Schools and academies in Bath and North East Somerset are set to open their doors next week after making a range of changes to make sure pupils can return to school safely.
The schools have received advice and support from Bath & North East Somerset Council to help them achieve safe reopening in line with Government guidance to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The council reports that all schools, including those maintained by the council and those run by academy trusts, are responding positively to the challenges of reopening and have been looking creatively at how they are ensuring all pupils can return safely.
The council has offered advice on completing risk assessments, which will be available to view on each school’s website so that parents are reassured their child’s school has been individually assessed and made safe.
Schools are making their own arrangements for managing the school day, but across the district the changes to practices include:
Staggered start and end times for the school day
Staggered lunch times and break times
Making best use of all available entrances and exits where possible to keep year groups apart
Defining ‘bubbles’ by year group
Enhanced cleaning regimes
Risk assessments for each school or academy
Councillor Kevin Guy, cabinet member for Children’s Services, said, “Local schools and academies have worked incredibly hard to prepare for the new term and adapt their sites to change how pupils move around them, to ensure that any risk of Covid-19 spreading between pupils is minimised when they return to school. This has not been a simple task. Every school site is unique and brings its own particular challenges.
“Parents should be able to see the risk assessments on their school’s website and schools will be communicating with parents directly about specific local arrangements for children attending. We would ask that parents support schools to help minimise the risk of infection spreading, by following their advice and guidance. We anticipate that all schools will be fully open in September, which is a massive achievement on their part.”
Parents who may have questions about their child’s particular school should in the first instance contact the school directly.
The council has supported schools with their risk assessments by providing information on how to reduce the risk of infection, ensuring schools are aware of how to manage any cases of COVID-19 and putting them in touch with services that support the mental health of staff and pupils.
Adequate bus provision for the start of the term has also been addressed by the council by working with First Bus, Faresaver, and the transport authority WECA to ensure there are enough bus spaces available.
All the latest NHS information and guidance on coronavirus can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/