Return to School Arrangements P1 to P3

18th February 2021

Dear John Muir Parents, Carers and Pupils

I am delighted to be writing to you detailing the arrangements for the return of our school pupils as from Monday 22nd February 2021. Nursery pupils will return on the same day and we will be sending a letter detailing these arrangements separately.

Some of this information relating to starting back will be new, but the majority of the health and safety procedures are very similar to those we had from August – December, and they are in place so that you and your child/children can feel safe and supported to return to Dunbar Primary School.

There will be ‘soft start’ for all pupils to reduce the need for lining up and we are staggering the dismissal of stages to ensure this is safe for pupils, parents and staff.

As before all pupils will remain in their own class registration group for classroom activities, breaks and lunchtimes. We will be splitting our break and lunchtimes to allow the pupils more space in the playground and to limit the numbers of pupils’ staff will have contact with.

Please read the information carefully in the box as they relate to specific stages and timings/

 For All P1 – P3 Pupils  from Monday 22nd February 2021 until arrangements change:


Monday  – Thursday Friday
Start Times:

P1, P2 & P3 soft start 8.40am – 9.00 am

Pupils will be dropped off at the main gate and make their way to their specific entrance, then enter the classroom to wash hands. The class teacher will supervise washing hands and pupils will have activities to work on until all pupils have arrived.



Staggered Finish Times:

P1 will be dismissed  at 2.40am

P2 will be dismissed  at 2.45am

P3 will be dismissed  at 3.00pm



P1 & P2 pupils will be dismissed from the gates once the pupil has identified the person collecting them, or in the case of P3 pupils we have your permission to allow them to walk home.


Start Times:


P1, P2, P3 soft start 8.40am – 9.00 am



As Mon- Thurs



Staggered Finish Times:

P1  will be dismissed at 12.00

P2 will be dismissed at 12.00

P3 will be dismissed  at 12.10





 The First Minister made it clear that alongside the factors we are putting in place in schools, one of the most important actions was for parents to keep 2m apart and minimise the contact they have at the school gate and in the community.

We would really appreciate it if you were able to drop your child a short distance from the main gate – watch them go in and then leave. Our gate area was very busy last term with parents waiting with dogs, chatting with friends which then meant pupils struggled to find a clear path in and parent who did send them in from a distance were unable to see the gate.

Our soft start means that you can drop P1-P3 pupils off between 8.40 – 9.00 am – brothers and sisters can walk in together, once in the gate they all know where to go and there will be members of staff on the gate and at the main doors to ensure pupils get to their classrooms – we hope this will reassure you so you do not need to stand and watch them in.

If you have a child who is anxious or worried or needs some support, please come along toward the end of the soft start, around 8.55am and we will be able to spend time with you and them without lots of other parents and pupils around.

In School learning

For the first few days there will be focus on ensuring that children are aware and follow the health, safety and well-being measures in place. In the classroom teachers will be giving pupils the chance to reconnect with their friends, engage in activities that are aimed at making them feel welcome, secure and happy to be back at school.  Over the following weeks pupils will engage in new learning, and re-visit the learning since January in different contexts.  Teachers will assess where pupils are in specific areas and what areas should be revised and the needs of the pupils based on observations and class activities.

 What pupils need to bring each day

They should bring a waterproof jacket or coat, named water bottle, snack and lunch box. Gloves and hat if it is cold.

We ask that soft toys, playground games or ‘things to show’ are not brought in until further notice.


Movement through the school will be limited and most children will spend their time in their classroom and outdoors.   There will be markings in the school building and playgrounds to support pupils moving around in their bubbles.

 Ventilation in buildings

Staff will be asked to ensure good ventilation by keeping windows open and where possible not closing the doors of small rooms.  Pupils and staff will spend more time outdoors, with weather appropriate clothing. An extra jumper in the school bag might be useful on colder days.

Cleaning routines

All areas will be cleaned daily by cleaning staff to maintain high standards of cleanliness, using methods and cleaning products in keeping with national guidance (COVID-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings). Additional cleaning will take place at lunchtimes and cleaning materials will be available in every classroom and for use by janitors during the day as required.

Hand washing

Stocks of soap will be checked, and replenished, before the start of every day.  All classrooms have access to warm water and soap. Hand sanitiser will be available at each usable entrance point to the building, unless there is immediate access to soap and water in these areas.  Stocks will be checked every day. Pupils and staff will wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol hand sanitiser, when:

*entering the building   *before eating or handling food  *after blowing the nose *after sneezing or coughing    *after  going to the toilet

Staff Testing

Staff working in school are now taking part in the Asymptomatic testing programme as an added precaution to reduce contact with adults who may be carrying the virus without knowing.

Access to Toilets

Pupils’ access to toilets will be carefully managed to ensure good health and hygiene. There will be a strong emphasis on hand washing after visiting the toilet, and hand washing may require to be supervised for younger children.

 Outdoors / Wider Access

In order to limit the number of people in the building, no parents or carers are allowed access until the restrictions are changed. Contact with the school must be made either by phone or by e-mail.

Playgrounds will only be accessed by children for the purpose of attending in-school learning and only an emergency will trigger a need for anyone else on site so that carefully calculated capacities can be maintained.  Access to the building will be strictly controlled.

Physical Distanced Evacuation Arrangements

Staff will try where possible to keep a 2m distance from pupils. They will be required to maintain a 2m distance from other adults in school. We will hold a practice fire drill for John Muir Campus during the first week at school.

Evacuation arrangements for children with complex needs or disabilities will be reviewed in light of any changes with a review of Personal Evacuation Plans undertaken as part of the planning process.

 Break and lunch times

Break and lunch times will still be staggered to reduce the number of children in the playground at one time. Pupils will continue to have their lunch in the classroom until the weather is warmer. The outdoor zones will have activities that allow for social games. All classes will move around the areas during each week.

 First Aid, Medication, Personal Care & PPE

Staff have been issued with disposable gloves and aprons for all first aid and personal care tasks. Where required staff will deal with first aid requirements and personal care at as ‘safe’ a distance as possible however you will appreciate that the 2m rule is not possible here especially when TLC is also required.

If your child requires to have medication in school you must ensure you have completed the appropriate paperwork for school staff to be able to administer this.  Forms are available for asthma, prescribed and non-prescribed medication by email at the school office.  If your child requires to use an inhaler in school these are kept in the safe in class at J Muir and in the pupil’s tray at Lochend, and a spare one should be made available for our First Aid rooms.

 If a pupil attends the school with symptoms of cough and/ or high temperature, they will need to go home immediately.  If they need to wait to be collected by their parent or carer, they will be isolated in a private, well ventilated room/area and (asked to) avoid touching surfaces.  Isolation rooms will be cleaned after use in keeping with National Guidance. School staff will be vigilant to any potential signs of Covid-19 and will always err on the side of caution in contacting parents and carers

School Uniform

School uniform plays an important part of creating a positive school ethos and we would encourage our children to wear our school uniform and colours so that they feel part of the school community. We encourage pupils to wear their outdoor PE kit on the days when they have PE. As it is still muddy we would be grateful if pupils coming in in boots or wellies has another pair of shoes to change into should the need arise.

 Meeting with staff/Visiting the school

We really value our relationships with you and want to provide opportunities to discuss any worries or concerns you may have. Currently, we are required to limit the amount of people who are coming in and out of the school buildings. With this in mind we are still asking you to ‘phone first’. This enables us to plan for meetings in a safe way for everyone.  If you are visiting the school we would ask that you wear a face mask, as you would currently in any public building to help keep everyone in our school community safe.

If you have any questions or need to contact us, you can do so in the usual way – by contacting the school office admin box by email or by phoning the school.

Parents Evenings

Hopefully everyone has signed up for their son/daughter’s appointment, if not please do so by Friday 19th February at 12.00. I know teachers are looking forward to meeting you over the next two weeks to discuss progress and next steps. This is our first time trying on-line meetings so please keep your fingers crossed for good connections.

REMINDER (Angus MacRury, DHT )

Remember that you need to sign up through your child’s Edubuzz account and NOT your own email.

If you have used your own personal email please cancel the appointment and book the same slot using your child’s account. 

I am really looking forward to seeing all of our pupils on Monday and having them all back together.

Yours sincerely

Helen Gillanders


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