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Key information for families to support the re-opening of KNBS

Key information for families to support the re-opening of KNBS

We are very pleased to welcome the boys back to school - we have missed them. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank students, parents and staff for their mammoth efforts during remote learning. Although we have seen some fabulous remote learning work during the lockdown, I am sure that we are all pleased to have students back in the classroom where social interactions and more active learning can take place.

Risk Management

Although the vaccination plan is progressing rapidly and things are looking more promising, we must remain vigilant as the Covid pandemic should not be underestimated. To support us with our management of the risks, the DfE have stipulated a number of additional measures that we are expected to adopt. We will also re-establish our existing control measures which supported a very successful period of opening in September.

New Control Measures

Testing 

Key information

We will be organising Asymptomatic Testing before students return. Almost all of our families have signed up to and provided their consent for lateral flow testing. Without your consent, we will not test your son, although you may still get information about the test schedule. If you have not provided consent and still wish to do so, please follow this link:

The guidance from the DfE expects us to offer three tests as students return to school: one before they are back in the classroom, then another two tests 3-5 days apart. We have organised a rota for the administering of these initial tests in school which helps us to get students back into school as soon as possible. We have prioritised Key Stage 4 as they are working towards their qualifications, and then we will focus on Key Stage 3, working from youngest to oldest.

Students’ Initial Test Schedule

All students will have a test day as outlined below. They will be tested in form groups and should come to school at the beginning of their test window to register and complete their test. We envisage students will be on site for approximately 30 minutes, and once they have registered and completed their test, students will leave site and return home. We will contact parents as soon as possible if a student’s test returns positive. If you do not hear from us, please assume the test result is negative.

Students do not need to wear uniform if attending school just for their test.

Return to school schedule

Students cannot return to school before the 8th March. We have organised testing before that day so that we can expedite the return for all students and ensure that this is carried out in an efficient manner:

  • Key Stage 4 will have testing prior to their return to normal lessons from Monday the 8th March.
  • Key Stage 3 will begin testing from the 8th of March, as per the schedule. They will return to normal lessons the day after their negative test.

Preparation

Although we have managed to secure and train some excellent test support staff, it would be really useful if you could go through the following resources with your son so that he is prepared for his test and knows what to expect.

 

 

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Future Testing

Once students have had their 3rd test in school, we will receive a delivery of home test kits that will be made available for students to bring home. We have been informed that enough test kits will be delivered for students to do these twice a week at home.

Face Coverings 

New Guidance

The DfE has produce new guidance which KNBS will follow in regard to face coverings. Students are already expected to wear face coverings in corridors and highly populated areas, where social distancing is very difficult.

Our students are used to wearing masks and visors, and we have been impressed with their compliance, though it would be nice not to have to remind them so often. The wearing of face coverings has now been extended to the classroom. We have always allowed this, however, this is now an expectation for all rather than a choice for some. Class teachers do have some flexibility to allow students to remove face coverings for specific parts of a lesson where it is affecting teaching.

The new guidance does help to make the rule clearer:

If students are entering the building, they should have a face covering on, these should stay on while they are inside unless their teacher allows them to remove them for a particular task or activity, or they are eating their lunch.

Self-Isolation 

Key Information 

The DfE shared with schools a new January plan to use daily testing for contacts of a positive case, rather than enforcing self-isolation. However, due to lockdown this was never realised, and the strategy has now been abandoned. Students/staff should self-isolate if: 

  • They have symptoms or live with someone who is symptomatic 
  • They have tested positive for Covid-19 
  • They live with in the same household as a positive case 
  • They are a close contact of someone who has tested positive 

The self-isolation period remains 10 days from the onset of symptoms or a positive test result. 

Identifying Close Contacts 

We have further developed the sophistication of how we identify and track close contacts in school. From Monday the 8th of March, we will follow a staged approached to dealing with positive cases in school and enforcing self-isolation for our students: 

Stage 1 

If there is a single case in a year group close contacts will be identified and instructed self-isolate.  Similarly, if there are two cases in a year group that have no clear connection close contacts will be identified and instructed self-isolate. 

Stage 2 

If there are two or more linked cases, then this is most often classed as an ‘outbreak’ by Public Health England. This would require the self-isolation of a class bubble(s) or year group bubble. We hope to be able to avoid the need for the self-isolation of a whole year group bubble, however, the chances of this happening are greater when close contacts are more widespread. 

Stage 3 

If there is a significant number of cases within the student or staff groups, schools can be advised to shut for a short period to enable a reduction in the R rate for the school community. 

There will be situations that are more complex than any of these scenarios, and we will always seek and follow advice from Public Health England when dealing with positive cases in our school setting. If we remain vigilant and ensure we all respond quickly to any symptoms, we will be more successful in keeping school open and will reduce the need for mass self-isolation. 

 

Existing Control Measures

We have a number of established control measures which will be reactivated from Monday 8th March.

Timetable 

Our timetable is designed to keep movement around the school site to a minimum and reduce the risk of cross-bubble contamination. To do so, we introduced a number of changes, including:

  • staggered start and end times to the school day
  • slightly longer lesson times, some of which incorporate break or lunch

(A larger PDF version of the timetable is available HERE for you to print)

Key Stage 3 – Years 7 and 8

To reduce the risk of transmission within and between bubbles your son will be taught most often in his form group, with the same students. When he is not taught in his form group, it is for essential learning to take place, for instance in Design Technology where group sizes need to be smaller for health and safety reasons.

Key Stage 3 – Year 9

Where possible, your son will be taught in his form group. However, with his options and the start of GCSEs approaching, it is important that some subjects can be grouped differently. For example, Maths sets or Design Technology groups that need to be smaller for health and safety reasons.

Key Stage 4 – Years 10 and 11

Your son will be taught in his normal groups for all subjects. We have adapted timetables to incorporate more double lessons, and sometimes your son will be taught in a non-specialist room or his teacher might move to where he already has been taught. These measures reduce the need to move and reduces the opportunities for transmission. As he is in an older year group, we are expecting these students to move around the building more than younger years and act as role models.

‘Bubbles’ 

In accordance with Government guidelines, we will be operating year group bubbles. This means that students in each year group will not always need to socially distance from others in their year group. However, it is key that your son recognises the importance of not mixing with other bubbles. This will mean not arriving at school with students outside of his bubble and not socialising after school with those outside of his bubble either. The timetable for each year means that students will have minimal opportunities to mix with other bubbles in school; it is important that if your son does encounter students from other bubbles, he maintains social-distancing expectations. We expect that all students will use their self-discipline in complying with this in order to minimise the risk of transmission of Covid-19.

Students must also maintain the expected social distance from staff; whilst we understand this is difficult during lessons, it is vitally important that this happens whenever possible, as this also lowers the risk of transmission.

First Floor

Ground Floor

Hygiene 

As you will have previously noted from our website, we were planning a number of precautionary measures that we would have in place ready for the new school year – we can confirm that the following are now in place:

  • There are now hand sanitiser dispensers in all rooms. It will still be helpful if students have their own personal hand sanitiser and tissues.
  • PPE and screening equipment will be used by all our first aid team
  • We have increased capacity in our cleaning team to support more regular cleaning, and a robust schedule in place
  • We have purchased a “fogging” machine to effectively clean large areas quickly and effectively
  • Cleaning staff will be using the required PPE

Students’ cleaning

When your son arrives at school, he will be expected to sanitise his hands before entering the building. Each room will also have its own hand sanitiser and we will ask students to use this upon entering each room, as well as washing their hands thoroughly after using the toilet, and more often than usual generally. It is vitally important that every student supports us with this.

Although we have taken measures to minimise movement around the school, before students leave their lesson, they will be expected to wipe down their book and desk in support of the next user and to minimise the chance of transmission. This will not replace the room being cleaned by our cleaning team, it is an added hygiene measure and important life lesson.

Cashless school 

On our return, KNBS will be a cashless site. This is something that we have grown accustom to as adults, with most shops only accepting contactless or card payments.

Students' accounts to buy food will need to be topped up online via ParentPay. This is to eliminate the risk for students and staff of handling cash. Please ensure that you have activated your account using the personal log-in details that you have been previously issued. If you have any problems with this, you can contact us via enquiry@knbs.co.uk Please do not send your son in with cash to purchase his lunch- he will be unable to do so. This significantly reduces the risk of transmission.

Room adaptations 

Classes will be taught in bubbles and therefore social distancing measures are not expected in classrooms; however, we have still put in place significant control measures to reduce the likelihood of transmission:

  • Wherever possible, classroom layouts have been amended so that all students are facing the front
  • Acrylic screens are in place for where face to face contact cannot be avoided (e.g. Canteen, PC rooms, Music practice rooms)
  • The implementation of new room numberings and a one-way system will support social distancing measures across the school
  • We will maintain good ventilation
  • All rooms have hand sanitiser stations and students are expected to sanitise as they enter the room
  • All students will wipe down their desk and books as they leave their lesson
Canteen changes 

In order to ensure that we can safely accommodate all year groups, we are staggering the lunchtimes for each year group. To further reduce the risks to students, we will not be using plates or utensils. The impact that these changes will have are: 

  • there will be no canteen food available during break times; your son will need to bring an appropriate snack with him
  • the range of food available at lunchtime will be of a nutritious ‘takeaway’ nature that can be eaten without the need for utensils
  • Screens are in place to form a transmission barrier between students and our serving counter
  • Surfaces in the canteen and dining room will be wiped down between use by different bubbles.
EQUIPMENT 

We have worked very hard to minimise the transmission risk, and your support is very much appreciated. To achieve this, it is crucial that your son meets our minimum expectations for equipment that he needs to bring to school every day. Avoiding the sharing of equipment is one way that we hope to further minimise the risk of the transmission of Covid-19.

Minimum expectations:

  • Two black pens, a pencil, a ruler, a rubber, all in a pencil case
  • A water bottle
  • A full-size bag

Non-essential but extremely helpful items:

  • coloured pencils
  • calculator
  • protractor and compass
  • glue stick
  • headphones (3.5mm jack plug)
Adaptations to School uniform 

We appreciate that the news in our last email, that students should wear their PE kit for the whole day when they are timetabled to have PE, may have raised a number of questions; we hope these will be answered here:

  • your son can wear KNBS PE kit all day on the days he has a timetabled PE lesson
  • the PE kit must be KNBS PE kit as detailed in our uniform expectations
  • your son can wear trainers for the whole day
  • if the weather is cold, your son can wear plain blue or black jogging bottoms, but he must still have KNBS PE shorts on underneath to wear in his PE lesson; no tracksuit bottoms are to be worn in PE lessons
  • Students will be undertaking physical activities in-line with the current guidelines around physical activity in schools - https://www.afpe.org.uk/physical-education/coronavirus-guidance-support/
  • Students will undertake normal PE curriculum outdoor sports and should bring in relevant kit (shinpads, boots etc) when told to by their teacher for lessons.
  • If you have any concerns or questions about your son and his participation in anything regarding PE, please get in contact with Mr Milton (l.milton@knbs.co.uk)
  • No gum shields will be needed until contact rugby can take place within school. Students will be informed by PE staff when this will happen.
  • If weather conditions are really poor, students will not complete outdoor PE during the morning, to avoid them having to sit in wet kit for the remainder of the day.
  • On the days he doesn't have PE, your son must wear normal KNBS uniform.
TRANSPORT TO SCHOOL 

We are still encouraging boys to walk or to ride their bikes to school; there are huge health benefits in them doing so. We are, however, having to revise the facilities that we have for storing bikes on site, in order to further reduce the risks of transmitting Covid-19. We hope to be able to update you on the arrangements for this early next week, but please reassure your son that if he was planning to ride to school, he will still be able to do so. Please note that it is essential that any boy riding his bike to school also brings with him a suitable bike lock.

Update about bikes

In order to further minimise the risk of cross-bubble contamination, we have revised our arrangements for the storage of students’ bikes on the school site. Students who ride their bike to school will be advised during their induction of where to store their bikes.

Transport to School - Update

We have been liaising with Transport for West Midlands to find out what they are putting in place to support those that need to use public transport to get to school.We can now confirm their response:

Service 18 - will increase in frequency to provide a bus every 10 minutes.

Service 27 - will be operating every 20 minutes but with a timetable change to give improved reliability, particularly in the afternoon.

Additionally, National Express have a number of spare vehicles available to them at very short notice should they be needed to meet any unmet demand on the network; this will be reported by drivers already on the route affected.

Whilst we remain confident that there is sufficient overall capacity on these routes, pupils should be mindful that vehicle capacity is reduced due to social distancing requirements and therefore they may not be able to board the first bus that comes along.Pupils should therefore leave more time for their journey to ensure they get to school on time.

In order to assist teachers, parents and pupils for returning to school we are providing travel information at the following link;

https://www.wmnetwork.co.uk/plan-your-journey/back-to-school/

Fixtures/trips/extrA-curricular 

There will be no extra-curricular or sporting activities taking place outside of lessons, apart from peripatetic music lessons and our outdoor education, until further notice. If your son has previously undertaken instrument lessons, he will be given more information about this in due course. We do not plan to run any trips in the short term either.

We will be reviewing arrangements for these elements of the curriculum at the end of this term and will update you about any changes for after Easter in due course.

LOCKERS & PACKED LUNCHES 

We have maintained lockers as our boys find them incredibly useful. In the past we are aware that students have shared lockers. In the current circumstances this cannot be allowed.

If a student needs to access his locker and another bubble is occupying that space, he must be careful to maintain social distancing. Staff will be around and they can support. All of our Lockers are now secured with a school padlock. These can be re-set by specific staff if students forget their combination. This avoids the need to bring keys home at the risk of losing them.

If you would like your son to have a locker please sign up on ParentPay.

Packed Lunches

A few of you have asked whether students are still allowed to bring their individual lunchboxes to school or whether they need to use disposable packaging. We encourage the use of reusable containers as students carry these with them throughout the day or keep them in their individual locker. This poses no increased risk of the transmission of Covid-19, as long as students do not share with one another.

We would like to remind you that no fizzy drinks or energy drinks are allowed as these have a proven negative impact on both health and concentration.Please also give careful consideration to sending your son with foods containing allergens, such as peanuts, as we have a number of students with severe allergies.

Adapted School Policies 

How will we ensure students meet our revised expectations at KNBS

The behaviour policy has been updated to incorporate additional expectations around our new procedures. These will be communicated to students upon their return. We will have a zero-tolerance policy regarding students who fail to adhere to safety measures put in place to safeguard against the transmission of Covid-19.

You have chosen us as we have high expectations for all the boys who attend our school.These circumstances we find ourselves in need more routine and compliance, not less.Therefore, we will be looking to our boys to step up to the challenge and show us the best of themselves; we are certain they can do it.

Food Technology Practical Lessons 

Students in Key Stage 3 undertake Food Technology lessons as part of our subject rotation, with many students going on to select Food Preparation and Nutrition as one of their GCSE options in Year 10 and 11.

We think that carefully planned practical activities should be part of your son's Food Technology provision for the duration of the time they spend studying this subject. The school has taken advice from the CLEAPSS Science and Technology advisory service to allow us to develop procedures to enable students to complete practical cooking activities in a ‘Covid Secure’ environment.We understand that some students, parents and carers may be apprehensive about practical cooking activities and so this letter explains the enhanced procedures that will be implemented during these lessons.

  • Students will remain within their ‘bubble’ during all lessons.
  • Only one ‘bubble’ will complete practical cooking activities in the food tech room per day.
  • Students will sanitise their hands using alcohol-based hand sanitiser on entry to the classroom and will wash hands with soap and water before handling food items.
  • Teachers will remain 2m away from students where possible. When teachers need to give direct support to students during practical work, they will wear disposable gloves and a face visor.
  • Students will be required provide and wear either a mask or face visor for the duration of practical cooking activities.
  • Plastic aprons that can be sanitised will be available however we encourage students to bring in their own, clean, apron.
  • All surfaces will have been sanitised prior to cooking tasks commencing.
  • All cooking equipment used by students will have been cleaned and sterilised before use. Sterilisation will be completed through either 72 hour quarantine or the use of a commercial sterilisation product such as Milton.
  • All dishes will be ‘hot’ and must be thoroughly reheated before consumption.
  • Students will need to bring in their own container to store and take home cooked food.

We are confident that these measures will allow practical cooking to take place in as safe an environment as possible however we understand that some may wish to opt out of these activities. If you do wish for your son to opt out, it is still important that students develop practical cooking skills. Students will still be expected to plan and develop dishes as part of their cooking lessons and we ask, where possible, that they are given the opportunity to prepare these dishes at home, with photographs taken so that students can be given feedback on this important element of the course.

If you would like to opt out of practical cooking tasks or would like to discuss this matter further, please contact Mrs Brown via email: enquiry@knbs.co.uk

 

Our collective responsibility to avoid coming to school with symptoms & test, track and trace

Our Collective Responsibility

It is going to be imperative in the coming weeks, that we all share the collective responsibility for keeping everyone in our school community safe.In school we have mitigated the risks that we face, however the biggest risk is for someone to attend school if they are not feeling well, have Covid-19 symptoms or should be isolating.

Testing followed by Track and Trace is an essential part of our defences and it is essential that we all use it so that we can all attend school with confidence.

Who can get a test

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can get a test.

Coronavirus symptoms are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You can get a test for someone you live with if they have these symptoms. Do not get tests for people you live with who do not have these symptoms.”

(NHS website)

Test and Trace website

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/nhs-test-and-trace-if-youve-been-in-contact-with-a-person-who-has-coronavirus/

Book a test here:

https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/antigen/name

While you wait for a test result, your son should stay at home until the results of the test are known. You should contact the school to let us know the situation, and then immediately inform us when the results of that test arrive.

It is also essential that, should your son develop symptoms of Covid-19, you should NOT send him to school.


Useful Documents:

Microsoft Teams Quick Start Guide

KNBS Risk Assessment

Dfe Guidance for re-opening schools