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A safe return to school
Schools and educational settings across Gateshead are re-opening from Monday 8 March 2021.
All schools have completed a COVID-19 specific risk assessment to help keep our children, school staff and their families as safe as possible.
Safety measures that are being introduced
Schools are developing their own plans for reopening so the safety measures being introduced will be specific to each school's circumstances. Safety measures will include:
schools are offering routine testing to try and identify teachers and pupils in year 7 and above who do not have symptoms, but are infectious with Covid-19
all children will be taught and socialise in bubbles/class/year groups of an appropriate size and social distancing where possible
lunch arrangements will also follow these rules
cleaning of the premises including toilets and classrooms will happen very regularly throughout the school day
hand washing and sanitising will begin at the school entrance and continue throughout the school at regular intervals - staff will encourage good hygiene at every opportunity
classrooms will be kept well ventilated
all children will be supplied with their own pencils, books and so on which will stay in school and will not be shared with others
reading books will be quarantined between use by children
most schools will have staggered drop off and pick up times and different entrances for different bubbles/classes/year groups to ensure social distancing
most schools will not allow children to change for PE
schools will ensure face coverings are used in recommended circumstances
wrap round care will still be delivered in bubbles/class groups wherever possible
a strict visitor policy will be in place to minimise the number of visitors to a school and all visitors will follow the safety measures in place whilst on site
Getting to and from school
When dropping off/arriving at school the 2m social distance must be maintained and the school's arrangements for drop off and collection must be followed.
Families are encouraged to use active travel (cycling/walking) to get to school whenever possible.
If using a car to get to school it's important to avoid car sharing with anyone outside your household.
Families are being encouraged to avoid using public transport to get to and from school whenever possible. If public transport is needed please follow the latest public transport guidance and wear a face covering.
If a child or staff member shows symptoms of COVID-19 while at school
Any children showing symptoms will be:
isolated immediately and looked after by a member of staff (personal protective equipment will be worn by staff caring for the pupil while they await collection if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained)
a parent/carer will be contacted immediately so arrangements can be made for the child to be collected
they will then be sent home as soon as possible and you will need to arrange to have them tested
any staff member will be sent home and will be advised to arrange to be tested
If there is a positive case of COVID-19 in your school:
Someone from the Gateshead Council Public Health Team will contact the school headteacher and carry out a risk assessment to identify who has been in close contact with the positive case during the infectious period. They will then advise the Headteacher of anyone in their school who needs to self-isolate and a letter will be sent to parents/carers telling them their child needs to self-isolate.
The Council's Public Health Team will continue to monitor any suspected or confirmed cases that are reported by schools to them or the NE Health Protection Team to ensure that we are able to respond and offer appropriate support and advice to schools.
If the test results are negative
If the test result is negative and your child feels well and no longer has symptoms similar to coronavirus (COVID-19), they can stop self-isolating. They could still have another virus, such as a cold or flu - in which case it is still best to avoid contact with other people until they are better. Other household members can also stop self-isolating as long as they have not developed symptoms of COVID-19 and are well.
What you should do if your child or someone in our household develops symptoms
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
A high temperature
A new and continuous cough (coughing a lot for more than an hour or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours)
A loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste and smell
If your child or anyone in your household develops symptoms of COVID-19:
The whole household should isolate immediately and arrange a test for anyone with symptoms by calling 119 or going to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Your child should not attend school and you should inform the school of who is affected (child or household member).
If the test result for your child is positive inform the school immediately. Your child must continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days from when their symptoms started, with this day being Day 0. They can return to school at the end of the 10 day isolation period, only if they do not have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste. If they still have a high temperature, they should keep self-isolating until their temperature returns to normal. However, they could have another virus such as cold or flu in which case it's still best to avoid contact with other people until they are better.
The rest of your household should self- isolate for 10 days from when your child's symptoms started, with that day being Day 0.
If a member of your household has symptoms and tests positive your child must self-isolate for 10 days from the day the household members symptoms started. They will not be able to attend school until the end of the 10 days and should only return to school if they are / have remained well and do not have a temperature.
What you can do to help if your child is worried about going back to school
Some of our children have not been in school for a long time and we understand they may feel worried about going back to school. All of our schools are working hard to keep our children safe and we are doing everything we can to support them. We hope that the new measures being introduced will help reassure our families.
We have also developed a recovery curriculum which will help schools to support the mental wellbeing of our children and young people whilst also delivering the national curriculum.
Here are some things you can do to help prepare your child for their return to school:
Talk to your child about how they are feeling about going back
Give them as much information as you can about what they should expect when they go back
Talk to your school if you have concerns about your child attending
If you have any concerns about your child returning to school or the safety measures that are being implemented contact your school direct or you can email us at email@example.com