28/08/2020 - Permalink

Coronavirus: Returning to school safely

Related topics: Children's services / Coronavirus / Health

As Shropshire’s schools prepare to welcome pupils back, children, parents, carers and staff are being assured that their safety and wellbeing is a priority.

Throughout the summer Shropshire Council has been working closely with schools, colleges and nurseries to make sure that they are as safe as possible for the new term – and to provide children and their families with all the information they need to help them feel confident about heading back to school.

Ed Potter, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children’s services, said:

“We understand that parents, carers, children and staff may be feeling anxious about returning during the pandemic. Their safety and wellbeing are a priority for the council, and for our schools, colleges and nurseries.

“It’s clear that our education settings will feel very different when children return. For many children and young people, this will be their first time in school or college since March. That’s why it’s so important that everyone feels reassured and ready to return.

“The measures put in place by Shropshire schools are designed to keep everyone safe. Our education team continues to support school teams with risk assessments ahead of September. These include providing advice and guidance on health and safety measures and ensuring we can do all we can to support children as they return.”

Shropshire Council has updated its ‘back to school’ webpage with a range of information about returning to school, including a list of Frequently Asked Questions which cover everything from classroom arrangements, school transport and plans for exams.

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

The council’s transport team has also been working hard to ensure school transport services run smoothly, with new arrangements in place from September, in line with Government guidance.

Advice and guidance to help children travel to school safely can be found here.

Should parents or carers still have questions or concerns about the plans in place for their child’s school, they should contact schools and headteachers to discuss the specific measures in place and check their school’s website for the latest information.

Further information

School transport advice

On contracted school buses, pupils are being asked to use the same seat every day. Seating arrangements will reflect school year group ‘bubbles’, with the eldest pupils at the rear and the youngest at the front.

To ensure that children stay safe and well while travelling by bus, the guidance also says:

  • Pupils should not travel if feeling unwell or if they or anyone in their household have any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Pupils should wash their hands, using soap or sanitiser, before and after travel, and as often as possible throughout the day.
  • For pupils aged over 11, face coverings are mandatory on public transport and should be worn on school contracted buses (unless the child is exempt).
  • Pupils should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of the elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  • During the journey, pupils should face forwards, not touch others, not move out of their seat and avoid loud talking, shouting or singing.