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Going back to school: what parents need to know for September’s re-opening

Children at schoolTags Children

September sees the wider re-opening of schools for all pupils in Barking and Dagenham, with safety measures now in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

After months of lockdown, parents are encouraged to send their children back to school when they re-open in September. For some pupils, this could be their first year at a new school and for many others it will be the first time they’ve gone back to school since March.

Schools have been working hard to ensure they’re safe and parents are reminded that it is of great importance for children’s educational and social development that they return to school.

During lockdown and over the summer holidays, headteachers, the council’s Public Health Team, and governing bodies have been working hard to put in Covid-secure safety measures to guarantee staff and pupils are safe when they return. These include:

  • staggered break times and start/finish times for pupils.
  • freely available hand sanitiser for all staff and pupils.
  • enhanced cleaning of all surfaces throughout schools.
  • one-way systems when walking through schools.

If parents have any concerns about their child’s return, they’re advised to contact their child’s school. Schools will be working closely with the council’s Public Health Team and will be best able to give parents advice and information in line with the government’s coronavirus measures.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “As a parent and grandparent of school-age children, I share many of the same concerns parents may have about sending their kids back to school.

“I want to reassure parents that both school staff and our Public Health Team have been working tirelessly to bring schools into line with the Government’s coronavirus advice for schools.”

Throughout lockdown, schools have remained open for vulnerable children as well as the children of key-workers. This allowed schools and the council Public Health Team to get experience working with the new Covid-secure guidance.

Director of Public Health for Barking and Dagenham, Matthew Cole, said: “Parents should rest assured that schools have in place several measures to help stop the spread of coronavirus, including staggered start and end times as well as enhanced cleaning regimens.

“The health of our young people and school staff is the number one priority for the council and we are doing everything we can to make sure staff and pupils remain safe.”

Councillor Evelyn Carpenter, Cabinet Member for Educational Attainment and School Improvement, said: “Whilst this is a worrying time for all of us, I think it’s important for parents to remember the key educational skills children will have been missing out on, out of school.

“Not only does school give children vital education to help them lead successful lives, it also provides them with the basic social skills they will carry with them throughout their lives.”

If a pupil or member of staff falls ill or shows any of the symptoms of coronavirus (a dry continuous cough, a loss or change to their sense of taste or smell, or a high temperature) they will be advised to go home, book a test by calling 119 and to isolate for 10 days The council will then work with the school and Public Health England to contact any of the other students or members of staff who could have come into contact with the sick student or member of staff and they will be advised to isolate and get tested as well.

Find out more about coronavirus and the help available for residents.

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