Coronavirus: Schools remain closed until 31 May
SCHOOLS, colleges and early years providers will remain closed during this coming half term to all except vulnerable students and children of essential workers.
These arrangements have been in place since 23 March and the director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink decided yesterday that they should remain until the end of this half term - 31 May 2020.
However, the decision will be kept under review and education providers could open earlier if supported by evidence.
Formal education should resume next week following this recent period of extended Easter holiday.
Education staff have been working to prepare for these circumstances and all schools will now implement plans for distance learning that have been developed.
A guidance document will be sent to all parents via their child's school this afternoon to offer advice and information about how distance learning will work.
Parents are reassured that there is no expectation that they take on the role of teacher during this period, as schools will ensure parents and students are supported.
Chairman of the Civil Contingencies Authority Deputy Gavin St Pier said the closure of schools to the majority of students has played a key role in supporting the island's efforts to reduce the amount of community seeding.
He paid tribute to the efforts of parents, many of whom are going through particularly challenging times as they balance their children being at home with having to continue to work, while also being understandably anxious about keeping their family safe.
Dr Brink said it is really important that we do not make any decisions now that could result in losing the gains that have been made in the last four weeks.
'Closing schools, colleges and early years providers [pre-schools, nurseries and childminders] for all but those who are the children of essential workers and vulnerable students has been a key part of our response to this pandemic and has no doubt helped slow the transmission of Covid-19 within the community.'
She said the decision to extend until the end of this coming half term will help maintain the momentum we have built up.
Education, Sport & Culture president Deputy Matt Fallaize said distance learning does not seek to replicate a normal school day.
'However, all children have a right to education and distance learning has been designed to provide some structure and opportunities for purposeful learning,' he said.
Recognising that most parents are not teachers, he said that he does not expect them to assume this role and the learning that schools will send has been specifically designed to help students work as independently as possible.
'It is really important to us that parents feel supported - we have produced a guidance document explaining how distance learning will work and this will be sent to all parents today.
'If any parent has concerns or questions not answered by that document, I would encourage them to speak to their child's school.'