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School Reopening Update

06 August 2020

Thank you to everyone who responded to the questionnaire we sent out last week. There has been an excellent response and a clear indication that the large majority of families wish for their children to return and to attend school from the start of term.

  • Patrick Horne

The information you have submitted is also extremely useful in helping us specifically plan for each year group. For those who have not yet responded, we would be very grateful if you could please do so by clicking here. It is a very short questionnaire and your responses really do help us plan for your child.

I will continue to write to you each week to keep you updated with everything that is in place for the reopening of school. To reiterate, our school will be opening fully to enable all families and students who wish to return to be able to do so.

In addition to previous communication, please find below further information at this stage on the various aspects of reopening.

The First Week Back

With some adjustments to the way we use our rooms and staff, we know that the school will be able to accommodate all returning students. Having said that, we will be taking a little bit of time to help students, parents and staff adapt to the new routines and safety practices. During the first week there will be arrangements in place for different year groups to attend on different days, as everyone gets used to the new arrangements.

Start and Finish of Each Day

There are new processes to ensure students are socially distanced on entry to the site, and everyone’s temperature will be taken each morning. Entry to the school will therefore be a little slower, which means there will be a staggered start to each day allowing different year groups to enter at different times. We still expect all students to be in the building and ready to work by 8:00am.

Should a student’s temperature be too high at the start of a day, there will be secure waiting rooms set aside. The student is to then be collected and taken home. We do however request that all parents please take your child’s temperature each day and keep them off school should they show any signs of fever or a high temperature.

There is no requirement for a temperature check at the end of the day. There will be a staggered dismissal so students do not all exit the building at the same time.

Pastoral Care

We are very aware of the care needed for students who are returning to school after a long absence, or who are starting a new school. Having a staggered start gives teachers and parents the time and space to look out for each child as they adapt to the new term. Our staff are all very experienced in helping students get used to their school and personal and social wellbeing will be a key priority from that first week.

One parent for a child in Nursery, FS2 and Year 1 will be permitted to accompany their child onto the site to help take them to the class. For the younger ones we will also look at establishing daily routines with them early on so they get used to their new surroundings. Arrangements for these year groups will very much take this into account and are also likely to include slightly shorter days initially.

Entry onto the Site

The different entrances to the site and to the school building will be allocated to different year groups, so that students do not all arrive at the same place together.

The car park has been redeveloped by the Department of Transport over the last couple of months and will be finished in the next week or so. We are lucky to have a large car park but this does mean there are likely to be some new routes for us all to get used to. The staggered start during the first week will also help everyone become familiar with the best route to take for each entrance to school.

Health Clinic

Our clinic and nurses will support all health concerns just as they always do. In addition, should a child demonstrate any symptoms which may be COVID-related, there will be isolation rooms in place where the student can wait before being collected. They should then be taken to a hospital for immediate testing.

COVID Tests

The advice from the authorities remains that anyone who comes onto the school site must have had a COVID test, and this will be shown within the AL-HOSN app. We are advised that further guidance will be published on procedures for testing prior to return to school.

Safety Precautions in the Building

  • Social distancing of 1.5m between students in classrooms
  • Students above the age of 6 to wear masks
  • All staff and parents are to wear masks
  • Hand sanitiser in every classroom, on corridors and in common areas
  • Increased numbers of cleaning staff
  • Heat sensors at all entrances
  • Heat sensors on all buses
  • One-way systems around the school

Lessons

Wherever possible we will be sticking to the normal school timetable and normal learning expectations. In general, it will be teachers who will move between rooms for different classes rather than students moving. Students will have breaks but these will be staggered during the day to avoid contact with other classes or year groups.

Amendments will be made wherever common resources are normally used. There will be full safety and cleaning protocols in place so students are not sharing resources.

There will be no PE lessons for the time being, nor co-curricular activities. However, physical wellbeing does of course remain crucially important so our PE staff will continue to set remote physical challenges, just as were in place last term.

Lunches

It is not permitted for food to be served so students will need to bring their own snacks and lunches. Students will eat in their classrooms.

Virtual Learning

There will continue to be a virtual learning provision for any student who is at home. There are also full plans in place for us to return to virtual learning, should a partial or full closure ever be required. Students will always be able to continue their learning wherever they may be.

Orientation

In normal years we would hold an orientation day to enable students and parents to visit the school before term starts. This isn’t possible this year, but there will be a virtual orientation so all parents and students have the opportunity to speak with their new class teachers and form tutors.

UAE Authorities

We have been greatly heartened by the response to the pandemic from ADEK and other UAE authorities. Please be aware though that the current situation does change, and the authorities continue to publish or amend guidance. We are working closely with them and will of course keep the BIS Abu Dhabi community updated as and when new information and changes are received.

Further Communications

We appreciate that not every question can be answered in a single letter, however, we do aim to cover the more general points here so everyone is aware. Further details with specific arrangements for each year group will be sent separately during the next two weeks. In addition to this we will also send out videos for each year group, so parents and students can be familiar with the new arrangements and safety procedures before they arrive.

Further Questions

The link below will take you to a simple form if you wish to ask any questions. As mentioned above, the general points for each year group will be published separately, so please do await that. However, we do understand that people often have particular questions that are important to them or to their child.

Please click this link if you wish to ask any questions. We will get back to every query by phone or by e-mail.

My thanks again to everyone for their flexibility and support during this time. As mentioned initially, the vast majority of parents wish their children to return; we are very happy that our school is able to enable this and that the children can experience the classroom environment one more.

The planning that has taken place during the holiday means we are fully confident about students returning, and that the school will be able to operate successfully whilst keeping us all as safe as possible.

 

Patrick Horne,

Principal

 

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