Schools, colleges and early years settings will have new safety measures in place this September

Herefordshire Council welcomes the return of children and young people into school, colleges and early years settings this September.

Schools remained safely open for children of keyworkers and vulnerable children during the coronavirus lockdown and also provided education for primary aged pupils and some secondary students. This has helped to inform the planning and preparation for pupils and staff to return to school safely in the autumn term.  The national expectation is that all children will go back to school in September unless they have a medical reason not to.

Schools have been preparing for the return of staff and students, taking into account the latest national and public health guidance.

A range of measures are in place to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, such as:

  • Having good 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 school facilities and equipment
  • Reinforcing the message that if someone in a household tests positive for COVID-19, their child must not attend school and everyone in that household must self-isolate (stay at home) for 14 days.

Chris Baird, Herefordshire Council’s Director for Children and Families, said:

“I would like to say ‘welcome back’ all children and staff. This has been a challenging time for everyone. Some children are really enthusiastic about seeing their friends and being back at school, but it is understandable that some children, families and indeed staff may be worried about returning.  Schools are very aware of this and have been working extremely hard to prepare for a safe return in the autumn term and will have support in place ready to meet the needs of the children.

“Education is essential for your child’s development, and returning to school, college and early years settings really will benefit them. Now is the time for families to talk through with their children how school will be different in September and schools will be communicating this to parents and carers. This will help to ease any anxiety or worries that your child may feel.

“As a local authority we will continue to support Herefordshire’s schools, colleges, nurseries, preschools and other childcare settings, focusing on the health, safety and welfare of children, staff and our communities.” 

Councillor David Hitchiner, Leader of Herefordshire Council said:

“Our schools and families have shown such resilience as they adapted to developing government guidance. I want to thank all staff, parents and carers for their cooperation and their continued support as everyone prepares for the new school year.

“Teaching staff know that children and young people will have had different experiences of learning at home. They will work with each child to identify where they are in their learning, and plan their progress from there.”

There is information on how to return to school safely on the Herefordshire Council website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/backtoschool

The council is also advising parents to plan ahead to ensure their child can travel to and from school or college safely.  The latest school transport information relating to the coronavirus is available on the Herefordshire Council website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/schooltransportcovid19

COVID-19 travel restrictions remain in place on public transport, and this will reduce the number of seats available. Government advice is for children and young people to avoid public transport and to walk or cycle to school where possible.

If your child has a continuous cough or a high temperature, book a test and keep them off school to self-isolate for 10 days.  Everyone in the household must then self-isolate (stay at home) for 14 days. For a free test call 119 or visit www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

Published: 25th August 2020