When all States schools were allowed to reopen on Monday, a week previous to the day of reckoning, all of the Education team’s staff, such as teachers and headteachers, went to work looking at how to redesign their respective schools to welcome those who attend back safely and in line with Public Health guidance.
One of these was La Mare’s headteacher Vicky Godley, who said that although it had been a lot of hard work in the making she was delighted to see pupils and staff return.
‘There’s been a lot to do to get us ready to open,’ she said.
‘We’ve had to look at 128 different areas and aspects of school life that has had to change before we could and it has been busy.
‘Monday was at first strange, but by Tuesday everyone had settled into the new routines.’
These new routines include class sizes, which have been limited to 22, and with some of the classes exceeding this they have had to be split into manageable sizes that can enable the classrooms to be laid out the right way to ensure social distancing.
‘For those classes we’ve had the teacher in one room while also being videoed into another to the other half of the class,’ Mrs Godley said.
‘Then within those classes that don’t have a teacher but are watching on via video they have a learning mentor or supervisor with them.’
She added there were also some adaptations which they
have prepared for given the weather.
‘We don’t have as much outdoor space as, say, Les Beaucamps, and we have the primary school next door too to think about, so during this wet weather we’ve had to think of other areas that pupils can go and be children in.
‘We’ve looked at various landing spaces and quiet areas, but fingers crossed so far it’s been pretty dry when lunch and breaks have come around for the year group bubbles.
‘We’ve definitely been keeping an eye on the weather forecast though.’
While the reopening of schools has been a success in Guernsey it has been less so in the UK, as primary school return plans for this term were ditched on Tuesday and further, secondary students are not expected to resume until September at the earliest.
Mrs Godley said it was testament to the size of Guernsey that ensured the safe reopening here.
‘The Education department is a smaller entity, so it has been easier to manage,’ she said.
‘Whereas in the UK there are free schools, academies, trusts, federations, local authority schools there are so many and they do not all follow the same parameters.
‘Here in Guernsey it’s mainly a single approach, we’ve prepared and through the hard work of staff, students and parents we’ve been supported well.’