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22 Jun 2020

A Message from the Head, 19 June 2020

Arrangements for Returning to School Autumn Term 2020

I wrote to you on Friday (19 June) about the arrangements for your daughters, as we return to full time education in school next term. Our planning is based on detailed guidance from the Scottish Government and Health Protection Scotland and the Boarding Schools Association. We are fortunate to have the space to allow us to bring all girls back to school full time. Given the current guidelines for physical distancing, we believe that what we have put in place is the most robust educational model under the circumstances, but please understand that this will not be ‘normal’, at least initially, until the distancing guidelines change. We look forward to moving closer to normality as the term progresses.

We are aware that aspects of current guidance may change between now and 20th August; a detailed Return to School Handbook will be issued to every family in the week leading up to the start of term. It is also possible that restrictions may be tightened again temporarily at points during the term. If this is the case, we will of course respond accordingly at school and further information will be sent to you by SchoolPost should that be necessary.

We have adapted our timetable to minimise movement of students around the school and will be operating a one way system in many of our buildings. We have prepared a short video which we will ask girls to watch before they return to school to help them to understand this.

The most important single measure that we can all put in place to protect ourselves and others from the virus is good hand hygiene.

To aid this additional free-standing hand sanitiser dispensers will be set up at key points around the school.

Signs are already in place to remind everyone about how to wash hands properly and we will continue to remind all students about good hygiene when coughing or sneezing as well.

Girls may wear masks or face-coverings if they wish. This will be a requirement for anyone using the school buses.

Wipes will be available in every room to facilitate cleaning of keyboards, desks, chairs and other frequently touched surfaces before and after use.

We have put in place additional cleaning regimes which will operate throughout the school day, as well as every evening. During the school day, corridor doors will be held open to minimise hand contact.

We are working on the basis of 2m distancing, and our classrooms and any other larger space used for teaching will be set out to allow for this.

We will work on the principle that girls from different year groups will not mix with one another. Girls will remain in the same small groups within their form classes, to minimise the number of potential contacts that each girl has.

All students and members of staff should take their temperature before coming to school. Please do not send your daughter in to school if she is unwell. No-one should come to school if they have a temperature above 37.8 or show any other symptom of the virus: a new persistent cough or loss of taste or sense of smell. 

Please follow all up to date guidance at the time about self isolation in the event of showing symptoms.

It is important to note that government advice describes a close contact as someone who has been closer than 2m for 15 minutes or more. The social distancing measures that we are putting in place should ensure that it would be very unlikely that anyone in school would come so close to another person for that length of time.

If anyone does start to feel unwell while in school there will be clear procedures to follow, with instructions displayed around school.

We are fortunate at St George’s to have plenty of outdoor space, and a very strong tradition of outdoor learning. We will be making the most of the space available to us, taking lessons outside wherever possible, to allow girls to be active and to benefit from fresh air as much as we can.

Please do read the letter for more detail, and look out for the Return to School Handbook which we will send out in August.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support for St George’s throughout this extraordinary period. We have been so proud of the girls’ resilience and determination; they are a credit to you, and we are very much looking forward to welcoming them back to school on 20th August.

Mrs Alex Hems MA Oxon
Head, St George's School for Girls, Edinburgh

Note
For more detailed information about arrangement for returning to school in August please read the SchoolPost communications sent to parents on June 19. There are 3 different SchoolPosts: Upper School, Lower School, and Junior School and Nursery.

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