Returning to School in September 2020
We have created a FAQ version of the information sent to parents and carers at the start of September below.
We do appreciate that this may be an anxious time for parents and students. We are also aware that the measures we have put in place are, as yet, untested. As a result, arrangements may well change at short notice. We will keep you informed of any adjustments we need to make and thank you for your support and understanding. Please be assured that the safety of students and staff remains our first priority and we will continue to do all we can in this regard.
We hope that this, together with our student guide will provide the information you need to help us ensure a smooth start to the academic year. If you have any immediate questions or concerns, please contact your child’s year team in the first instance.
- Student Guide to Returning to School in September 2020
- What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak (gov.uk)
Frequently Asked Questions
Will students have to wear face coverings?
You may be aware that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently changed its advice regarding the wearing of face masks when it was announced that:
“children aged 12 and over should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults, in particular when they cannot guarantee at least a one-metre distance from others and there is widespread transmission in the area".
Subsequently, the Government advice on the wearing of face masks in educational settings also changed. In order to ensure our students and staff are as safe as possible, the Trust has decided that face masks should be worn in communal areas including corridors as it is in these spaces where it is most difficult to maintain at least one-metre social distancing. At The Howard, as well as in corridors, communal areas include lunch queues (inside), the sixth form common room and study centre, and toilets at break times.
We will keep this strategy under review as the term progresses. Students are required to wear face masks if they travel to or from school on public transport. Students should also wear a face covering on dedicated school coaches, buses and taxis.
What kind of face covering is best?
THPT is suggesting that, ideally, you provide your child with three clean face masks each day. Students should keep clean face masks in a sealable plastic bag and store worn re-useable masks in a separate sealable plastic bag.
We would welcome you supporting the young people by ensuring that their face masks adhere to the Government advice which states that face coverings should:
- cover the nose and mouth while allowing them to breathe comfortably
- fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
- be secured to the head with ties or ear loops
- be made of a material that is comfortable and breathable, such as cotton
- ideally include at least two layers of fabric (the World Health Organisation recommends three depending on the fabric used)
- unless disposable, be washed with other items of laundry at the highest temperature available for the fabric type
How should face coverings be worn and removed?
It would also be helpful if you could discuss with your child the Government advice below on how they should wear and remove their face covering.
- wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on
- avoid wearing masks on the neck or forehead • avoid touching the part of the face covering in contact with their mouth and nose
- change the face covering if it becomes damp or if they’ve touched it
- avoid taking it off and putting it back in quick succession
When removing a face mask, students should:
- wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before removing
- only handle the straps, ties or clips
- not give it to someone else to use
- if single-use, dispose of it carefully
- if reusable store it in a plastic bag until it can be washed
If your child has needs which will make the wearing of a face mask difficult or you have issues providing them, please contact the year team.
Will staff also be wearing face coverings?
Staff have also been asked to wear face coverings in corridors and communal areas.
How else can parents support the school in limiting the spread of the virus?
We are asking you, as parents, to support us by:
- not sending your child to school if they or anyone else in their household have a persistent cough, temperature or have lost their sense of smell or taste or any other symptoms as per Government COVID guidance
- not sending your child to school if someone in their household is self-isolating, adhering to Government self-isolating guidance
- informing the school if the outcome of a COVID 19 test result for your child is positive or anyone in the household
- discussing with your children the school’s adjusted rules and routines once they are made explicit
- being prepared to have your child collected from school quickly should they appear to have symptoms
- practising good hand and respiratory hygiene at home
- not allowing children or young people to have social contact beyond that which is advised by the Government
- adhering to the advice of medical professionals if your child is extremely clinically vulnerable
- following the school’s arrangements for parental access to the school site
- ensuring that your child has all their own equipment as advised by the school
- ensuring that your child’s clothes are washed regularly
- avoiding using public transport if at all possible
- reminding your child not to chew gum in school
- providing your child with their own personal hand sanitiser if you would like to
Will students be able to top-up their cashless catering accounts at school?
We would ask that you top-up your child’s account for the purchase of food on-line. We have disabled the machine which accepts cash. Please let the year team know as a matter of urgency if this causes a problem for you. Our caterers have told us that they will sanitise the fingertip recognition unit used at the tills between each transaction.
Where should students go when they arrive at school?
We look forward to welcoming students back to school according to the timetable sent out in July. On arrival to school, students should assemble in the spaces designated below, remembering to maintain social distancing at all times.
- Year 7: Lower school playground upper tier (except for 7 September when Year 7 will come in the front door, through the hall and into the upper school playground before assembling in the gym)
- Year 8: Lower school playground lower tier
- Year 9: Field
- Year 10: Upper school playground
- Year 11: Canteen (Arks), Cyber Café (Royals)
- Sixth Form: Sixth Form Centre, inside and outside.
What are the arrangements for getting to lessons?
Students will be collected by tutors each morning they are in school from 7 – 11 September. From the start of the week beginning 14 September, students should continue to use their designated location. Years 7 – 9 should wait to be collected from this area by their period 1 teacher, and should make sure that they are ready to be collected at 8.45. Years 10-13 should move to their period 1 classroom between 8.40 and 8.45, ready to be registered and to begin lessons at 8.50. Masks should be worn throughout this time in line with the guidance above.
How frequently will students be able to wash/sanitise their hands?
Hand sanitiser will be provided in each classroom, or where there are the facilities in teaching rooms, students may wash their hands with soap on arrival.
How will students circulate safely around the school site?
Although it is not possible for us to have a complete ‘one-way’ system, we have designated some doors as either ‘in’ or ‘out’ to help with the flow of students and to keep separate groups apart as much as possible. Doors will be clearly marked, as will distances and separation in corridors. We will expect students to use these indicators to keep themselves and others safe. We are restricting Years 7-9 to specific areas of the school and are keeping them in year group ‘bubbles’. Years 10-13, who require access to specialist teaching spaces will have wider access to the school but will, as far as possible, have no contact with the younger students.
What are the arrangements for the end of the day?
At the end of the school day (3pm following the adjusted timetable), students who are walking, cycling or being collected from school should leave the site as quickly as possible, remembering to maintain a 2m distance from others at all times. Students in Years 10-13 who catch a bus should move to the front of school and board the bus as soon as they can, filling up from the back. Students in Years 7-9 should return to their designated assembly point and wait to be called to their transport.
Will buss passes be issued?
Bus passes for Year 7 students have been issued directly by Surrey County Council. For students in Years 8-13 passes will be given to students when they return to school. For the first few days students will be able to catch the bus until their pass is issued. Bus drivers have a list of passengers for each of the bus routes.
Will the canteen be available for students to purchase food?
A food service will be available for students during each of the allocated break times. We have added two external service points in addition to the Dining Hall and Cyber Café. This is intended to reduce the queuing time and to help in keeping students a reasonable distance apart.
Will lockers be available?
We will not be allocating lockers to students at this time, apart from in the Sixth Form. Students should bring what they need to school each day and be prepared to keep it with them. Please be aware that we will not be able to accept forgotten items for students at reception for the foreseeable future.
Will students be able to secure bikes on site?
Cycle storage has been adjusted to support a one-way system. Students who would prefer to avoid the cycle shed may chain cycles to the fence next to the nursery.
How will arrangements for changing in PE be adapted?
Changing Room changes
- Students will sanitise their hands (using the wall mounted hand sanitisers provided) when lining up outside the changing rooms prior to entering the changing rooms.
- Masks to be worn inside the changing rooms whilst students are changing.
- Students to sanitise their hands when leaving the changing rooms prior to starting their PE lesson.
- Students to sanitise their hands when re-entering the changing rooms after their PE lesson
- When changed back into their uniform students will collect an individually wrapped sanitising wipe and will wipe down their seating area and clothes hook ready for the next person.
- Students will sanitise their hands when leaving changing rooms prior to going to their next lesson
- PE teachers will sanitise changing room and entrance doors in between lesson changeovers
- Students are encouraged to also bring their own hand sanitiser to school.
General information about changing rooms / valuables
- All windows will remain open to ensure ventilation is adequate in all changing rooms
- A minimum of 1 deep clean will occur each day as well as sanitising between each lesson throughout the day.
- Unfortunately, there will be no loaning of spare PE kit. If a student has forgotten an item of their PE kit, they will be issued with a sanction.
- With the absence of lockers, PE staff have agreed to collect students’ mobile phones and store them during lessons in order to help protect property. To avoid any confusion, staff will only do this if phones are labelled with students’ names. For complete peace of mind, we would strongly encourage that student’s phones stay at home, if possible, on PE days.