Back to school safely
Now is the time for families to talk through how being back in schools and colleges may be different for your child.
This will help to ease any anxiety or worries that your child may feel. There is more information and links for you and your children on our helping children understand and cope pages for all age groups, and the Department for Education has produced videos which show what it has been like for children returning to school during the summer term. You may find these YouTube videos useful to share with your child - returning to primary school and returning to secondary school.
We are aware that these extraordinary circumstances may have an effect on a child's mental wellbeing and local and national mental health and wellbeing support and advice is available on Herefordshire’s WISH website.
The government is expecting every child to go back to school in September. Returning to school is extremely important for all children because education is a fundamental part of your child's development. The skills and knowledge that they learn will help them now and in later life as they progress towards further education or start work.
There may be a very small number of children who are unable to return due to medical conditions. If you think this may affect you please speak to your child's medical specialist and their school.
There is more information for parents and carers about your child returning to school on the Government website as part of the #backtoschoolsafely campaign, which will be updated regularly. You can also follow #backtoschoolsafely on social media for the latest updates.
School and college staff have worked hard to put safety measures in place. Your child's school or college will contact you to explain their specific changes.
Safety measures include:
- Having good and increased hand washing and respiratory hygiene 'catch it, bin it, kill it' practices in place
- Keeping the number of people who are in contact with each other as low as possible (this may be through staggered break times or keeping children in year group 'bubbles')
- Increased cleaning of the school facilities and equipment
- Contactless thermometers provided for staff
- Wearing a face covering, as advised by your child's school
- Opening windows in classrooms to allow greater circulation of air, so it may be worth dressing your child for colder conditions, for example wearing extra layers or a coat
You can help to control the virus and protect your child and others by following the instructions given and explaining to your child why these measures are important.
The government advice is for children and young people to avoid public transport and to walk or cycle to school where possible.
If your child travels to school or college using public transport there will be new COVID-19 travel restrictions in place, which will reduce the number of seats available on public transport vehicles. We are advising parents and carers to plan ahead early to ensure your child can travel to and from school or college safely. Take a look at the latest advice on our school transport pages.
Please remember that if your child has a continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste, please book a test online, or call 119, and keep them off school to self-isolate for 10 days (tests are available for children age 5 and over).
There is more advice on Coronavirus in children on the NHS website.
If someone in the household tests positive for COVID-19, everyone in that household must self-isolate (stay at home) for 14 days. Your child will not be able to attend school. If a staff member is unwell they will not attend school. School staff and families may also be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace programme and asked to self-isolate.
For local advice about coronavirus visit: www.herefordshire.gov.uk/coronavirus
For the latest government coronavirus guidance visit: www.gov.uk/coronavirus