Additional measures put in place as schools prepare to welcome all pupils back

3 March 2021

Cheshire West and Chester Council has been working closely with schools and colleges across the borough to prepare for all pupils returning to face-to-face learning from Monday 8 March.

The Government announced last week that all primary, secondary and special schools as well as colleges in England will welcome pupils back in to the classroom in the first stage of the national roadmap for easing restrictions in England.

All education providers in the borough will follow the latest Government guidance to ensure their premises are COVID-secure and all precautions are taken to reduce the transmission of the virus.

Secondary and college pupils will now be required to wear face coverings on school premises, where a social distance of two metres cannot be maintained, this will include in classrooms and communal areas.

Pupils in secondary schools and colleges will also be encouraged to take a rapid result COVID-19 test, called a lateral flow test, at their school as they return. Three tests will be done on the school or college premises, three to five days apart, and home testing kits will be provided to families to test twice weekly thereafter. Instructions about completing home testing will be provided to families.

Introducing testing for staff and pupils without symptoms will ensure that positive COVID-19 cases and their contacts are found early so they can self-isolate for the required 10 days. Alongside the additional measures in place in schools, testing will also help keep rates of COVID-19 low and stop the spread of the virus.

If you're a member of a household, childcare bubble or support bubble of staff or a pupil in primary or secondary school you can also get a twice-weekly rapid lateral flow test. You can collect two packs of home test kits at a local collection point, which are open daily from 1pm to 7pm. Households in England with people who attend or work in schools in Wales are also eligible to access these tests. Full details of where you an access a test can be found on the 'Testing and Self-isolation' section of the Government website: www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

The below additional measures are already in place in schools across the borough and will remain for this term.
  • All adults to wear a face covering when visiting or entering the school premises including outdoor yard areas.
  • Parents/carers to arrive and leave promptly when dropping off/collecting their child - please do not congregate and maintain social distancing as we know that the virus is easily transmitted from person to person.
  • In schools where it has been agreed that a parent/carer can enter the school premises for drop off and pick up, only one adult should enter.
  • Young people to avoid congregating outside school, mixing with pupils from other schools and go directly home.
  • Pupils travelling on mainstream home to school transport or those aged 11 years and over travelling on public transport must wear a face covering unless they are exempt. This includes pupils travelling on SEN transport.
Councillor Bob Cernik, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: "The announcement by the Government that face-to-face teaching can resume is a welcome step in the right direction. Children and families have done a remarkable job learning from home supported by our schools and colleges.

"Our schools and colleges have robust risk assessments and have put all the precautionary measures in place to make their sites as COVID-secure as possible. We do need to remain cautious so please follow the latest guidance from your school when returning next week. It's also very important to remember the basic rules outlined below."

Please play your part to help stop the spread of the virus by keeping two metres apart as much as possible, wearing face coverings if you are in year seven or above, washing your hands regularly, walking or cycling to school if possible and following your school’s instructions for drop-off and pick-up times.

If you or your child has any COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) please self-isolate at home with your household and get a test by visiting: www.nhs.uk or calling 119.

From the 8 March the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme will be extended to assist parents and guardians whose child is required to self-isolate. This is restricted to one parent or guardian who are unable to work due to caring for a child who is required to self-isolate. For more details go to the 'How to get help' section on the Council website: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/covid.

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