Revealed: plans for schools in England from September 2020

Class 33

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In follow-up to a post a made the other day about Boris Johnson will announce that social distancing will be scrapped in SCHOOLS when they return in September. I mentioned that this will not be good enough, as social distancing will have to be scrapped everywhere in the UK by then if the UK economy is to start getting back to normal, not just in schools! Someone on here(I can't remember who) mentioned that they didn't think this would be the case that social distancing will just be scrapped in schools, and that it would be scrapped everywhere in the UK. Well an article in today's(Thursday!) edition of the Telegraph that sadly appears to tally to my suspicions that social distancing will only be scrapped in schools in September, and everywhere else in the UK it will still apply!


Schools to scrap social distancing in September

Pupils will return to classes after summer in larger "bubbles" without having to stay one metre apart

Social distancing will not be applied in schools and "bubbles" will be expanded to enable all pupils to return to their classes full-time in September, the Government will announce next week....
Whilst it is excellent news that the 2 metre social distancing guidance will be reduced to 1 metre from 4th July, I think it will be absolutely insane if by September and beyond we still have this social distancing nonsense, apart from just schools! Enough damage has been to the UK economy already. Loads more businesses will go under, the transport network won't be able to get back to normal. This will be absolutely insane and catastrophic!
 
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Huntergreed

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In follow-up to a post a made the other day about Boris Johnson will announce that social distancing will be scrapped in SCHOOLS when they return in September. I mentioned that this will not be good enough, as social distancing will have to be scrapped everywhere in the UK by then if the UK economy is to start getting back to normal, not just in schools! Someone on here(I can't remember who) mentioned that they didn't think this would be the case that social distancing will just be scrapped in schools, and that it would be scrapped everywhere in the UK. Well an article in today's(Thursday!) edition of the Telegraph that sadly appears to tally to my suspicions that social distancing will only be scrapped in schools in September, and everywhere else in the UK it will still apply!




Whilst it is excellent news that the 2 metre social distancing guidance will be reduced to 1 metre from 4th July, I think it will be absolutely insane if by September and beyond we still have this social distancing nonsense, apart from just schools! Enough damage has been to the UK economy already. Loads more businesses will go under, the transport network won't be able to get back to normal. This will be absolutely insane and catastrophic!
I wouldn't worry too much, it's hardly like our government have never made a 'U-turn' before.

They were all for blended learning a week ago across the UK, now it's all pupils back with no physical distancing in September this week, as time goes on the government will realise the practical and economic implications of this and will essentially have no choice to lift it, no matter how much Whitty and Vallance are against it. The collapse of the economy would be much much worse than allowing the virus to spread, and I would argue it should receive equal if not greater preventative intervention.
 

ross4122

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I'm not sure how 'larger "bubbles"' will work in secondary schools, as senior pupils mix with different people in their chosen subjects.

At least that's how it works in Scotland!
 

yorkie

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In follow-up to a post a made the other day about Boris Johnson will announce that social distancing will be scrapped in SCHOOLS when they return in September. I mentioned that this will not be good enough, as social distancing will have to be scrapped everywhere in the UK by then if the UK economy is to start getting back to normal, not just in schools! Someone on here(I can't remember who) mentioned that they didn't think this would be the case that social distancing will just be scrapped in schools, and that it would be scrapped everywhere in the UK. Well an article in today's(Thursday!) edition of the Telegraph that sadly appears to tally to my suspicions that social distancing will only be scrapped in schools in September, and everywhere else in the UK it will still apply!




Whilst it is excellent news that the 2 metre social distancing guidance will be reduced to 1 metre from 4th July, I think it will be absolutely insane if by September and beyond we still have this social distancing nonsense, apart from just schools! Enough damage has been to the UK economy already. Loads more businesses will go under, the transport network won't be able to get back to normal. This will be absolutely insane and catastrophic!
I completely agree. It needs to go completely by 1st September; hardly anyone is staying 2m away from others as it's just so impracticable to do so, so it's only social distancing in theory not reality. But businesses that suffer by having to produce ludicrous risk assessments and making their business unviable by planning to keep people 2m apart. There is no appetite among the vast majority of people to continue social distancing for much longer.
I'm not sure how 'larger "bubbles"' will work in secondary schools, as senior pupils mix with different people in their chosen subjects.
The devil will be in the detail but they'd better not scrap break times, lunch times and extra-curricular clubs, though I wouldn't put it past them.

They may try to stagger break times so each year group has it at a different time, but it will be highly disruptive if they did that.

I fear a ludicrous "box ticking" exercise which is designed to (partly) pander to the demands of the lockdown enthusiast brigade who'd rather kids were kept at home.
 
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BJames

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I'm not sure how 'larger "bubbles"' will work in secondary schools, as senior pupils mix with different people in their chosen subjects.

At least that's how it works in Scotland!
It works this way in England too. In my school, even Year 7 were set in maths and science, with English following in year 9 and then a split into GCSE groups.

So even if they didn't do sets, you would still have the problem of different students study different things from Year 9/10 upwards; this then applies for years 11, 12 and 13 too. So basically, schools will be back to normal in September (as they should be), especially as the government's said all students will be back for a 5-day week. The only way to allow this to happen is normality but with increased hygiene measures.
The devil will be in the detail but they'd better not scrap break times, lunch times and extra-curricular clubs, though I wouldn't put it past them.

They may try to stagger break times so each year group has it at a different time, but it will be highly disruptive if they did that.

I fear a ludicrous "box ticking" exercise to pander to at last partly pander to the demands of the lockdown enthusiast brigade who'd rather kids were kept at home.
I wonder what the fate of clubs will be for the short term at least, I've heard from someone at my old school that they are currently clearing everyone off-site within five minutes of the end of the school day (way to get everyone passing through the same reception area at once) - I can imagine them putting a pause on clubs, but this would be a huge disappointment for many.

They could stagger lunchtimes but it might be quite difficult to timetable. If I'm going to go into ridiculously fine detail then they could try and make these larger "bubbles" as full year groups (Year 7 being one bubble, Year 8 another etc) or at least half-year groups. We used to have four houses, two of which were usually paired together for sets. This makes the year of 240 split into two 120 groups. But isolating year groups anyway is basically going back to normal - I can't remember really having that many interactions with the years above and below me except in occasional circumstances, and interactions with the other "half" of the year group only really came into play Year 11+.
 

chris11256

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After reading the same article with a couple of different papers, it appears there is going to be whole year bubbles, with no limits on class sizes and year groups not allowed to interact with each other. So separate breaks and lunch times.

also probably means separate lesson times to stop the whole school having a lesson change at the same time.
 

Bletchleyite

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After reading the same article with a couple of different papers, it appears there is going to be whole year bubbles, with no limits on class sizes and year groups not allowed to interact with each other. So separate breaks and lunch times.

also probably means separate lesson times to stop the whole school having a lesson change at the same time.
If they're using whole years as bubbles, it would seem that there is a very high chance of a "14 day special" - in that case if I was a parent I would be VERY reluctant to send my child to school because of the impact of that on their mental health and on the rest of the family. Remember, the bubble concept is "one case, everyone self isolate for 14 days".

It seems like many Government policies this is built on a wing and a prayer.
 

yorkie

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This is crazy :( It sounds like they have no idea what actually goes on in schools.

Also do they realise schools would have normally already finalised the timetable by now?!

Surely this will require extra staff: who is going to pay for all this?
 

Huntergreed

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These proposals are clearly written by someone who has never worked in a school and has little to no experience in working with children of any age.

We need schools to go back to normal completely in September. No distancing, no bubbles, no PPE. The risk of a child dying from the virus is, if I recall correctly, around 1 in 3,500,000. To put this in perspective, the chance of any one person getting hit by a car in one year is 1 in 20,000 and the chance of someone getting struck by lightning is 1 in 1.2 million.

It‘s nothing other than complete lunacy to take such disruptive, extensive and restrictive measures to protect children against a risk that’s so infinitely small that it’s practically zero. The effect of these measures on children’s mental health (if they are separated by the bubble system from their friends for instance), and their education (presumably it’s impossible for many extra-curricular activities to run) is going to be huge. We need to start seeing things rationally, and implementing ridiculously over-the-top measures for a risk with odds of 1 in 3.5 million is simply not in any way rational or logical. The vast, vast majority of teachers and school staff are not in the risk group (over 70!or with significant underlying health conditions) and I’m sure special arrangements such as organising cover or delivering some of this content online would be possible for this small number of cases. We need schools to go fully back to normal in September, and parents, teachers and unions shouting about the “safety” of children when referring to a risk which is over two times less likely than getting struck by lightning frankly isn’t helping.
 

edwin_m

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As far as I can see, pubs and restaurants are much more likely to spread the virus than schools are. Eating and drinking makes mask wearing impractical, talking increases the spread, people are more likely to forget their inhibitions as the alcohol flows, and maintaining full records of who is visiting will be patchy at best. So it's not very clear why pubs and restaurants are open with little restriction and schools aren't.
 

adc82140

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Time to call a halt to the what-iffery. Get the schools back. If a parent wants to permanently keep their child away from a grandparent, or deny them an education, we'll that's sad but their choice. What I don't want them doing is forcing others to follow their odd ideas.
 

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Time to call a halt to the what-iffery. Get the schools back. If a parent wants to permanently keep their child away from a grandparent, or deny them an education, we'll that's sad but their choice. What I don't want them doing is forcing others to follow their odd ideas.
It's 25th June, in England that means the school holidays are 2 weeks away, in Scotland they've already started. No point doing it now. Better to plan a safer way of doing it in September, by which time one of two things will likely have happened - one, that the virus has dropped further and measures may be quite light, or two that we're in the throes of a second wave in which case they won't reopen.
 

Class 33

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I completely agree. It needs to go completely by 1st September; hardly anyone is staying 2m away from others as it's just so impracticable to do so, so it's only social distancing in theory not reality. But businesses that suffer by having to produce ludicrous risk assessments and making their business unviable by planning to keep people 2m apart. There is no appetite among the vast majority of people to continue social distancing for much longer.
They ought to scrap social distancing completely from 1st August. Or if not, 1st September at the very very latest. It's just going to be bloody ridiculous if it still goes on "for many months to come"(someone in the government said those words about how long social distancing should continue) when we've reached a point of the daily Coronavirus deaths being consistently very low. We can't just go on with this nonsense for many months to come. People want to get on with their lives properly without all these silly restrictions, and businesses want to start getting back to normal again after months of disruption and very possibly financial hardship. Even with the reduced 1 metre social distancing guidance, many businesses won't be able to survive for too much longer. The economic fallout as a result of this will be absolutely catastrophic for the UK economy, if this social distancing guidance drags on and on. I really hope lots of businesses puts pressure on the government to scrap social distancing as soon as possible.

It's really grating now hearing "social distancing" or "socially distanced" mentioned on the TV news. Every time I hear one of the news readers/news reporters mention those dreaded words I find myself shouting at them "Oh god, shut up!" even if it's news readers/news reporters I like, like for example the lovely Kylie Pentelow and Victoria Davies from ITV News/ITV News Westcountry! I'm just sick of hearing those words. And god forbid, if we're still hearing and seeing those dreaded words come September and beyond!
 
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Bletchleyite

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They ought to scrap social distancing completely from 1st August. Or if not, 1st September at the very very latest. It's just going to be bloody ridiculous if it still goes on "for many months to come"(someone in the government said those words about how long social distancing should continue) when we've reached a point at the daily Coronavirus deaths are consistently very low.
I think you slightly miss the point, they are very low because of social distancing. We are at about the levels we were at at the start of lockdown. If we let the brakes off, we will get a massive second peak.

It is valid to suggest we should move to a policy of herd immunity, with a huge number of additional deaths but a full unlocking. But if we don't want to do that, measures must stay in place until either it goes away on its own (e.g. by mutating into a less deadly form, as viruses often do), or a treatment that gets deaths down to the death rate of winter flu, or a vaccine, is available.
 

Huntergreed

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I think you slightly miss the point, they are very low because of social distancing. We are at about the levels we were at at the start of lockdown. If we let the brakes off, we will get a massive second peak.

It is valid to suggest we should move to a policy of herd immunity, with a huge number of additional deaths but a full unlocking. But if we don't want to do that, measures must stay in place until either it goes away on its own (e.g. by mutating into a less deadly form, as viruses often do), or a treatment that gets deaths down to the death rate of winter flu, or a vaccine, is available.
This is the awkward position we are in now. Social distancing cannot continue beyond September, for economic, educational, practical reasons (there's many more).
 
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Class 33

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This is the awkward position we are in now. Social distancing cannot continue beyond September, for economic, educational, practical reasons (there's many more). It's simply not a measure fit for the long term in the type of society we have constructed, and it cannot and will not last much longer.

We are, however, now in an awkward position. Despite having had the pandemic for around 3-4 months, there is still little immunity in the population, which means any additional spread will cause a large rise in cases. In order to prevent as many of these cases from going to hospital or dying as possible, we need to put in protective measures to ensure those most vulnerable are at a lower risk of catching the infection. This includes fully sealing off care homes and implementing shielding for those with underlying conditions.

We are essentially in the exact same position as we were in March, with low immunity and everyone at risk. Economically, we cannot insist on social distancing for much longer, and the virus simply cannot be eliminated (cases are too high, and the WHO themselves have said this much). This means the only possible way to exit the pandemic unless the virus burns out (which we cannot rely on) is herd immunity in one way or another, and given that we can't afford to maintain social distancing for much longer, we simply have to let the virus infect the healthy demographics whilst making an effort to shield those most at risk. Any other situation will have profound economic and social consequences. This should have been done in March and it was the initial approach taken, until, for some reason, we changed to an elimination approach through a national lockdown. We need to lock down care homes, implement shielding for the vulnerable, and simply let the virus run it's course through the rest of the population. Sadly, there will be some preventable deaths which occur, this is unavoidable, but it's not worth destroying the economy and the construct of our whole society to simply protect the very, very small percentage of people who will sadly lose their lives to this virus.
Well said. The consequences of ongoing social distancing is much more than just the hassle and inconvenience of having to keep swerving to avoid being 2 metres(or soon to be 1 metre) away from people and the hassle of queues to get in shops and one-way systems in shops. The longer this social distancing keeps up, the more it will continue to wreck further damage to the economy and people's livelihoods. Myself, I've been unemployed since the start of the year before the Coronavirus pandemic. It's difficult enough to get a job even before Coronavirus struck. But now, well it's very near to ZERO chance of getting a job right now as there's hardly any jobs being advertised. Many companies will not be able to take on new employees at the moment, due to social distancing restrictions meaning they won't be able to accommodate as many staff in offices, shops, warehouses, etc, etc. Indeed many businesses would have laid people off due to social distancing restrictions. Many thousands of people will be in the same situation as me right now, whilst this social distancing nonsense still drags on and on with no apparent end in sight. It's very bleak. This needs to end very very soon now, scrap social distancing throughout the UK and work on getting the economy going PROPERLY again.

I DEFINITELY agree that social distancing can not continue beyond September for the reasons you mentioned. However sadly my gut feeling is that the government will keep social distancing guidance/restrictions going somewhat beyond September, possibly into even next year. And I reacon come September we'll STILL be hearing the phrases "social distancing" and "socially distanced" countless times on the TV news, as well as all these ads saying the likes of "We know things are for difficult for everyone right now.", "We are living in extraordinary times", and "We are all in this together", etc. I really hope I'm wrong on this!
 

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This is crazy :( It sounds like they have no idea what actually goes on in schools.

Also do they realise schools would have normally already finalised the timetable by now?!

Surely this will require extra staff: who is going to pay for all this?

I NEVER understand people who say this. Of course they have no idea what’s going on in schools. Teachers and Headteachers have been saying so for years. Just look at Williamson’s backtrack - we said bringing whole schools back was unworkable, and it was. Just this week, the DfE said Headteachers were never told to bring children back and follow strict social distancing - their own guidance told us to!
The government are shambolic when it comes to the NHS and education. Plain and simple.
 

sjpowermac

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A report on how schools will operate from September. Year group bubbles with staggering of breaks and lunch.


Schools in England will be urged to deploy Covid-secure “year bubbles” of up to 240 pupils under government plans to get all children safely back in the classroom from September, HuffPost UK has learned.

Whole year groups of secondary school pupils should be separated from each other to offer protection from coronavirus, with staggered start and finish times and measures to keep them apart during breaktimes and lunchtimes, official guidance will state.

The move – which would in bigger schools mean up to eight classes of 30 pupils all kept in the same protective “bubble” – is seen as crucial to allow as full a curriculum as possible with subject teachers allowed to move between classes.
 
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thejuggler

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I truly believe Government see Covid as last quarter's problem.

Other than seemingly wanting to get A&E staff busy again from Saturday, I am largely at a loss as to what the strategy is for anything.
 

yorkie

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So 5 break times and 5 lunchtimes?

e.g. for lunchtimes, you'd have something like Year 7 1130-1200, Year 8 1200-1230, Year 9 1230-1300, Year 10 1300-1330, Year 11 1330-1400?

Even then you'd need each yeargroup back in lessons before the other goes out, so 30 minutes would be more like 25 at best.

I don't see how that is feasible!

No mixed after school clubs?! Will things like breakfast clubs have to be cancelled?

What about a learning support department or internal exclusion rooms which have mixed year groups?

What about siblings who walk to school together?

We need to get back to normal. This is madness.
 

sjpowermac

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So 5 break times and 5 lunchtimes?

Year 7 1130-1200, Year 8 1200-1230, Year 9 1230-1300, Year 10 1300-1330, Year 11 1330-1400?

Even then you'd need each yeargroup back in lessons before the other goes out, so 30 minutes would be more like 25 at best.

I don't see how that is feasible!

No mixed after school clubs?! Will things like breakfast clubs have to be cancelled?

What about a learning support department or internal exclusion rooms which have mixed year groups?

What about siblings who walk to school together?

We need to get back to normal. This is madness.
I would almost be tempted to say this has been put together by people who have no idea how schools operate...
 

Richard Scott

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We just need to get pupils back into school operating to a normal school day. Do we just want to teach them to be afraid of every issue they come across. Let them be children and do what children do. We're robbing their childhood and those times are precious.
 

DavidB

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Is "Covid-secure" a new stupid catch-phrase to go with the equally stupid "social distancing", "keep you safe", and "bubbles"?
 

MikeWM

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Is "Covid-secure" a new stupid catch-phrase to go with the equally stupid "social distancing", "keep you safe", and "bubbles"?
Yep. A piece of blue A4 paper in the window of your building means the virus can't come in. Or maybe someone is getting confused with vampires. Who knows anymore?

I don't think a 'covid-secure' 'year bubble' means what they think it means, however.
 

yorkie

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I spoke to some school staff about this, and everyone who I spoke to thinks its unworkable.
 

shodkini

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Although minimising contact between year groups could be tried inside schools, it would break down immediately outside the premises - because of school bus transport and siblings in the family home.....
 

yorkie

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A week after it was first leaked, it is now official:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-53253722

The government has published its safety plans for the return to school in September - built on the principle of keeping classes or whole year groups apart in separate "bubbles".


The new rules for autumn will mean:

  • grouping children together in groups or "bubbles"
  • in primary this will be a class, in secondary a year group
  • avoiding contact between these groups during the school day
  • separate starting, finishing, lunch and break times
  • regular cleaning hands
  • those with symptoms told to stay out of school
  • no big group events like school assemblies
  • arranging classrooms with forward facing desks
  • separate groups on school buses
  • discouraging the use of public transport
How might this work in a secondary school?

Well, let's see..

So, two siblings in different year groups are walking together to school; they are joined by friends who live near them or on their route to school.

They get to the school gate. Some of the children go straight in, while others hang around and socialise with others in the playground (or perhaps in nearby streets) waiting for their year group to be let in. While those whose start time is later are hanging around, they are joined by friends in other year groups who are also waiting.

If they are to have break and lunch times, given a reduced 10 min break, you may have Year 7 going for break at 10am; the bell will ring for the end of their break at 10:10, and at 10:15 they are all back in classes and Year 8 will go, and so on. This means that, even with a shorter break, the final break time will finish at 1:115.

But then, just 15 minutes later, year 7 may need to go for lunch as early as 11:30. They would get a reduced 25 minutes lunch time , the bell would go at 11:55 and they'd all be in classes by 12:00 when Year 8 would go, and so on... meaning Year 11 don't get to finish lunch until 14:00.

And at the end of the day, Year 7 may need to finish at 14:10, then Year 8 15 minutes later, and so on... but of course, some of the kids will hang around outside the school until siblings/cousins/friends have their finishing time!

Breakfast clubs will presumably be cancelled, or perhaps run for one year group only.

Break/lunch time clubs will need to run concurrently from 10am to 2pm to cater for all year groups or be cancelled.

And after school clubs will either be cancelled or run for just one year group. Sports activities that rely on older children helping to run activities for younger children would be cancelled.

Children who have their closest friends in other year groups will no longer enjoy coming to school.

The school would presumably have to employ many additional staff, including "midd day supervisory assistants" who would need to work from 10am to 2pm, as break/lunch times could no longer be staffed by teachers and other school staff as it would take up too much of their day.

Instead of daily detentions, you'd either need to have a weekly detention for each year group, or times the number of staff on detention duty by five.

And what about lesson changeover times? You can't really stagger these for different year groups. You can't have each year group in a segregated part of the school unless you scrap specialist lessons such as Design Technology, Food, and Science.

It's unclear how learning support departments could possibly function, except perhaps by putting the most vulnerable students in a single bubble, but that ignores the fact that many students only require a bit of additional support.

It's absolute madness, it's going to cost a lot of money in additional staffing and students are going to suffer through loss of extra curricular activities, loss of leadership roles, and all sorts.

If anyone here has experience of working in a school, I'd be interested in hearing your views.

If anyone thinks this could work, I'd be curious to learn how they'd overcome the problems described above!
 
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