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Supporting parents and schools to help children back into the classroom

In line with the latest government guidance, all pupils are expected to return to school full-time from Monday 8 March.

We are working closely with schools in Westminster to welcome children back safely. 

Returning to school is vital for a child's education and wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children.

It can affect both current learning, and future ability to learn, as well as their wellbeing, and therefore we need to ensure all pupils can return to school sooner rather than later.

The safety of children and staff is a top priority. Schools are regularly assessing the risk posed by coronavirus and have strengthened existing measures in place to support the need of their staff and children.

 

 

schools cleaning

Schools continue to implement extra cleaning in line with Public Health England’s guidance, particularly of areas used by different groups and frequently touched surfaces.

As before, children will be encouraged to regularly wash their hands throughout the day and follow good hygiene (for example Catch it, Bin it, Kill it). Hand sanitiser stations will be available throughout schools.

Uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often than usual, and the usual clothes washing methods are fine.

Staff and students in secondary schools and colleges are advised to wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained and as a temporary extra measure.

Contact the school or visit their website to learn more about the measures they are putting in place.

Find school contact details on GOV.UK.

testing swab

As many as one in three people who have coronavirus show no symptoms, so could be spreading the virus unknowingly. Since the start of January, 4 million symptom-free tests have been done in schools and weekly testing of pupils and staff will help keep everyone safe.

Staff at nurseries, primary and secondary schools and colleges will be provided with two rapid symptom-free COVID-19 tests each week for home testing.

All secondary school and college students will be offered tests as they return to the classroom from Monday 8 March at school testing facilities. This will help them get used to swabbing themselves for the test. Primary aged children will not be offered a test upon return.

After the initial tests, secondary school and college students will be provided with two rapid symptom-free tests each week to use at home. Testing is voluntary but we encourage as many people as possible to take part to help reduce the spread of the virus.

Children who show symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day will be taken to a safe area and a parent or guardian will be contacted to take them home. They will be asked to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible.

Back to school

The bubble system, introduced last year, will remain in place.

Each bubble will consist of the same adults and children, who will remain in that same bubble for the remainder of the school year. If any adult or child within the bubble tests positive for COVID-19, then the entire group and/or close contacts must self-isolate at home.

Classrooms will be organised to allow social distancing between pupils and staff, with pupils facing forward where possible, and staying at the same desk.

Equipment and resources will be cleaned regularly, and pupils and staff will have their own personal equipment where possible. If cleaning is not practical, items will be left unused until the risk of transmission has passed.

Outside activity is important for children’s physical and mental wellbeing. Schools will continue to use outside space for learning and recreation.

Contact the school or visit their website for details of how classrooms will be shared and outside areas will be managed.

Find school contact details on GOV.UK

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All routes to school are being assessed as part of the council’s measures to ease lockdown safely. We want to encourage children to walk or cycle to school wherever possible. 

From Monday 8 March, School Streets will resume so that children, parents, carers and other visitors will have more space to walk, cycle and scooter, whilst social distancing. 

These will provide extra pedestrian and cycle space around schools, and there will be restrictions on vehicles at peak times.

Read more about COVID-19 safe travel at GOV.UK

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Returning to school allows social interaction with friends, carers and teachers, which is good for a child's wellbeing.

We understand pupils will be experiencing a variety of emotions in response to the coronavirus outbreak, such as anxiety, stress or low mood. This may particularly be the case for vulnerable children, for example those with a social worker, or for young carers.

Schools have been asked how they can provide emotional care and extra-curricular activities to all pupils.

This will be designed to: 

  • support the rebuilding of friendships and social engagement 
  • address and equip pupils to respond to issues linked to coronavirus
  • support pupils with approaches to improving their physical and mental wellbeing 

Schools have also been asked to provide more focused emotional support for: 

  • individual pupils
  • groups already known to need additional help (for example, children in need)  
  • any groups they identify as newly vulnerable on their return to school

Contact the school or visit their website to learn more about the measures they are putting in place.

Do you have a question?

Visit your child's school website or contact them directly to find out how face-to-face teaching will resume safely for everyone.

Find school contact details on GOV.UK

Find out the latest coronavirus information for schools and nurseries

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