Schools in Nottingham have been praised their efforts to get pupils back safely for the new academic year.
Pupils at schools in Nottingham City return from today (1 Sept) – the first time all year groups have been back since lockdown began on 23 March 2020.
Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, schools have remained open to the children of key workers and to those children with additional needs. Select year groups returned for the final weeks of the summer term in June and July.
Nottingham City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, has praised the way schools, parents, and children and young people have worked together to ensure pupils can return this week.
He said: “These have been unprecedented times, but I am pleased that we can start to return to some form of normality for our children and young people.
“Schools have worked hard to ensure new arrangements are in place to keep our pupils as safe as they can be – I’m proud of the way they have responded to this challenge.
“We are confident that our schools have undertaken considerable work to ensure that everything is safe, including risk assessments, good sanitation, hand-washing, social distancing and learning ‘bubbles’ – all tailored to their individual requirements.
“However, it’s important to remember that Covid-19 is still present in our communities and so we must continue to take all precautions to keep each other safe.”
All schools will comply with essential measures, which include:
- a requirement that children and adults who are ill stay at home
- effective hand and respiratory hygiene
- enhanced cleaning arrangements
- active engagement with NHS Test and Trace
- measures to reduce contact and maximise social distancing between those in school wherever possible, minimising potential for contamination.
The exact measures will vary from school to school, and will to some extent depend on the layout of buildings.
Schools have plans in place to offer education to pupils remotely if necessary, if they need to self-isolate. Parents should speak to their schools if they have concerns about the plans they have in place.
In addition, Nottingham City has created a dedicated phoneline for parents or young people who might be feeling anxious about returning to school after the long absence.
The #NottinghamYou’veBeenMissed helpline is a partnership between CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service), Mental Health Support Teams (MHST) and the Educational Psychology Service in Nottingham City. Call 0115 87 64700.
Cllr Mellen added: “It is important that we take precautions within schools – but being safe also includes the way we travel to and from school – especially where public transport is used. It is also important to maintain social distance between parents at school drop-off and collection times.
“There are many ways pupils can travel to school. Anyone who lives within two miles of their school should consider walking, cycling or scooting, if they can. This will help to reduce pressure on buses and trams.
“Those who do need to drive might consider parking a short distance away from the building and walking the rest of the way if possible, to reduce congestion and improve safety outside schools.”
Public transport operators have put in place a number of measures for passenger safety, including extra cleaning and markings to help social distance.
More information, advice and links to local transport operators can be found at www.transportnottingham.com/backtoschool
More information about returning to schools can be found on the City Council website: https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/information-for-residents/education-and-schools/coronavirus-information-about-schools-in-nottingham-city/
More information about #NottinghamYou’veBeenMissed can be found at https://www.asklion.co.uk/kb5/nottingham/directory/advice.page?id=tJqH1UfDQDE