WITH schools across Gloucestershire working hard to be ready for a potential phased return of more pupils on 1 June, Gloucestershire County Council has drawn up a package of measures to help teachers and students.
Schools in the county are expected to welcome more children back after the May half-term, when Government guidance allows. Schools will be taking steps to reduce contact for children and this will mean things will look a bit different when they return. Children will be in smaller groups and may be in a different classroom with a different teacher. Schools may also need to limit the number of children they can take. How this will operate and which pupils can return is a decision for individual schools, with the health, safety and wellbeing of children, young people and staff at the forefront of every decision they make.
Whilst individual schools are responsible for making the decision on how they can operate safely, the county council has been supporting them with their plans including help with accessing PPE and signage.
From this week, every school in Gloucestershire will be supplied with an initial starter pack of personal protective equipment (PPE) by the county council, including: masks, gloves, goggles, aprons and sanitiser. The council will also help schools to source their own PPE equipment in future, if needed.
Signs, stickers and tape are also available for schools to encourage social distancing and to put in a one-way traffic system around their building. They have also been given advice on things to consider in re-opening as well as advice on testing and how to access it if needed. The council will also provide additional support where children may struggle with going back to school. If parents have questions, they can contact the council’s COVID19 education team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01452 426015.
Cllr Patrick Molyneux, cabinet member responsible for education, said: “Schools in Gloucestershire haven’t closed – ninety per cent have remained open to children of key workers and vulnerable children since lockdown began in March. I’m really grateful for the work they’ve done in helping key workers keep up the fight against Coronavirus. Schools are working hard now to plan to increase the number of pupils attending, once Government guidance allows. The county council is playing its part to support schools to make sure they have the help and support they need to do that safely and appropriately.”
Priority will continue to be given to supporting vulnerable children and children of key workers. Schools will consider how best to meet the needs of children in Reception, Year One and Year 6 in line with the Government guidance and based on what is possible in their own schools.
Secondary schools will be making different arrangements and are making contact with the parents of students in Year 10 and year 12 to confirm their individual schools’ plans.
For more information about the plans for a phased return to school, visit our frequently asked questions page on the council website: gloucestershire.gov.uk/gloucestershires-community-help-hub/covid-19-schools-frequently-asked-questions
To help support families, the council have set up a parent advice line. The advice line offers confidential advice, guidance and emotional support on any aspect of parenting and family life. If you need support, please contact the advice line on 0800 542 02 02.