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All pupils to return to States schools from 8 June

News | Published:

ALL States-run schools will reopen to all pupils from 8 June.

ESC president Matt Fallaize. (28297017)

Initially it had been planned that only some primary pupils would be returning to school in two weeks time, and then only on a part-time basis.

But now Education, Sport & Culture has confirmed that instead all students would be returning to school for lessons five days a week from 8 June.

ESC has said it was not encouraging parents to keep children off school, but said the staff would be taking a considerate approach to managing attendance, if parents had concerns about their children going to school.

The College of Further Education, which is part of The Guernsey Institute, will also open to students from 1 June.

The move aligns with the move to phase four on 30 May, which was announced this afternoon.

Director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink, said that the island's positive position meant there was no longer any public health reason to prevent schools from opening to all students.

ESC president Matt Fallaize said they had always wanted to get students back to school as soon as safely possible and, now they had been given support by Dr Brink, staff would be accelerating the pupils return to school.

'The earliest we can prepare schools to receive all students in a safe, organised way is Monday 8 June and so we decided to provide parents with as much notice as possible of that return date,' he said.

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'There are measures to put in place in schools and at the College of FE to promote high standards of hygiene and we will be very diligent about this so that parents have confidence in allowing their children to get back to school.'

Social distancing will have to be maintained wherever possible as part of a package of measures, which will protect students and staff. Other measures include regular hand washing, encouraging students to maintain high standards of personal hygiene, rigorously cleaning desks and surfaces, students not working in small groups and not sharing equipment and taking teaching outside, where this is possible. Public Health has advised ESC that this will make environment as safe as possible under the current circumstances.

A guidance document for parents and carers will be published next week and sent to them directly by their child’s school on Monday 1 June.

Next week students and staff will be on half term. The following week – commencing Monday 1 June – distance learning will continue while schools remain closed, except to vulnerable students and children of essential workers.

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'We know some parents and students will have concerns and feel anxious about returning to school,' Deputy Fallaize said.

'Parents are of course welcome to talk to their child’s school if they wish to be reassured about safety and welfare. For the

rest of this school term we have asked schools and the Education Office to take a considerate and supportive approach to managing attendance where parents would prefer to keep their children out of school. We do not encourage parents to keep their children out of school, but we also want to respect parents’ wishes at this difficult time and we do not want parents to feel forced to send their children into school if they have strong views about keeping them at home at the present time.’

In the early years sector, nurseries and preschools will be able to welcome all their children back from 1 June, as long as they have submitted plans to the States Early Years Team and received approval for them.

The latest public health advice also allows childminders to welcome all their families back and reopen if they have been closed – or to extend their offer to their other families if they have remained open only for children of essential workers or vulnerable children.

Any parents with questions can call the Education helpline number on 733017, or the main Education Office number on 733000.

Any early years provider with questions is asked to contact the States Early Years Team on 268313.

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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