Schools getting ready to reopen to select year groups
PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 June 2020
Schools across the area are preparing to reopen to select year groups after being closed to the vast majority of students since March due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Schools have been open to children of key workers and those who are vulnerable across the region for months, but now places of learning are beginning to welcome back a wider range of pupils.
Secondary schools like The King Alfred School, in Highbridge, began to reintroduce students in year 10 this week, and the Extend Learning Academies Network (ELAN) plans to bring back pupils in years two to five before the end of the school year.
However, there can be no more than 15 children per classroom, pupils are asked to stay two metres apart, and staggered break and lunch times, plus different arrival and departure arrangements, are just some of the safety measures put in-place to avoid the spread of Covid-19 for when children return to school.
Catherine Gibbons, North Somerset Council executive member for children’s services, said: “Schools have already been working incredibility hard throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and the council has always said every school has its own unique set of challenges in regards to reopening.
“All of us are eager to see children return to education in the right way and I trust our school leaders to make the right decision for their place of learning. If they know it is safe for children to return to school, they will reopen.”
Other safety measures imposed by the government include more regular hand washing, less sharing of equipment such as books and toys, and carers should only enter school buildings by appointment, as well as parents being advised not gather at school gates or in the playground.
ELAN executive headteacher Adam Matthews said: “The government is keen to allocate opportunities to years two, three, four and five to return to school, and we think that’s a really good idea. Issues around space will present themselves, and we will certainly be exploring how we can give children the opportunity to come into school and reconnect with their friends and learning.
“We need to give kids closure to the end of the school year, and our intention is to try and get those kids in years two to five in school by the end of the school year.”
The Wessex Learning Trust added it will be welcoming a ‘cohort of students’ back into its thirteen schools in the Cheddar Valley this term.
A spokesman for the trust said: “The Wessex Learning Trust is delighted to be welcoming a cohort of students back into its thirteen exceptional schools this term in line with government advice and guidelines.
“All our schools are now open in some capacity to both the children of key workers, and children in other years in accordance with government guidance, where sites and staffing availability allows.
“We have taken a large number of measures in preparation for a wider re-opening to ensure that our sites are safe and adhering to social distancing rules, while also enabling our learners to access the high class, Wessex education they have come to expect from us.
“These include learner bubbles, visual indicators of the two-meter rule, and supplies of hand sanitiser and PPE.
“We are incredibly grateful to all of our staff who have been working throughout the lockdown to ensure that provision has been in place for all our learners – both at home and in school; and we hope our students will look forward to returning to their schools, and enjoy seeing their friends and teachers again where possible and allowed, before the end of the summer term.”
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