Luton schools are 'ready to reopen' next week as final preparations get underway
Final preparations are underway as Luton schools get ready to welcome back all children next week.
All nursery and primary schools will reopen to all pupils on Monday, March 8.
Secondary schools will operate a flexible phased return to allow students to be tested for Covid-19. The government has requested that students should be tested three times over the first two weeks of returning to school.
Secondary school students have the option of taking a rapid (lateral flow) test at school or college which they self-administer under supervision before going to class.
Parents will need to provide consent before the test can be undertaken. Education bosses hope the testing will allow them to identify all secondary school pupils with Covid-19 who are asymptomatic, and thereby reduce transmission of the virus within school settings.
Pupils will also be encouraged to carry out testing twice a week at home.
Schools continue to have a wide range of measures in place to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection and to create a safe environment for children, including:
> Allocated pick up and drop off times;
> Increased cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and equipment;
> Frequent hand washing with soap and water and use of hand sanitiser;
> Encouraging good respiratory hygiene;
> Grouping pupils in ‘bubbles’ to minimise mixing;
> One-way systems and allocated areas of the school building for different bubbles.
Cllr Aslam Khan, portfolio holder for education, said: “I would like to thank all schools and colleges for all their hard work and efforts keeping schools open to support vulnerable children and key workers’ children which has played a major role in keeping essential services running.
"As well as assisting families and for delivering high standards of remote learning. I know it has been very challenging but the resilience of headteachers and their staff has been outstanding and should be applauded."
Public Health England advises that the current range of safety measures in place in schools are appropriate. However, staff and students in secondary schools and colleges are advised to wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained as a temporary extra measure.
Parents are warned they should not be sending children to school if they have coronavirus symptoms (persistent cough or high temperature or loss/change in sense of smell or taste).
Children should also be wearing a face coverings while travelling to and from school, and keep a safe distance from others, with no loitering at school gates.
All staff in early years settings, nurseries and primary schools have home testing kits to use twice a week before they leave home to come to work. Secondary school staff will receive these in the coming days in the meantime they can continue to undertake rapid tests on site at their school.
It is compulsory for school-age children to attend school from March 8. If you have any concerns regarding your child returning please discuss this with the school.
Schools will be contacting parents and carers directly to inform them of their return to school arrangements.
Cllr Khan added: “Parents and carers should also be praised for adhering to the guidance and where possible keeping children at home. I know that it may not have been easy especially if you’re having to balance home working too but any support you have been able to provide to your child’s education has been invaluable.
“I would also like to reassure parents that schools have carried out rigorous risk assessments and are now very well experienced in implementing effective procedures and systems to ensure the environment is as safe as possible for everyone and look forward to welcoming back children next week.”