Home U.K. UK schools reopen: New guidance for schools opening in June despite backlash

UK schools reopen: New guidance for schools opening in June despite backlash

The measures, introduced by the Department for Education (DfE), suggested schools can stagger linch and break times, as well as start and finish times, in order to reduce the number of students walking around. One-way circulation is also recommended, with divisions in the corridor to maintain the distance between children.

The advice was published on Monday evening, and it advised nurseries and schools to not use soft furniture and toys that can be more difficult to disinfect.

Children in these classes should stay divided in small groups at all times each day.

The new guidance comes after the Government announced its target for primary school students to return to school in June for a month before the summer holidays.

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Teaching unions have opposed the plan, saying that the idea is “reckless”.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said the Government’s goal for all primary school pupils to go back to school for a month before the summer holidays was not “a feasible scenario”.

He said: “The availability of school staff, the sheer number of pupils and the sizes of school classrooms and corridors combined with the need for social distancing measures mean that the Government’s calculations simply don’t add up.

“It seems wildly optimistic, to the point of being irresponsible, to suggest that we will be in a position to return all primary children to school within the next seven weeks.”

More than 440,000 people have supported a petition for the Government to allow families to choose whether they send their children to school if they reopen soon.

The Government has said parents who decide not to send their children back to school will not face penalties.

However, unless someone in the household or the cil themselves are considered at a higher risk of the virus, families will be encouraged to take their children to school.

The new measures say most education staff members will not need to wear PPE when they return to work.

Children are not requires to wear a face covering or face mask, but supervising adults who have been in contact with a student who presents symptoms of Covid-19 should.

The Government guidance admits that young students will not be able to stay two metres apart from each other and staff.

Instead, primary school classes should be separated in groups of maximum 15 pupils per group. These small “consistent” groups will be stopped from mixing with other students during the day.

The advice says that demand for childcare is “likely to be lower than usual” and so staff-to-child ratios “should allow for small group working”.

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Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I know how hard schools, colleges, early years settings and parents are working to make sure children and young people can continue to learn at home, and I cannot thank them enough for that.

“But nothing can replace being in the classroom, which is why I want to get children back to school as soon as it is safe to do so.”

He added: “The latest scientific advice indicates it will be safe for more children to return to school from June 1, but we will continue to limit the overall numbers in school and introduce protective measures to prevent transmission.

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