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Schools across the country stayed open for key workers’ children and the vul-nerable throughout lockdown, but now they’re ready to welcome more pupils back. Here’s how some of them have been preparing for the challenge.
In early June, a total of 19 schools opened their doors to welcome children back into the classroom on Wearside. This number will certainly increase in the forthcoming weeks as parent anxieties are eased. Like much of the country, the North East has adopted a phased approach meaning not all groups will return at once.
Before the June first start, schools issued special guidance largely involving staggered start and finish times to breaks, social distancing and youngsters having lunch in their classrooms. Staff ensured groups didn’t come together at any point during the day. In the days prior to opening, staff have worked incredibly hard to prepare school premises and a new kind of normal in the classroom.
Some schools have followed the Government’s bubble method whereby lines are painted at the boundary of school premises where pupils can be dropped off. A bubble lead or staff member will then escort the children to their room via a marked route.
There’ll be around eight children in each bubble. And of course, where things can be done outside weather permitting, the opportunity will be taken to help things along with physical activity. Staggering drop off times will really help with keeping young ones safe.
Head teacher Fiona Lynn from Ryhope Junior school in Sunderland told the media: “This week we welcomed back a small number of our Year 6 children. It has been great to see youngsters heading back to the classroom.
“We are comfortable having the children back in school and our thorough risk assessments indicate it is safe to do so. However, we will move forward cautiously. Pupil, parent, staff, and governors feedback has been very positive.”
One parent added: “They have a great set up with the social distancing measures, and a one-way system in place that really puts my mind at ease.
“I am happy to have the children back because it’s key for them to be in school at this stage of their development. I think it’s a good idea to allow them to get back into a normal everyday routine.”
South Tyneside Council reassured parents further with a statement explaining: “Ultimately is a decision for the school governing body to determine whether they wish to welcome more pupils into their school, not the Council, but we are working closely with our family of schools to support them in undertaking the necessary risk assessments prior to any decisions being Taken.
“Each school will have its own set of challenges and we understand that parents and carers will have considerations of their own. We will fully support their judgement and will also respect decisions made by parents and carers.”
Newcastle, Gateshead and Durham will see a carefully phased re-opening of schools. Some children have been out of school for more than 10 weeks. It does seem however, guidelines issued by the Government had been vital in assisting head teachers and staff across the region.
Please check with your local authority for the latest news on schools opening in your area.
TIPS FOR FIRST WEEK BACK AT SCHOOL
- To reduce congestion at the school gates, only one parent should attend pick up and drop off
- Walk or cycle to school to ease the strain on public transport.
- Practice healthy habits at home to support good hygiene in the classroom
- Above all continue to reassure your young ones
Please closely refer to the protective measures in education and childcare settings guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings