared] meal options & the salad bar.
2. Operating a ‘cashless’ payment system.
With this new system children will be able to pay with a credit card, debit card or any other contactless payment card [we have already sent a list of recommended cards]
One directional seating
One directional seating will be in place in classes and in the dining room to avoid pupils sitting opposite each other.
Shop / breakfast facility
Because of the risk of too many different year groups congregating [during breaks] and queuing for the shop closely together, we will have to keep the shop [normally open at break times] and the breakfast facility, shut. We do appreciate the inconvenience this may cause and we will keep all this [as we will everything else] under constant review. For the time being, it might be advisable for pupils to bring with them, a piece of fruit and bottled water
Whenever possible [weather permitting] windows will be kept open in classrooms to maintain good air circulation. In addition, staff / class monitors will open ALL classroom windows at breaktimes so as to ensure rooms are ‘aired out’ fully during breaks.
The professional cleaning team advise that they will be disinfecting all desks and chairs every evening
The school ventilation system will have filters changed far more often
We have placed markings on floors to direct the flow of ‘traffic’ around the school
We will attempt to keep years 7 and 8 in their own classrooms for as many periods as possible so as to limit pupil movement around school
Additional staff rooms
In order to make more room for staff, we have allocated an additional temporary staff room [Room 210] and we may be able to provide additional quiet areas for staff [in the old YB block].
Screens / partitions have been installed in some staff workspaces
Web Cameras – enabling remote teaching
85 classrooms have been equipped with cameras and microphones so that, in the event we have to revert to a ‘rota’ system, pupils will be able to follow lessons from home
We are installing a thermal camera / temperature monitoring station which will automatically measure the temperatures of everyone in school [30 persons per second]. The idea is to further mitigate risk by identifying and sending home anyone who has temperature
The school buses continue to operate as normal
The school and the bus operators demand that all pupils wear masks and sit with their year group. In addition, the bus operators may require the use of a hand sanitiser prior to getting on the bus.
We have already forwarded details regarding bus passes etc. Queries regarding buses should be directed to Adele Whelan by email: email@example.com or on tel: 0161 740 3181
Parents are asked to drop off and collect their children at the gate [well-spaced out] and not to come into the campus – unless they have a meeting etc
Needless to say, pupils who have returned from countries where the UK government has imposed quarantine regulations, must remain at home for the duration of the quarantine period. All we ask is that you let the school office know
Children who do not feel well
Contrary to normal guidelines, we ask that anyone who is feeling even slightly unwell [cough, cold etc] should not to come into to school
Pupil wellbeing & happiness
As always, this remains a major school priority
Apart from the catch-up scheme we operated during the summer holidays, we will continue to focus on assisting anyone who has fallen behind [priority to years 11 and 13 and then to 10 etc]. We have allocated additional teacher time in timetables for this school priority
As previously advised, with the focus on academic ‘catch up’, with lots of COVID related restrictions, with limited space in the exclusion zone and limited resources, there will be less tolerance of bad behaviour and a greater risk that disruptive pupils will be sent home.