School is open for all students
The overview of St Marylebone’s plans for opening this autumn is in this video, shared in July, with an August update letter which was shared again in early September (see letter here). Many questions are answered in the video and letter. Here are some other questions and answered.
How is it going now that St Marylebone is fully open again?
It is great to have everyone back. The support of staff, students, parents, carers and the PTA has been so motivating. We are really proud of how our students are adapting to the new routines, including hygiene expectations. We are all getting used to new one-way systems. We have tweaked some of our systems to make things smoother and we continue to review things regularly. We are pleased to be able to sustain the breadth of our curriculum offer, including KS4 and KS5 options, while keeping students in year-group bubbles and minimising mixing as far as possible, within the constraints of our sites. There are a number of questions about “what happens if …?” which is why we have produced these FAQs.
What is the School doing to minimise the risks of transmission of COVID-19?
The School has implemented a number of protective measures to minimise risk. Please watch the video about this shared in July and read the update to this shared in August and re-shared in early September.
What happens if a student or staff member develops COVID-19 symptoms at school?
If anyone at school becomes unwell with a new and persistent cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell, they will be sent home and advised to follow ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus infection’. This person must self-isolate for at least 10 days and must arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus. In the case of a student, the School will contact the parent about dismissal, advice and getting a test.
All other members of that person’s household, including any siblings, should self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptomatic person first had symptoms.
To arrange a test, you must go to: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/ or simply search “NHS coronavirus test”.
You must inform the School of the outcome of the test. Please contact the student’s Form Tutor and the Pastoral Team’s administrator: firstname.lastname@example.org
What if the COVID test result is negative?
If the test result is negative and the person does not have COVID-19 symptoms and no-one else in the household has COVID-19 symptoms, the person can return to school.
If the rest result is negative but the person still has symptoms, they must stay at home until the symptoms go away.
If the test result is negative but others in the household still have symptoms and are awaiting test results, they must stay at home until the test results are also negative and no-one in the household has any symptoms.
What if the COVID test result is positive?
If the COVID test result is positive, the person with the positive test result must follow ‘stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection’ and must continue to self isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of their symptoms. They must only return to school only if they do not have symptoms.
In the case of a student, the student’s parent / carer must inform the School as soon as possible. Please call 020 935 4704 and please email email@example.com and the student’s Form Tutor and Head of Year. The School will then follow Public Health advice, starting by calling our local Health Protection Team at the London COVID Response Cell.
What happens if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the School (ie if a student or staff member gets a positive test result)?
If the School learns of a student or staff member who gets a positive test result, we will contact our local Health Protection Team at the London COVID Response Cell. They will advise the School about next steps, including using the NHS Test and Trace system. We will need to identify anyone in school who has had “close contact” with the infected person. These people will have to go home and self-isolate for 14 days.
“Close contact” is defined as:
- face-to-face contact with an infected individual for any length of time, within 1 metre, including being coughed on, a face-to-face conversation, or unprotected physical contact
- extended close contact (within 1 to 2 metres for more than 15 minutes)
- travelling in a small vehicle, like a car, with an infected person
In this situation, the School will contact all relevant parents / carers by email with information and advice.
In some cases, the Health Protection Team might may recommend that a larger number of pupils self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure. Since our school is organised into year-group zones, it is possible that a year-group might need to go home. We would take advice from the local Health Protection Team on this and we would inform parents / carers as appropriate.
Will the School share my personal data with NHS Test and Trace?
The School’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) responsibilities include a duty to share relevant information with health authorities. This is set out in the School’s Privacy Statement which you can read here (link). If the School is asked to inform NHS Test and Trace of the names and contact phone numbers of people who have tested positive or who have been in close contact with an infected person, we will do so, in line with our GDPR responsibilities, as set out in our Privacy Statement. If you do not consent to your data being shared in this circumstance, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The School will never share personal information outside of the organisation for any reason which falls outside our GDPR responsibilities.
If students are self-isolating but are not unwell, how does their learning continue?
In a situation where an individual student is self-isolating but is not unwell (for example, someone else in their household has COVID symptoms and is awaiting a test result but the student is not unwell), the student should log onto Google Classroom to see what school work they need to do. They can message their teachers via Google Classroom if they have any questions.
In a situation where a large group of students (such as a year group) is instructed to self-isolate, the School will provide school work on Google Classroom and will set up a pattern of live sessions for certain subjects at certain times of the week, which will be accessed by students via Google Meet. Details of this will be shared with relevant students and their parents / carers as soon as is practically possible if and when it happens.
If a student does not have access to the internet or to a computer or laptop at home which can be used for doing school work, please contact email@example.com. The School will do its best to lend devices to students who need them.
If a teacher is self-isolating but not unwell, how does their teaching continue?
In instances where a teacher has to self-isolate but is not unwell (for example, because someone they live with has COVID symptoms but the teacher does not have COVID symptoms), the teacher will set cover work for their class from home and, where possible, will try to make audio or visual communicate with the class (recorded or live). A member of staff or cover supply teacher will supervise the class.
In the situation where a large number of teachers are unable to attend school for COVID-related reasons, it is also likely that a large number of students would also be in this situation, due to local COVID conditions or restrictions. In this situation, the School will enable learning to continue through a mixture of Google Classroom and Google Meet, according to the circumstances.
My child has a persistent cough. Should I send them to school?
Nobody should come to school if they have COVID-19 symptoms. Nobody should come to school if they are self-isolating because they are living with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms.
Coronavirus symptoms are:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
If your child has one or more of these symptoms, they should not come to school and you must follow the advice above. The School and our staff are not doctors and, while a number of us are first aid trained, we are not able to diagnose medical conditions.
Always inform the School if your child is going to be absent, and give the reason. You can use the MyEd app or telephone: 020 935 4704 or, as a back-up, email firstname.lastname@example.org
How can students get lunch on-site?
The School is providing packed lunches for students eligible for Free School Meals. If you think your child might be eligible for Free School Meals, visit this page on our website.
We are encouraging everyone to bring their own food and drink, to minimise numbers moving around school to collect on-site catering. If however you do want to pre-order packed lunches for the term or if your child receives Free School Meals, see the letter from Ms Swan about this or contact email@example.com
for more information. Lunches need to be ordered for a whole term. Students cannot decide to get a packed lunch one day but not the next.
The pre-ordered pack lunch system is another of the School’s protective measures to reduce the chances of virus transmission.
Why can’t the School halve the class sizes and operate on a rota system or move into local empty office spaces to enable more social distancing?
The School is following the Department for Education’s instruction to open full-time for all students, as set out here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools
We cannot halve class sizes without doubling the number of teachers. Even if there were a large, affordable, school-appropriate office space nearby to take over (with the budget, ICT-systems, safeguarding set-up, proximity, longevity and all-round feasibility), we would still need to have double the number of teachers if we were to halve all the classes. Halving classes means doubling the number of classes and each needs a teacher. This is not a feasible option.
Why are the toilets locked at breaktime?
The toilets for Years 8,9,10 and 11 are in one block along one corridor. This is a rather constrained area of the school site. If we open the toilets at breaktime, all students from all these four year groups would be able to enter this corridor at once. This would undermine our attempts to keep students in year-group-bubbles.
Students can ask to leave their lesson to use the toilet during lessons. They can also go before school, at lunchtime or after school. Only one student per class can be dismissed at one time. This helps limit the numbers who can gather in the toilets at any one time.
At lunchtime, we have no more than two year groups on the staggered lunchtime at once, in separate areas of the school, with senior staff on duty in the toilet corridor, and the relevant year-group toilets at least more spread out physically.
Can people wear masks at school?
Anyone is welcome to wear a face mask at any time in school and we encourage mask-wearing in busy spaces such as corridors. We are reviewing our stance on this. Currently a number of students and staff are regularly and safely wearing masks around school. Staff and students are advised to put on, take off and wear their masks safely, in line with Public Health guidance which can be read in the “How to wear a face covering” section of this Public Health guidance.