This week the government launched its #backtoschoolsafely campaign to help parents effectively manage the risk of children returning to school for the autumn term.
We’ve summarised everything you need to know as a primary school parent.
Attendance, hygiene and travel
- The current plan is for children in all year groups will return to school full time from the beginning of the autumn term.
- School attendance will again be mandatory from the beginning of the new academic year. As parents of primary school children, it is your responsibility to ensure your child’s attendance.
- Where children are not able to attend school as parents are following clinical and/or public health advice, the absence will not be penalised.
- There will be more hand washing, more cleaning and promotion of good respiration hygiene ('catch it, bin it, kill it’).
- Distancing will also be enforced in schools where possible, which will involve younger children staying within specified separate bubbles as it is appreciated that it can be hard to keep them apart.
- Some schools will need to stagger or adjust start and finish times as to keep groups apart, but this it will not reduce the amount of time they spend teaching.
- Where possible, children are encouraged to avoid public transport, particularly at peak times, and to walk or cycle to school.
Isolating / shielding
- Should your child be self-isolating following coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, a positive test, or close contact with someone who has coronavirus, you should contact your child’s school to see what they can offer by way of remote learning. If your child, or anyone in their household has coronavirus symptoms, they should not attend school. Instead you should arrange for them to get tested and inform your school of the results.
- Your child may be asked to self-isolate for 14 days by their school if they have been in close, face-to-face contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
- Children who have been on the shielded patient list (or those with family members that were shielding) can also return to school. Children under the care of a specialist health professional should consult them about returning to school at their next planned clinical appointment.
Face coverings are not required in schools as pupils and staff are mixing in consistent groups, and because misuse may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission.
Learning and assessments
Schools will continue to provide an ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects, although there may be changes to some subjects - such as PE and music - to ensure children's safety.
In order for the government to better understand the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on children nationally and give support to schools that need it the most. They are planning that statutory primary assessments (for those going into year 6 in September) will take place in summer 2021.
The recommendation is for all schools to return to their usual uniform policies in the autumn term. Uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, or in any different way to normal due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
School kitchens should be fully open from the start of the autumn term and provide free school meals to those who are eligible.
Day trips can resume in line with the latest public health guidance.
Schools will be permitted to run breakfast and after-school activities in line with the wider guidance on protective measures.
In order to minimise risks, you should consider sending your child to the same setting consistently and limit the number of different providers you access. Find out how We Are Fetching can help with this.
In the event of an outbreak
A school is deemed to have experienced an outbreak if they have 2 or more confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) within 14 days, or they see an increase in pupil or staff absence rates due to suspected or confirmed cases. Their local health protection team will advise if additional action is required. The closure of the whole school will generally not be necessary.
A mobile testing unit may be dispatched to first test the person’s class, followed by their year group, then the whole school, if necessary.
If your local area sees a spike in infection rates, the government will be involved in any decisions and will support individual schools to follow the health advice.
Where groups of pupils need to self-isolated, your child’s school will aim to ensure children can continue to learn remotely.