Of school uniform, the DfE says that they "encourage all schools to return to their usual uniform policies in the autumn term. Uniform can play a valuable role in contributing to the ethos of a school and setting an appropriate tone." https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools
According to school policy, until we reach the mid-term break at the end of October, children should wear the Summer uniform: generally a white polo shirt and shorts or a Summer dress https://www.allsaintsmaidenhead.org.uk/uniform-information/
During the partial opening of school in the Summer Term, the advice was that uniform should be changed and washed daily; children wearing the Summer uniform makes it easier for parents to continue daily washing if they wish.
The DfE says that "uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, nor do they need to be cleaned using methods which are different from normal" and so daily washing is no longer a requirement.
In September, the Winter uniform (collared shirt, tie and school jumper) is optional - however, it is usually compulsory from November. Our position regarding transitioning to Winter uniform will be reviewed in early October and confirmed with parents in good time before the mid-term break.
It is recommended that all children have a school jumper/sweatshirt, for use with the Summer uniform, from September. This is because we are required to "ensure good ventilation and maximising this wherever possible, for example, opening windows and propping open doors" - even when the weather turns colder! It is likely that we will keep doors and windows open to prevent any build up of the coronavirus indoors (there will be the possibility that asymptomatic individuals will be shedding the virus) and so children will need something to wear to help keep them warm, if necessary. Fingerless gloves may also be worth considering.
Public Health England does not (based on current evidence) recommend the use of face coverings in schools as long as class bubbles are not compromised (children are in bubbles containing more more than 2 classes - 60 children max. - and are not allowed to mix beyond these groupings). Face coverings are required at all times on public transport (except for children under the age of 11) - although DfE guidance is that families should avoid public transport, especially at peak times, when journeying to or from school as being in the open air reduces the risk of contracting COVID-19.
Some parents may opt for their children to wear a face covering on the way to or from school. In the event this happens, enhanced hygiene requirements are in place upon arrival in school:
- Pupils will be instructed not to touch the front of their face covering during use or when removing it.
- They must wash their hands immediately on arrival (as is the case for all pupils)
- They must dispose of temporary face coverings in a covered bin
- Reusable face coverings must be placed in a plastic bag they can take home with them for washing (the covering should not be used again until it has been washed)
- The pupil must re-wash their hands again before heading to their classroom
Children will be expected to remove any face covering while in school. This is because face coverings can cause more face-touching and touching the face, if the virus is on the hands, is one of the most immediate ways of becoming infected.
While staff have been given guidance that they need not wear face coverings during the school day, some may wish to do so, especially if they work across more than one bubble or if they cannot maintain social distancing inside the building (children are asked to keep 2m from adults as much as possible). The school does ask staff who are in public areas with high volumes of people passing through (particularly when undertaking gate duties) to wear a face covering or to social distance to at least 2m.
Parents and carers who are struggling to afford to buy school uniform could potentially get help from the Spoore Merry & Rixman Foundation. Application forms (both manual and online) can be found here: https://www.smrfmaidenhead.org.uk/index.html
Also, I am more than happy to discuss the issues families may be having with finance and other problems caused by the pandemic: please direct message me here, on ClassDojo, or contact the School Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange a telephone conversation or video meeting. I will always do what I can to support you or find you the right help through a third-party.
Thank you - tomorrow I will be updating you on bubbles and one-way systems.