FAQs September 2020

Parents and Carers’ Frequently Asked Questions on Covid 19

Return to School – Positive Comments

  • We were delighted with the service from Mrs Togneri during lockdown. Very prompt reply and she collected and returned the Chromebook to our house. Excellent service!

  • I'd like to congratulate the school in everything related to COVID. Their communications throughout the pandemic were exemplary, giving clarity not panic. Allowing young people to wear PE kit on days they have PE has gone down well.

  • My child started S1, in August. This has overall been a positive experience for her. Considering there was only virtual transition she has settled well and feels part of the school community, which is amazing, for us as parents.

Return to School – Points for Consideration

    • Not much direct contact with school/teachers during lockdown

    • No clear information about what was required from children to help parents know what they needed to do

    • If we move to blended learning whole days would be more convenient for working parents than half days

Mr Cassidy’s responses

Google Classroom was (during lockdown) and remains the main vehicle for issuing work/home learning. Young people could have been contacting teachers via Google Classroom for help/reassurance with their home learning.

Any home learning completed and submitted by children will have been commented on by staff and returned to pupils.

Refer to Contingency Plan B – half days provide more regular face to face contact with young people.

Academic Attainment

    • During lockdown the lessons and work the school set the pupils was obviously different to what would have been covered had they been class. Are they at the same stage of understanding/competency than if lockdown hadn't happened?

    • There seems to be very little homework coming home at the moment - could an increase in homework be looked into to avoid our children being bored at home?

    • Has any further decision been made regarding the possibility of holding an online parents' evening? Or if this isn't possible, would there be the opportunity for additional progress reporting in place of this?

Mr Cassidy’s responses

There is targeted support available for some young people through additional funding for additional teachers. It’s hard to say if/by how much young people are behind or not.

All homework is posted on Google Classroom – check Guardian Summary. It isn’t really teachers’ job to ensure children are not bored at home.

Planning on virtual Parent’s Evenings. Teachers produce many short reports during a school session. If the technology doesn’t work with a short report then teachers will write a longer one.

Distancing Hygiene Rules

  • Reports of social distancing not being maintained, non-compliance with facemasks – how are these enforced/reinforced? (reports of good compliance when teachers around and not when they are not)

  • One-way system is causing crowding/bottlenecks and is inconvenient- several people thought this made things worse- is this the right option?

Mr Cassidy’s responses

All staff are supporting young people to do the right thing. That is also the purpose of the photos and messages on social media. There has generally been high compliance with young people wearing face masks and using hand sanitizer. An additional cleaner has been working extra hours during the day to clean toilets and all the high traffic touch points. Young people have been encouraged not to question others about why they are not wearing a mask as some are exempt for medical/mental health reasons. All of the SLT and staff tend to ask, ‘Do you wear a mask?’ if they see a young person without a mask on.

The one-way system means that all are facing the same direction, this is not perfect. However, with S4-6 pupils having double/triple periods moving about has been reduced significantly. S1-3 are moving slowly, safely and take a counter-intuitive route to class in one direction. PC said they are open to trying different things to help the flow and have recently allowed pupils to exit through previously unused fire exits to ease congestion.

Home learning/lockdown/pastoral

  • How will children who have to self-isolate access schoolwork?

  • What happens if they miss tests because of self-isolation?

  • When will after school activities and clubs restart?

  • The S4-S6 pupils don’t have form teachers. Are there staff responsible for keeping an eye on the pupils and to help notice any changes in behaviour?

  • School lunches: Complaints about the quality of food being served this session. Please can you explain the changes and difference from previous years?

  • Are there expected to be any changes to the provision of PE for the winter months or will pupils still be having all their classes outside? (implications for changing clothes)

Mr Cassidy’s responses

Pupils who have to self-isolate will access schoolwork via Google Classroom. All pupils in S6 to have now received a Chromebook. If pupils miss a test due to self-isolation, they can sit the test when they return to school. We have successfully trialled completing a test at home via Google Meet and G-Suite for some subject areas.

At the moment, there is no date for after-school activities and clubs restarting. Some lunchtime and interval groups have started. However, S6 pupils have been filming potential after school activities and clubs but these will not be happening yet.

S4-6 pupils have their PSE session with their Form Teacher. It’s important to note that all staff are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of all the pupils at SHS.

The dinner ladies are having to work in a very different way in conditions that don’t really allow for the full range of options as seen previously while observing physical distancing measures. The menu is on a 3-weekly cycle. There is always soup and a main meal available, a Grab n Go option as well as a veggie option.

Education Scotland have regularly updated the guidelines for P.E since school restarted. At present, all activities require to be outdoor with no use of changing rooms. There is hope of indoor P.E evolving at some point. We will follow whatever Education Scotland advise.

Mr Cassidy highlighted that to his knowledge there had not been a single case of COVID in the school community.

Additional questions from Feedback during AGM

  • Have summaries re started? Not got any yet this year.

Google Summaries have re-started, please contact Mr Hamilton at the school if you are not receiving them.

  • Is Covid denying seen as a legitimate reason for not wearing a mask? And accepted?

We are following the Scottish Government and Council guidelines regarding face coverings. The government has published reasons for exemptions to wearing face coverings. There are a range of reasons why a young person may not wear a face covering and we work with parents and carers regarding any individual’s needs and circumstances.

  • Re face coverings, I think perhaps the teachers should be discussing the Why regarding masks. I feel that’s being lost. Eg we haven’t seen a grandparent in a home and will unlikely to do so if people don’t keep to the rules.

We have now spent time in PSE since the AGM going over our protocols and explaining why they are in place.

  • To reduce mingling and contact, might it be an idea for staff move from class instead of the young people? Appreciating of course that many practical classes need specialist equipment eg science in labs, and that perhaps it may not be possible with timetabling. I know some secondary schools in Wales are doing this.

In a secondary school many rooms are subject specific with specialised equipment. This is why young people have to move around. In S3-S6 all young people are in different classes depending on the subject choice that they made. We have reduced movement in the senior school by introducing more double and triple periods to reduce contact.

  • I recall it being discussed to try orienteering in PE should a blended learning model have been implemented.... is this still being considered in PE ? Appreciate the range of sports that can be done with pupils is limited in this climate.

The PE department are still looking into introducing orienteering as part of their outdoor offer of activities.

  • Will S1 get any extra pep talk re going out at lunchtime?

After the October holiday is when S1 are traditionally allowed out at lunchtimes. We think that there are many benefits to remaining inside school at lunchtime for S1; making new friends, attending clubs and having a nutritious lunch. If parents and carers of S1 pupils wish them to go out at lunchtime we will remind them of the standards of behaviour and personal safety they should adopt.

Questions about google classroom

  • Google classroom doesn't make it too easy to see what is classwork, to do and homework at a glance

  • Unless I am missing something. Maybe an online tutorial on how to use Google classroom to its best extent?

  • I agree - the difference between classwork and homework is not clear on google classroom

  • I agree... I thought my son had loads of homework but instead it was work he was doing in class!

  • Also the to do list has an endless list of to do task from the past.... So you have to scroll down to see the stuff. Can we clear that?

We have updated our Google Classroom information for parents and carers that we issued during lockdown (https://www.thinglink.com/scene/1319704523274452994) and we will re-issue this shortly. We have reminded teachers to clearly title classwork and homework too. If you are not receiving Google Guardian Summaries please contact Mr Hamilton. The to-do list shows assignments that are missing. Young people and staff have been asked to mark as done/return old assignments to ensure only current outstanding work appears on the to-list.