As pupils prepare to return to school for the first time in five months, local councils across Courier Country have been implementing safety measures to ensure a smooth reopening.
Although each school will have their own plans best suited to the layout of the building, there are several key precautions which will be implemented across the board.
From hand washing to school transport, we took a look at how the school day will look when the new term gets underway.
Dundee City Council have published an FAQ document for parents and carers to update them on what safety measures they can expect to be put in place when schools reopen.
In it they outline that a risk assessment plan is in place for every school and nursery to ensure that there are appropriate safety measures.
It also details how breaks and lunch times could be staggered throughout the day for school-aged children.
Schools and nurseries will also ensure clear signage is visible around the building and will put in place one way systems where possible.
Individual schools are to make the decision about school uniform policy at local level. Head teachers will discuss this with their parent councils and the wider parent forum to agree the approach for their own community.
There will also be hand sanitisers available throughout the schools and increased hand washing procedures as well as supplies of wipes to clean work areas after use.
The school transport service is considered an “an extension of the school estate”, meaning that social distancing will not be required between young people on buses.
Children or young people must not travel on regular home-to-school transport if they, or a member of their household, have symptoms of coronavirus.
Increased cleaning regimes will be undertaken within schools and nurseries in the morning, lunchtime and evenings.
In addition to this, daytime cleaners will undertake duties to focus on areas such as toilets, dining, social areas, door handles and handrails etc.
When schools first reopen there will only be meal catering available at lunchtimes. A limited meals service will be provided, which will allow catering staff to use physical distancing measures within kitchens and the dining environment.
Initially, any young person requiring lunch will complete a snack order card, this provides a limited number of choices for the young person to select.
Each sheet requires completion of the child’s name and class to identify them. The child’s lunch will be provided within sealed containers in a snack bag.
The lunches will then be provided through a series of collection points across the school or directly to classrooms and playrooms, which vary dependent upon the year and school or nursery setting.
From Monday 17 August, all pupils in Angus will be back at school full-time.
Each school in the region will have its own unique plans for reopening but all of these will be underpinned by the same principles, which are as follows:
- Increased cleaning
- Increased hygiene for all pupils and staff
- Extra vigilance for the symptoms of Covid-19
- A personalised approach to young children and those with additional support needs
- All adults observing two-metre physical distancing as far as possible
- Working closely with public health and NHS colleagues to ensure rapid response to any suspected case
Speaking ahead of schools reopening, Kelly McIntosh, director of education and lifelong learning said: “I am sure that some parents, carers, children and young people will be anxious about returning to school.
“I would like to reassure everyone that our first priority will be making schools safe and welcoming places to be.”
Perth and Kinross
Children in Perth and Kinross will begin to return to schools from Wednesday, with all pupils who can return full-time doing so from August 17.
Staff in schools will not be required to wear PPE, even if they are not able to maintain the two-metre distance rule from others.
The use of PPE will however be required in a “very small set of circumstances” which includes if the care of children involves two members of staff who require to be in close contact for more than 15 minutes or where tasks already involve the use of protective equipment.
Pupils will also not be required to wear face coverings when they are at school or on school transport but can if they wish.
Handwashing will be encouraged on entry to the school building before and after any activity, such as meal times, break times and sporting activities.
If such facilities are not immediately accessible, then hand sanitisers will be made available.
Perth and Kinross Council is also encouraging pupils to walk, cycle and scoot to school, where possible.
Parents whose children are entitled to school transport will receive a letter and further guidance ahead of schools re-opening.
Schools across Fife will begin to welcome pupils back from the August 12.
There will be hand sanitiser made available for children and adults coming in and out of every school building and when moving from class to class.
Children will be encouraged and reminded to wash their hands frequently during the day and can bring their own hand sanitiser to school if they want.
Schools will have their own systems in place for the use of toilets to try to cut down on close contact and the spread of germs.
Children and adults do not have to wear masks in school or on school buses, but they can if they would prefer to.
“I am sure that some parents, carers, children and young people will be anxious about returning to school.”
Kelly McIntosh, director of education and lifelong learning, Angus Council
However, advice issued by Fife Council recommends that adults wear masks if they are going to be close to someone (within two-metres, face-to-face) for longer than 15 minutes.
Children will not have to physically distance from each other, but they should try to keep their distance from adults.
Pupils are expected to wear their school uniform as normal. PE and gym kit can also be brought to and from school as usual.
It is ok for children to bring their own pencil case to school, but they should not share anything in it with other children.
Hot and cold food will continue to be served in all schools across the region as normal, although individual schools may change their routine or timings slightly.
Packed lunches can be brought to school as normal but children shouldn’t share what’s in them with anyone else.
In secondary schools, pupils will be allowed to leave school at lunchtime to visit local shops but they will need to remember to wear a mask, and also be aware that queues may be much longer as shops might operate a one in, one out policy.
School buses will run as normal and pupils will not be required to wear face coverings.