As August draws to a close we are looking forward to having pupils back on site for the start of the Autumn Term. Over the last couple of weeks I have had a number of enquiries as to how school will operate and the nature of our COVID prevention preparations.
It is hoped the following FAQ sheet is useful.
Is School compulsory in September?
Yes. Schools in France are open, and we are following the directive from the Education Ministry. We start term on Thursday 3rd September.
Whose rules do you follow: the French Government or as a British School do you follow the British rules?
We follow the guidance given by the French Ministry of Education. The most recent advice came out this week.
What about pupils with underlying health conditions?
If you are at all concerned about an underlying health condition, then you should discuss this with your doctor. If the doctor says that your child should be absent, then of course absent they must be.
Will the School be publishing online lessons when the school is open?
We understand that some people are restricted in their movement as a consequence of quarantine and travel restrictions. In order to assist with learning, materials will be posted on Frog (our VLE) for pupils to look at while they are unable to attend. We are not offering remote/virtual school while school is open.
What happens if there is a diagnosis of COVID in the School Community?
Should we be unfortunate enough to have a diagnosed case of COVID-19 we will make parents aware and will follow the direction of local health officials as to the next steps. In such a situation there would be a very high likelihood of the school having to close at short notice for a number of days.
Please do let us know if you are suffering from COVID-like symptoms or if you have a family member who has tested positive. It is vital that we are able to make parents and guardians aware of the risk in our community.
Are you maintaining entry checks?
Yes. Each pupil and each member of staff will have their temperature taken on entry. A temperature of 38°C or above will mean a child (or member of staff) will be sent home and we would anticipate a medical check taking place immediately after.
My child seems unwell or is running a temperature before coming to school or the evening before school. What should I do?
Please do not send your child to school if they appear to be unwell. We would urge caution with all health-related concerns at this time. Please take a safety-first approach for the benefit of the community and keep your child at home.
Who wears masks?
Pupils from Year 7 and above are obliged to wear a mask at points during the school day. We strongly advise parents to provide their children with two masks per day.
What about Junior School, can’t Junior school pupils wear masks? If a Junior School pupil wants to wear a mask, then they can. It is not obligatory for them to do so.
All staff will be wearing masks although these may be removed when pupils are a sufficient distance from them to be safe. Teaching is more difficult when a mask is worn so at times (and only when safe to do so) a teacher may remove their mask.
How should masks be worn?
Parents are asked to discuss “proper mask protocol” with their children if they choose to or have to wear masks. There is a great deal of useful information to be found on
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks. We will reinforce the do’s and don’ts at school.
What measures are in place to keep children safe during the school day?
• Where possible we are observing the 1M distancing rule between children
• We are avoiding bringing large groups of children together
• We are wherever possible keeping year groups separate
• One-way systems will be in operation
• There are clear floor markings to guide pupils around on safe routes and to maintain safe distancing
• We will be encouraging pupils to wash their hands during the course of the school day
• The School has multiple hand gel dispensers
• The School has an enhanced evening cleaning regime so as to ensure that the School is disinfected each day.
• Teachers and older pupils will be wearing masks
• In the Junior School those who have PE during the day should come in their PE kit
• In the Senior School social distanced changing spaces are available.
How will lunch work?
We will offer a full cooked lunch. During the lunch period it is difficult for the 1M gaps to be maintained and masks will have to be removed. We will be staggering entry to the refectories and we will control the number of people using the dining facilities carefully.
What about bus users?
Bus users of all ages must wear a mask and where possible should observe the miss-one-seat rule.
Should we still wear uniform?
In the Junior School we will start the year with a slightly adapted uniform – boys are not required to wear ties or heavy school jumpers. Junior School girls should wear summer uniform. They do not need a cardigan. On days when PE is taught pupils may arrive and leave in their school PE kit.
In the Senior School we will be in “shirt sleeve” uniform. It is likely to be warm for some time, so school jumpers and ties are not required.
Sixth Form pupils should wear appropriate clothing for the professional workplace but do not need to wear ties. Button front shirts and blouses are recommended. Clothing that requires over the head removal is considered less safe.
One key element of staying safe is being able to have clothing washed on a regular basis.
Are you running a full programme of co-curricular activities?
As far as we are able, we will be running activities. Some activities will have to work with restricted numbers or using an amended approach. Details about the Junior School sign up will follow. The Senior School activities fair will take place on Friday 11th September.
What happens at break time?
The timings of break will be staggered in the Junior School so as to avoid large congregations of children. In the Senior School, year groups will occupy their own zone. Sadly, we aren’t quite ready to have football etc played at break time.
What happens at the end of the day?
We may need to stagger exit times so as to avoid large groups assembling.
What about quarantine measures?
Parents and Guardians are asked to consult with the relevant governmental websites to ensure that they have the most up to date list of countries that require quarantine. A good place for information is this website: https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/coronavirus-advice-for-foreign-nationals-in-france/
Parental Access to the School
Access to the school campus will be restricted for the foreseeable future. Details will be provided by the relevant Heads of School for particular events.
I am still not sure what I should do, or I still have questions – who should I ask?
We know that advice seems to be changing on a daily basis and that there are conflicting reports about do’s and don’ts. We follow the lead provided by the local and national authorities. We can try to answer your questions about the practicalities of life in school. We can’t argue about the conflicting views that are out there. Our underlying approach is that we will do all we can to provide a safe learning space that is also an inspirational learning space.