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Frequently Asked Questions About Returning to School

The aim is to return on 1st June but when will it be confirmed?

The government will only confirm on 28th May if selected year groups will return on 1st June. They will only proceed with opening schools if the tests are met.

On 16 April the Government presented five tests for easing measures :

  • Protect the ability of the NHS to cope. We must be confident that we are able to provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment right across the UK.
  • See a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates from COVID-19 so we are confident that we have moved beyond the peak.
  • Recieve reliable data from SAGE showing that the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels across the board.
  • Be confident that the range of operational challenges, including testing capacity and PPE, are in hand, with supply able to meet future demand.
  • Be confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelms the NHS.

Which children will return to primary school?

The following children will be able to return to school on 1st June:

  • Nursery (if applicable)
  • Reception
  • Year 1
  • Year 6
  • Priority Children - vulnerable children and children of critical workers, who have been able to attend since March.

However, the number of children that a school may be able to offer provision for may need to be capped if the school is unable to provide appropriate provision as required by the DfE Guidance. We have been asked to prioritise our youngest children first.

Your child's school will communicate the provision that they are offering from the 1st June.

Which students will return to secondary school?

Secondary schools will be making different arrangements and will be in contact with the parents of students in Year 10 and year 12 to confirm schools plans from 1st June.

I have to go back to work. Can I send my child in even if they aren’t in the selected year groups?

At this stage, schools are only open for the selected year groups plus vulnerable children and children of critical workers, who have been able to attend throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

If you have been asked to return to work but do not have childcare, please talk to your employer to make necessary adjustments.

I don’t feel comfortable about sending my child to school. Do they have to attend?

Schools are looking forward to welcoming your child back to school and have taken every precaution to ensure the school environment is as safe as possible. However, we understand that some parents, for a variety of reasons, may wish to keep their child at home and continue with the home learning resources and activities offered by the school.f It is not compulsory for children to attend, although it is strongly encouraged. Please let the school know that you will not be sending your child in.

Will I be fined if I keep my children at home?

If you do not send your child in, you will not be fined.

Where classrooms in schools are small, can groups be smaller than 15?

The maximum group size is 15. DfE Guidance asks that schools calculate how many children can be accommodated in temporary teaching groups which is dependent upon the size of the classrooms and the layout of the school.

How will you limit the risk of infection for my child?

Schools are currently carrying out a risk assessment ahead of re-opening so that they can put in place a comprehensive programme of measures to limit the risk to staff and children.

Due to the age of the children who will be returning, social distancing will be a challenge. Therefore the government have suggested:

  • smaller class sizes - a maximum of 15 children per class
  • rearrange classrooms - desks are spaced out as far as possible.
  • limit mixing - children will stay in their groups and be assigned specific staff members
  • stagger timetables - limit the number of children on lunch and breaks, changes to pick up and drop off times
  • minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school
  • clean hands more often than usual - wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with running water and soap and dry them thoroughly or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered
  • ensuring good respiratory hygiene - promote the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
  • cleaning frequently touched surfaces often using standard products, such as disinfectant
  • The detailed guidance from the DfE can be found here.

Will the school day start and end at the same time?

There may be some changes to the timings of the school day to ensure schools can safely manage drop off and collection of children. Schools will clearly communicate these arrangements with parents before the school returns.

How will I drop off and collect my child?

Collection and drop off of children may be a different process to that a few months ago. Schools are currently drawing up plans to ensure social distancing can happen at these times. Further details on the arrangements will be sent to parents and be displayed on the schools website.

If you are in any doubt, please make contact with your child's school.

What if one of my children is in one of the returning years but another is not?

Only children in these year groups can return to school from 1 June. This does not include siblings in different year groups unless those siblings are in a priority group, for example, vulnerable children and children of critical workers.

The Government hopes that all primary school children can come back to school before the summer holidays, for a month if feasible, although this will be kept under review. Reducing the risks for children and staff is of utmost importance.

Should my child wear a face covering, mask or other PPE?

Government Guidance states, “Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended”.

Staff should only wear PPE when:

  • a child whose care routinely already involves the use of PPE due to their intimate care needs.
  • a child becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus while in their setting and needs direct personal care until they can return home. A face mask should be worn by the supervising adult if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. If contact with the child or young person is necessary, then gloves, an apron and a face mask should be worn by the supervising adult. If a risk assessment determines that there is a risk of splashing to the eyes, for example from coughing, spitting, or vomiting, then eye protection should also be worn.

If you have any concerns please speak to the head teacher at your school.

Will there be COVID-19 testing and contact tracing in education and childcare settings?

Testing is already available for all school staff and their household members.

When the wider cohort of children are invited to return to their education settings, all those children eligible to attend, and members of their households, will have access to testing if they display symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

To access testing parents should use the 111 online coronavirus service if their child is 5 or over. They should call 111 if the child is under 5.

This will enable them to get back into childcare or education, and their parents or carers to get back to work, if the test proves to be negative.

In the event of a child or member of staff testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), the relevant group of people within the school with whom the child has mixed closely (their cohort), should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days. As part of the national test and trace programme, if other cases are detected within the cohort or in the wider setting, Public Health England’s local Health Protection teams will conduct a rapid investigation and will advise schools and other settings on the most appropriate action to take.

Usually someone else collects my child from school as I have to go into work. Can someone from another household collect my child?

Government Guidance would only allow someone to pick up a child from another household if a 2m distance is kept between them. This would be very difficult with young children and therefore we would advise only members from your household should collect your child.

Will Breakfast Club and Afterschool Club start again?

At this stage, individual schools will need to consider the health and safety of pupils and their local circumstances to determine whether they can open wrap-around care for children. You will need to make contact with your school to clarify local arrangements.

Will my child be taught by their usual teacher?

Schools cannot guarantee this as each class needs to be split. The aim is to have at least one adult who will be familiar to the children in each class. This may be the teacher or a teaching assistant as far as possible. Please contact your school for clarification.

We completely understand that the last few weeks have been challenging and that many parents will be anxious about the return to school. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to get in touch with your child's school.

Thank you for your ongoing support through these challenging times.