For the benefit of the majority who perhaps do not have primary aged kids in schools, I thought it would be worth sharing the very reassuring content of a letter sent to parents this week - via schools - from the County Council about the plans for reopening.
Obviously the first priority is to safeguard children, and it's important for everyone to be aware that it is not Government but each individual school that has the autonomy over how and when they open. So when your local Primary opens, which is not necessarily immediately on June 1st, it's because the Head and teachers in that school have agreed that they have a plan that is safe.
The letter from the Director of Children's Services says:
"I and my colleagues believe that the best people to reach a decision as to what all of this means to your child’s school and when your child is likely to return to school is not those, like me, working from County Hall, but those professionals who know your children, their staff and their school best i.e. your Headteachers. I have therefore asked them to undertake this assessment and reach a plan that is manageable, practicable and safe for your child, other children, their families and staff. Ultimately, this means that each school plan will be unique to that setting and may change over time. I have every confidence that they will do so, placing the wellbeing of your children at the very centre of the assessment and plan."
The letter also makes clear that the requirements will include classes limited to 15 pupils and staggered start and finish times, among other conditions, to ensure we minimise contact. If these things aren't possible and cannot be managed then the school doesn't have to open. Remember though that many if these schools have already been delivering much of this throughout, for children of key workers.
I'm sure it will be reassuring for parents to know that no school is being forced to open up if they don't think it's manageable - in some settings it won't be - but that ultimately your own school will be able to plan and deliver a safe environment and decide for themselves. Your school will reopen when the leadership and staff there are fully prepped and happy. This means you can rest assured that when it does open, that's because it's safe for your kids!