A phenomenal amount of work has been going on behind the scenes over the last few months; not just in these last few days preparing the School for the 3 remaining year groups to return for this last week of term, but ever since the end of January when coronavirus reared its ugly head. We would like to loudly thank these unsung heroes who have kept us safe and secure over these very uncertain times. Let us shine a spotlight on all their work around School.
The Bursar and his Estates team have been tasked with a wide variety of unusual jobs over this 5 month period. Flexible and creative thinking has seen the School evolve and its ’traditional’ space reinvented (a number of times!) to accommodate the ever changing government guidelines and social distancing stipulations. All this change and work continues to be undertaken on site, sensitively and discreetly, while we have continued to accommodate the children of keyworkers.
Starting in February with the sourcing and bulk procurement of quantities of hand sanitiser, hand wash, wipes and cleaning supplies when the panic was setting in, and the supermarket shelves were clearing quicker than a Boxing Day sale. Karen M had her sources and we never seemed to fall short. Hand sanitiser stations were built and placed outside the Mulberry Pavilion and Reception whilst the Spring term was in progress, now to be found outside the Sports Hall, by Reception and other entry points into the School.
Deep cleans of classrooms were conducted on a frequent basis, with classroom rotations taking place during the initial weeks. The brilliant team of Cathedral Cleaners have been, ghostbusters style, deep cleaning areas and rooms with a fogging machine – unknown to most at first, but a vital part in our fight against the pandemic. Daily disinfection of outdoor play equipment at the beginning of each day has also taken place. Classrooms now have lidded pedal bins, rather than open tops and most noticeable to all, a set of handwashing sinks have been installed outside the Sports Hall, Nursery and Pre-Prep, 2m apart, to enable washing of hands on entry to the School and after breaks.
As June 1st neared, work increased to prepare classrooms for the return of Nursery, Reception, Years 1 and 6. Desks were moved to 2m apart, books cleared, and Dorms found a new purpose as classrooms, as did the Boarders Drawing room (returning to its original Victorian purpose!)
Dean and his fabulous catering team have adapted their catering operation wholeheartedly at every change in their typical cheery manner, with the Dining room now converted into marshalled zones, the Mulberry Pavilion now a temporary dining room. In Pre-Prep, the procurement of a new hot plate and insulated thermal boxes has turned the Pre-Prep Hall into a serving area to enable hot lunches to continue to be served to Pre-Prep, enabling sufficient space for everyone in school to have a hot meal rather than a packed lunch.
The parking area has been zoned into year groups and marshalled by two of our wonderful bus drivers and most recently, parking has been zoned for Pre-Prep on the hockey pitch field nearest to the Pre-Prep path which has required the removal of fencing and installation of heras fencing by the grounds team.
IT have not stopped through this whole period. Supporting not only the staff with the move to Google Classroom and online teaching, but also maintaining and loaning the chrome books for the children. Wifi had to be enabled in the dorms to allow their transformation into classrooms, recabling and rerouting supplies. Indeed, the head of IT, the Bursar, and Sam from DT over the Easter holidays were the driving force behind the PPE production in the DT department.
Vince in finance was tasked with bundling up 266 individual stationery and pencil packs. Julie Thomas has undertaken hours and hours of risk assessment writing and planning with the Bursar. The team have placed black and yellow tape around the site showing the 2m distancing for moving around School. The reception team helped with the printing and laminating of all the signs around the site. And the final mention to Louise, Claire and Pauline on the Pre-Prep and Prep receptions who have managed all key worker bookings and spreadsheet!
It really is The Little Things… thank you to you all.