Schools ready to welcome back students in September

Published Friday 28 August 2020 at 14:40

Students across Blackburn and Darwen are getting ready to return to school.

Blackburn with Darwen’s schools and settings have remained open throughout the pandemic for identified children and children of key workers. During June following government guidance schools opened to more year groups.

Teachers and staff have been working incredibly hard to prepare for the re-opening, making all schools as covid-secure as possible and are waiting to welcome back all students from September 1st.

Schools will look and feel a bit different when the new term starts because of the measures that have been put in place to manage the risks that remain from coronavirus.

We understand that some parents will have concerns and questions about their children returning to school in September. The safety of children and young people in Blackburn with Darwen is a priority for the council.

Schools have been working hard to make changes in classroom setups, timetables, social distancing regulations and work practices so that students and staff are safe and secure.

There will be changes to the school environment when children return.

Changes will include specific cleaning and sanitation routines, signage, classroom layout changes, staggered pick-up and drop-off times, specific class or group ‘bubbles’ as well as designated breaks and lunch times to ensure the school day runs as safely as possible.

If parents have any concerns, then they should contact the individual school directly and have a chat through those worries with the teachers.

The council have advised all high schools to follow the recent government guidance regarding face coverings in communal areas, including corridors.

Government guidance confirms that face coverings do not have to be worn in classrooms. Some pupils will be exempt from wearing face coverings due to specific needs and difficulties. Parents and carers will need to provide the face coverings.

Students using public transport will also have new restrictions including mandatory face coverings on buses, social distancing and a cashless payment system. A letter has been sent out to parents, carers and stakeholders including the guidance.

The government’s guidance recognises that younger children and those with certain special educational needs may not be able to maintain social distancing. It is likely that for younger children the emphasis will be on separating groups, and for older children it will also be on distancing where appropriate. Individual schools will set out how this will work.

Parents are advised that pupils should not attend school if they or any member of their household has any COVID-19 symptoms.

Schools will work closely with families to support the return of pupils with an Education Health Care Plan back into school. Some children with complex difficulties may need specific support to help to prepare them for any changes in routine, and schools are planning to meet these needs.

Robust contingency plans are in place should there be a national or local outbreak of the virus.

Councillor Julie Gunn, Executive Member for children, young people and schools, has a message for all our students heading back to school:

Cllr Gunn added:

I want to offer a huge warm welcome back to all our students, teachers and school staff after a long and uncertain break for many.

I also want to give a massive thanks to families, parents and carers for their patience, understanding and cooperation during this time. It has been a very difficult and challenging time and finally we are getting back to school.

“I know schools have been working really hard to prepare the classrooms and buildings and get the right protective measures in place and they are ready to welcome everybody back.

“I would encourage parents to think about all the practicalities of returning to school and find out as much information from their school as possible to reassure themselves and get their children ready for the new start.

“Welcome back everybody – we can’t wait to see you all!”

For more information, parents and carers can look at their school’s own website for updates.

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