Schools in Wolverhampton are preparing to welcome all children back from next week – with some pupils able to attend class for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March.
It is mandatory for school age children across England to return to school from September and the City of Wolverhampton Council has been working closely with educational settings to help them prepare for their return.
Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “Pupils aged between four and 18 will begin to return to nurseries, schools and colleges from next week, many for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic – and we’re very clear that it’s in their best interests to do so, both for their educational and their psychological wellbeing.
“Lockdown has not been good news for our children and young people, particularly for those from a more deprived background; their educational attainment will have been affected by being away for school for so long.
“The vast majority of parents and children know that it’s now time to get back to school, and the key is to do this in a safe and healthy manner. It’s really important that everyone works together to ensure this happens.
“As a council, we’ve been helping schools prepare for their reopening by following the very latest health and safety guidelines and ensuring all possible measures are in place to safeguard both pupils and staff.
“Reassuringly, we had no outbreaks of Covid-19 in education settings during the summer term. There were a few isolated cases involving pupils across the city, but there is no evidence that these were as a result of transmission within school.
“Nevertheless it is important that every precaution is taken to make our schools as safe and Covid-secure as they can possibly be.
“As a result, things will look very different. Start and finish times may vary, there’ll be enhanced cleaning and handwashing regimes in place, children will form bubbles with classmates which they will stay in throughout the school day and face coverings may also be necessary in secondary schools.
“Individual schools will be able to tell families what measures they have put in place and I’d urge parents and carers to talk to their children about what they can expect from next week – and what is expected of them.”
Councillor Hardacre and the council’s Director of Children’s Services Emma Bennett have written a joint letter to all parents about the return to the education which is being distributed via schools. It can also be read here: https://bit.ly/3hAZwNm.
Parents and carers can also get more information from the national Back to School campaign at www.gov.uk/backtoschool and keep up to date with any changes to public transport at www.wmnetwork.co.uk/schooltravel.
If a child or someone they live with develops symptoms of coronavirus – a fever, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to their sense of taste or smell – they will need to self-isolate in line with Government guidelines and book a Covid-19 test by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119. No-one in the family should attend school.
Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will be asked to share information about people that have been close contacts recently.
The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.
The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/stay-safe-be-kind.