Coronavirus: What pupils, parents and staff can expect when face-to-face lessons return
Shropshire Council is working closely with schools to ensure they are supported and ready to begin face-to-face lessons for all pupils from Monday 8 March 2021.
All schools are working hard to ensure measures are in place to keep pupils and staff as safe as possible. Your child’s school will be in contact with you about their arrangements.
Here’s what to expect when pupils start returning to the classrooms on Monday:
What is reopening on Monday 8 March?
Primary schoolpupils, secondary schoolpupils and college students, as well as university students on practical courses who need access to specialist facilities and equipment, will all return on Monday 8 March.
Schools and colleges will be staggering the return of pupils and students over the first week to allow them to be tested for COVID-19 on return. After an initial programme of three Lateral Flow Tests in secondary schools and colleges, secondary schoolpupils and college students will be provided with two rapid LTFs to use each week at home.
Under the plans all secondary schoolpupils and college students will take three Lateral Flow Tests as they return to class – then students will be given two tests each week to use at home.
The testing when these older children first go back to school will be under supervision. School staff have been trained on how to carry out, and read the result of, the Lateral Flow Tests.
The rapid swab tests are voluntary, and no child or young person will be tested without informed consent from their parent or carer. The tests are to help limit the spread of the virus by identifying people who may be COVID-19 positive but asymptomatic.
Younger, primary-aged pupils will not be tested at schools.
The Government has confirmed rapid Lateral Flow Tests will be given for free to all households/families with primary school-aged, secondary school-aged and college-aged children, for twice-weekly testing for all members.
This includes Lateral Flow Tests for those from childcare and support bubbles, and twice-weekly testing will also be offered to adults working in the wider school community, including bus drivers and after school club leaders.
These tests will be available to collect at the following local testing sites:
London Road Car Park, Shrewsbury, SY2 6NS
Beatrice Street Car Park, Oswestry, SY11 1QW
Smithfield Car Park, 25 Lower Galdeford, Ludlow, SY8 1RN
If you are unable to collect your test kits, they can also be ordered online here
Please note: You should not do a Lateral Flow Test if you have had a positive COVID-19 test in the last 90 days. The rapid LFT test may give a false positive result if you have recently had COVID-19.
You will need to wait 90 days from the day of a positive test result before you can start self-testing again. The exception is if the individual develops symptoms. In this case, it is important to get a PCR swab test by contacting 119, not a Lateral Flow Test.
Close contacts must self-isolate
Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate immediately and for the next 10 full days counting from the day after contact with the individual who tested positive.
Schools will also provide remote education to any pupils who are required to self-isolate.
Staff and students in secondary schools and colleges should wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained.
There are exemptions for those who rely on visual signals for communication, or those who communicate with or provide support to such individuals.
In primary schools, face coverings should be worn by staff and adult visitors in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible (for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas).
Children in primary school do not need to wear a face covering.
Follow the rules – inside and outside of school
It’s really important that everyone continues to abide by these current rules and plays their part in reducing infection rates.
Lockdown measures will still be in place when schools reopen on Monday 8 March.
This means limiting contact with people, maintaining social distancing and following all of the measures designed to keep yourselves and others safe.
Last year we received numerous reports of students and parents congregating in large groups outside of the school gates. If this happens again we all risk helping the virus to spread, and the route out of Lockdown becomes much harder.
Click here to find the latest guidance on school transport.
We are strongly advising parents and carers to avoid gathering in close groups to catch up or chat outside schools.
Please follow your school’s instructions on safely dropping off and picking up your children, and leave immediately once this is done.
Some schools will be arranging staggered dropping off and picking up timings at the beginning and end of the school day to help with this. Once inside the school gates, the schools will have extensive systems of control in place to ensure the learning environment is safe and secure.
If you have any queries or concerns, call Shropshire Council’s Education Line on 0345 678 9008. This support line is open from 9am to 5pm, Mondays to Fridays. Press 5 for back to school enquiries.