Staggered starts, year capsules and new schedules among ‘immense’ school changes
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Staggered starts, year capsules and new schedules among ‘immense’ school changes

Jewish schools outline their plans for the new term as government advises students in areas under local lockdown to wear face masks.

Face coverings should be worn by secondary pupils and staff in local lockdown areas of England, and at the discretion of post-primary schools across the country, the Government announced in another policy U-turn.
Face coverings should be worn by secondary pupils and staff in local lockdown areas of England, and at the discretion of post-primary schools across the country, the Government announced in another policy U-turn.

Modified start and finish times, social bubbles, new timetables and restrictions on movement are among measures Jewish pupils in England will face when they return to school next week.

This comes as the government advised staff and students in areas under local lockdown to wear face masks in communal areas and corridors from 1 September.

The Hasmonean Multi-Academy Trust will update parents on safety measures in the coming days after a meeting of its leadership team to discuss government advice. But letters sent to parents ahead of the reopening cited staggered start and finish times for students, bubbles of pupils, access to testing in the event of an outbreak and mandatory attendance.

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Immanuel College, in Bushey, is to introduce year bubbles, restrict movement around the site, implement a new cleaning regime and devise a special Covid-19 timetable. The school’s year group assemblies and extracurricular activities will continue. “We cannot wait to be back attending school, interacting in person rather than through a screen and resuming something relating to ‘normal’,” said headmaster Gary Griffin.

“This will not be easy and it has required enormous amounts of effort from staff and governors over the school holidays, but I have every confidence that Immanuel College will rise to this new challenge and continue to provide academic excellence, pastoral expertise and an inspiring Jewish education,” he added. 

JFS pupils will be greeted with “extensive information packs”, said headteacher Rachel Fink, who described preparations for the reopening of the mixed comprehensive as “immense”.

“Every aspect under consideration has to be scaled up,” she said. “We will have year group capsules of 300 students whom we need to ensure can get to school, can be educated, fed and supported while doing our best to reduce any potential spread.

“This has required physical changes to the building, clear and extensive information packs for staff and students and a willingness to work together and to be mindful of those around us. I hope that when students step back into JFS they feel as if they have come home.” 

Kisharon School, which is to reopen at its new campus on 7 September, is planning staggered drop-offs and pick-ups and reduced hours with a shorter lunch break. The special needs school said it will conduct a thorough clean of facilities at the end of each day, with outdoor equipment and handrails cleaned during the day.

Headteacher Sora Kopfstein said:“We have been so excited to move to our new premises. It is a disappointing way to start in our new school but knowing the passion and enthusiasm of my staff I am sure pupils will settle in well in the new normal school.”

A JCoSS student, due to start Year 9 next Friday, told Jewish News: “There is always new information about what we are going to face when we are back at school. It literally changes by the day and that is what makes it harder. 

“As each school seems to be making its own ground rules, it is quite scary as we just want to get back, see our friends and have lessons. We know we need everyone to be safe, but the way we achieve it is going to be difficult.”

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