North Yorkshire schools prepare to open their doors to pupils

Schools in North Yorkshire will be fully open to all pupils and home-to-school transport will be back in operation from the start of the Autumn term.

Desks for school students

Over the summer holidays, schools have been working on measures which will allow them to fully reopen to pupils of all ages from the week beginning Monday, September 7.

They have planned individually how they will arrange children in bubbles to minimise contact, using risk assessment templates which have been developed by the County Council in conjunction with headteachers and the unions.

Teaching bubbles, which involve pupils spending the day with the same group of people within school, are just some of the bespoke measures which will be employed by individual schools depending on their site, student population and other factors.

Following the Government announcement on the use of face coverings in schools last night, the County Council is waiting for detailed guidance from the Department for Education before issuing any advice to schools on the use of face masks.

Additional hygiene and safety measures will also be in place on school transport. North Yorkshire County Council has prepared guidance for families, transport providers and schools to support the safe return to school transport.

The home to school transport network will be operating in the same way as it did previously and pick-up and drop-off times will largely remain the same.

Students who rely on public transport to reach school will need to observe the government guidelines in relation to the wearing of face coverings and the 1m social distancing rules.

Where ever possible, parents and pupils are being asked to think about alternative, sustainable ways of getting to school by walking, cycling or scooting, to reduce the number of people using public transport.

Commuters are also asked to think about continuing to work from home or think about alternatives to public transport to limit the numbers of people returning to the bus and train network from the start of the school term.

Stuart Carlton, Corporate Director of Children and Young People’s Services said: “We are looking forward to welcoming pupils back to the classroom after the months of uncertainty and upheaval brought about by the pandemic. Although there will be slight changes to the traditional school day, teaching staff are focused on bringing about a safe return to education for young people as quickly as possible.

“All schools within North Yorkshire, whether local authority maintained schools, or academies, have been provided with a named education adviser throughout the COVID crisis as a key point of contact and to support schools with any individual concerns over the safe opening of schools and nurseries.

“Schools will have made additional arrangements to minimise risk, and will communicate plans to parents and carers so that they are informed. These will include using strategies such as one-way systems, minimising movement around the school buildings and providing additional hygiene measures.

“This may include adjustments to lesson and break timings during the day and lunchtime arrangements, and changes to start and finish times to minimise congestion around the school.”

Cllr Patrick Mulligan, executive member for education and skills said: “We want to reassure parents, carers and children that schools, colleges, nurseries and child minders have all put a range of protective measures in place to reduce the risks and make sure they provide a safe and welcoming environment for learning when pupils return in September.

“There is an overwhelming need for children and young people to return to school now, not just so they can catch up with their missed studies and go on and fulfil their academic potential in the future, but also for their mental health, their wellbeing and their wider development.”

This story was published 26 August 2020