The long summer holiday is over, with some parents no doubt happy to send their children back to school. Although some secondary school pupils have been lucky enough to get some time in the classroom, it has been a different scenario for the primary pupils. Aside from keyworker and vulnerable children, primary-aged school kids haven’t seen the inside of a classroom since schools abruptly closed way back in March.
New normal during the Coronavirus pandemic – Pupils face a whole new world as they go back to school, a difficult prospect for the younger pupils and those with special needs. Social bubbles are the new normal. School desks will be a larger distance apart and some may even have screens. Hand washing will be high on the agenda.
Fines for non-attendance – The government has announced that the usual fines will be in place for pupils not attending school, something that was suspended for the duration of the pandemic lockdown. But for some parents, especially those who have been shielding, sending their children back to school is a scary prospect.
Separated school desks, hand washing, what else? – So, what has the government proposed to help alleviate the genuine fears of parents? Children will certainly find it difficult to keep their distance from their friends.
• Although pupils are not being asked to wear masks in classrooms, regular hand washing is expected and appears to be one of the best ways to stop virus transmission.
• If your child develops the primary symptoms of the Coronavirus they must stay away from school and self-isolate at home with their family.
• Schools will be provided with virus testing kits for parents to test their child for Covid-19.
• Normal events where pupils congregate together are postponed for the time being.
The Department of Education is keen to outline these measures for schools and has stressed that there is a balance of risk. Now that the UK has made significant progress with controlling the virus, the risk of catching Corona has been minimised. The risk of missing out on an education, especially for the disadvantaged pupils, is now seen as the bigger risk.
The right school desk layout in a classroom is one small step that schools can take to reassure parents that school is now safe.