When are schools reopening?
This September, all schools up to sixth-form will be opening for all students. For details on specific schools, further information should be found on the school’s website.
Undoubtedly, the decision to fully open schools will worry many parents. This is especially the case in high-risk areas, such as Manchester, in which additional lockdown measures have recently been introduced.
Only last week, increased measures were introduced in Blackburn, Pendle, and Oldham. Current guidelines in the Manchester area prohibit meeting with people outside your household, in a private home or garden. They also state that people should avoid socialising outside their household in public venues.
With this in mind, it is easy to see how getting children back into classrooms can advance parental concern.
Why are schools reopening?
The official government guidance claims that ‘returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing’.
The guidance states that sending children back to school is low-risk in the fight against the pandemic. This is because ‘the risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) is very low’.
The concern branches away from public health, and considers the potential damage this loss of education could be for the future economy. It reads that ‘lower academic achievement also translates into long-term economic costs due to having a less well-qualified workforce’.
However, if COVID-19 cases do spike, ‘every school will also need to plan for the possibility of a local lockdown and how they will ensure continuity of education’. This will mean that any further lockdowns that will affect schooling will be on a local, rather than a national, level.
How will my child be kept safe?
Schools must follow new health and safety guidance, to keep staff and children safe. Before students return, schools must legally revisit and update their risk assessments to prepare for any COVID-19 risks.
In short, the guidance can be summed up here.
- Anybody with COVID-19 symptoms must not attend school.
- Everybody must wear face coverings in communal areas outside the classrooms.
- Everybody must wash their hands regularly and thoroughly.
- Schools must enhance their cleaning standards, and staff must clean surfaces throughout the day.
- Everybody must maintain social distancing where possible.
- If a case is confirmed, the school must inform the NHS track and trace system, and follow local health guidelines.
Schools will be enforcing these measures to keep all students and staff in good health.