- Will families still be asked to pay full fees in the event the School is forced to close again?
Yes. The School still needs to pay staff and utility bills, as well as pay existing loans. If you believe that you will not be able to pay full fees please contact Jane Roberts (our Finance Administrator, email email@example.com) to arrange an amended Financial Agreement. The School will do all we can to help families during this pandemic.
- How will classes be run if staff are absent due to either a positive COVID-19 test, or due to a requirement to self-isolate for 14 days?
The School has developed a contingency plan to enable classes to run if a member of the teaching staff is absent.
- If my child has to stay at home will we receive any support for homeschooling?
Yes. The teachers will provide some material to keep pupils engaged provided they have a legitimate reason for staying at home.
Before you leave to travel to Nant-y-Cwm
- Are you or your children feeling unwell or showing symptoms of COVID-19?
If your child has a slight fever but no cough do not send them to NyC. Wait until their fever passes.
If you or your child have very mild symptoms of COVID-19 keep your child at home. Get yourself or your child tested straight away and wait for the result.
- If it is negative for COVID-19 your child can return to NyC.
- If it is positive the person tested must self-isolate at home for 10 days from when symptoms started. Other members of the household must self-isolate at home for 14 days from when the symptoms started.
Getting to Nant-y-Cwm
- Can we car share?
The current guidance is that if there are no alternatives (walking or cycling) it is permissible to car share to get children to school or kindergarten, ideally with just one other household, but
- all occupants of the car should sit as far apart as possible, wear 3-layer face coverings (masks), and face away from each other, (children’s used face coverings must not be brought inside buildings),
- the vehicle windows should be open,
- the occupants should sit quietly (singing or shouting increases the potential for virus spread),
- avoid stops en route (such as getting fuel, or visiting a shop), and
- ask all passengers to wash, or sanitise, their hands after arriving at home.
- What if I’m running late in the morning?
We are no longer advising you to turn around and head back home. If you can do so safely, please telephone the School to say you expect to be late. When you arrive late, if there is no staff member in the playground or outside the Kindergarten, please ring the bell or knock on the door.
Arriving at Nant-y-Cwm
- Where, and when, should we drop our children off?
Refer to the update number 12 sent to parents on Tuesday 1st September. Please arrive as close to 8.55am in the morning as you can, bearing in mind that you, and your children, don’t want to stand around in inclement weather. Kindergarten closes at 1.00pm every afternoon, and main school at 3.30pm.
- Why no staggered start, or leaving, times?
Nant-y-Cwm is a small school and Kindergarten. The access roads are narrow and it can be difficult for cars to pass if some are attempting to get there while others are travelling away from it. There is adequate space outside both the Kindergarten and main school for social distancing should parents need to wait.
- Why can’t I go inside the Kindergarten or main school?
We need to preserve the “bubbles”, and to limit unnecessary contact between adults and children. You are permitted to enter only in an emergency or by specific invitation from a member of staff when you will be asked to wear a face covering.
- How do the children enter the Kindergarten and main school? (More details in update number 12.)
In the Kindergarten, parents and children walk down the woodland path and enter the play yard one household at a time. The children are taken inside the building and the parent(s) leave by the gate onto the road.
In main school, all children enter the playground via the small gate and assemble with their teacher on marked spaces in the playground. When the full class has assembled, or at 8.55am, whichever happens soonest, the teacher accompanies their class to their separate entrance.
- Why isn’t the School checking pupils’ temperatures when they arrive every day?
Children’s temperatures will often vary quite a lot under normal, healthy, circumstances. Temperature checks are not a good indication of COVID-19 symptoms. Temperatures should be taken after children and adults have been indoors for at least 10 minutes. (The School has purchased digital, non-contact, infra-red, forehead thermometers for monitoring a developing fever in children if they develop symptoms while at Nant-y-Cwm.)
During the day at Nant-y-Cwm
- Hygiene arrangements.
It is important to remember that social/physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene (catching a cough or sneeze in a tissue, or covering the mouth and nose with an elbow or sleeve) remain strongly evidenced to be the most effective ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus. There is therefore no need to use personal protective equipment (PPE) when undertaking routine educational activities in classrooms (but refer to “Wearing face coverings” below).
As soon as children enter the buildings in the morning, after morning break, after the lunch break, and before leaving for home, they will be supervised while washing their hands. They will also wash their hands after visiting the toilet.
- Coughing and sneezing.
Children will be asked and encouraged to cough or sneeze into the crook of their elbow unless they have time to grab a tissue. Tissues should then be thrown away in the dedicated waste bins in each room. Any child who may be showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be taken to a dedicated room while their parents are contacted to collect them to be taken home. The parents must then contact NHS Wales to arrange a test.
- Wearing face coverings.
If you arrive at Nant-y-Cwm with face coverings please ensure that children remove them before entering the Kindergarten yard or main school playground, and take the face coverings home with you.
We must undertake risk assessments of our buildings and grounds to determine if face coverings should be worn by our staff and young people in communal areas. A distinction is made between children aged 11 and under,and those over 11 years old, as the rates of infection and transmission increase from the age of 11 onwards. Face coverings are likely to be of little value in children under the age of 11 years, but are recommended for all members of the public over 11 years in indoor settings in which social distancing cannot be maintained, including schools. Any young person aged over 11 travelling on scheduled public transport is already expected to wear a face covering in line with Regulations.
Our risk assessment conclusion is;
- Children aged 11 and under will not be required to wear a face covering at Nant-y-Cwm.
- Children over 11 years old (essentially class 7/8 pupils) will only be required to wear a face covering if they need to enter the main school building, which is considered unlikely as their classroom is separate to the main building, and they use the outside compost toilets. However, John (class 7/8 teacher) will have facemasks available.
- Staff working in the office will need to wear face coverings if there is more than one person working there and social distancing (2 metres) is not possible.
- Staff entering the office or walking through the downstairs corridors will need to wear face coverings. Staff entering the office must check the number of occupants before they enter. If more than 2 people are in the office anyone else entering must don a face covering.
- Social distancing.
From the guidance, the overarching principle we apply is to reduce the number of contacts between learners and staff. For all classes at Nant-y-Cwm (with no more than 12 children in a group) this is achieved by keeping groups separate (in “bubbles”) and by maintaining distance, and minimising contact, between individuals wherever possible. The only indoor communal areas we have identified where “bubbles” of children and staff can potentially mix are;
- the corridor, central atrium, and toilets in Kindergarten
- the downstairs corridors, library, toilets (for classes 1/2, 3/4, and 5/6), in main school
- the hall and woodwork room.
For staff, the downstairs corridors, library, staff toilet, and office are communal areas.
- What about social distancing inside buildings?
Social distancing is harder for children, and the evidence suggests other measures should also be used when working with children including frequent and thorough handwashing. However, social distancing between adults working at Nant-y-Cwm must be observed where possible.
- Why no staggered breaktimes?
The outdoor space has been divided into 4 zones, each to accommodate one class “bubble”, so there is no need to stagger break or lunch times.
- Do we need to split classes to reduce numbers, or have a rota for teaching (e.g. one week in school, one week at home)?
No. By state school standards the class sizes at Nant-y-Cwm are not large. The Kindergarten does not currently have classes larger than 11 children (with a maximum of 14 possible in one room, and 12 in the other), and in main school the largest class size is currently 9 pupils. For children to be well supported at home teachers will need to be available during the day and that is not possible if they are teaching in School.
- What if someone has symptoms of COVID-19?
Children from a household where anyone is showing symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19 must not attend Nant-y-Cwm. If anyone displays symptoms while at Nant-y-Cwm they must return home as soon as possible and staff will contact parents immediately. While waiting to be collected, children will be supervised in a separate room away from other children and staff.
- What if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 at Nant-y-Cwm?
In the event of a cluster of infections at Nant-y-Cwm, local health authorities will be involved and will provide advice, which we will follow. While Infections in schools are possible, and while the evidence suggests the number of infections will mostly be relatively low, some significant clusters of infection have been linked to schools around the world. Adults in the school setting (teachers, other staff, and potentially parents) risk both catching and passing on the virus, and older children seem to be linked to infections more than younger children. The overall risks are likely to be higher when the virus is already spreading more generally in the area around the school.
- What is the current prevalence of the virus in the locality?
At the time of writing this document (1st September) the number of positive COVID-19 tests in the Hywel Dda University Health Board (covering Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire) remains very low, although there has been a small increase since 25th August.
- What guidance is used in the preparation of this document?
Nant-y-Cwm Steiner School follows the guidance provided by the Welsh Government and Public Health Wales. Advice from Pembrokeshire County Council to maintained schools may vary slightly from the guidance from the Welsh Government.