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Schools to reopen to some year groups next month

News | Published:

SCHOOLS are to reopen to some year groups next month, the Education Minister has announced.

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From the 8 June:

• Primary schools will re-open to Year 6.

• Secondary schools will re-open and provide some face-to-face teaching for Years 10 and 12 only.

• Highlands College will re-open and provide some face-to-face teaching for Years 12 and 13.

• Private nurseries will be able to welcome back a set number of children.

• And children will also be allowed to return to their childminder or nanny, in accordance with established guidance agreed with public health.

It follows the latest advice from the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC) and the Medical Officer for Health, who have advised that:

• Schools are safe to start re-opening as soon as possible, prioritising the year groups suggested by education professionals and ensuring that measures are in place for them to do so safely.

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• The risks to children of being away from school currently outweigh the health risk from Covid-19 of them being in school.

• Children should return to school as soon as is practically possible, while ensuring that public health measures can be maintained.

• There is growing evidence that children are not super spreaders and that when infected, the level of the virus appears to be no less/greater than adults.

•It is in children’s best interests to return to school.

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Officials will continue to seek and assess the medical evidence and advice available from the STAC to understand whether it will be appropriate and feasible for additional pupils to attend primary school two weeks later, the government has said.

The situation for other secondary age pupils will also be kept under continuous review.

To enable children to return safely to schools, the Department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills is working closely with colleagues in public health to ensure successful safety measures are put into place in all schools.

These will include:

• Strict requirements that no symptomatic children or staff attend school.

• Implementing a 'bubble' approach, where groups of children and their teacher(s) remain together.

• Where the bubble approach is not appropriate, adherence to two-metre physical distancing between pupils and staff will be in place in classrooms, corridors, etc.

• Where bubbles are used, observing strict physical distancing between the bubbles.

• No interaction between bubbles of children.

• Marking of corridors / stairwells to maintain distancing.

• Staggering start, lunch, breaks and pick-ups.

• Not using shared equipment (playground, music, PE, tablet devices, books) where it cannot be cleaned between users.

• Making PPE available to staff if a child or staff member becomes symptomatic in school.

• Increasing the frequency of cleaning.

Richard Heath

By Richard Heath
author

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