Teachers and staff have been planning for reopening in August in a way that will keep pupils and staff safe. Your local authority, and their schools and nurseries, are aware of the risks of coronavirus. They will do all that they can to follow the latest guidance and to reopen in a way that is safe for your child.
Schools and nurseries have been planning for pupils to return to a ‘blended model’ of learning, spending some time in school or nursery, and some time learning at home. This is because if stricter rules around things like physical distancing are needed, there will not be space in schools and nurseries for all pupils to return full-time at once.
As part of planning for ‘blended learning’ schools and nurseries have done capacity assessments to see how many children and young people they can safely support in-person if they need to follow stricter health guidance on things like physical distancing. Each school and nursery will have different capacities, depending on things like how large their building is, and whether there are alternative spaces like assembly halls and outdoor areas that can be repurposed into new learning spaces. Some children with additional support needs may also need extra staffing, resources or space to benefit from a positive learning environment which should have been taken into account.
Schools and nurseries have also been carrying out risk assessments that look at lots of other factors to plan for reopening safely. For example, they have been thinking about how they can avoid a morning or end-of-day rush, to help them decide things like if they will need to stagger start and finish times or ask different children to use different entrances and exits. They will have been considering how pupils and staff can regularly wash their hands and follow other health guidance. They will also have been looking at how they can keep the learning environment clean, which may include removing some items that are more difficult to wipe down like soft furnishings.
The planning that has taken place for pupils returning to a blended model of learning is now the back-up plan. As Scotland has made good progress in suppressing the coronavirus, most pupils should be able to return to school full-time in August. Blended learning may still need to happen in some schools. For example, if your local area has a higher rate of people being infected with the coronavirus, your child’s school or nursery may need to take a more cautious approach to reopening.
However, if most pupils can return full-time in August they will not be expected to follow the current physical distancing rules of keeping 2 metres distance from their peers. It is likely there will still be some changes and adaptions needed to keep pupils and staff safe, but this will depend on the scientific advice and health guidance nearer the time. We will update our website as any new guidance or information comes to light.
Many schools and nurseries will still be working on their plans for reopening into the summer holidays. This means they may not yet have all the answers or be able to tell you exactly what nursery or school life is going to look like when they reopen. However, they should be keeping you up to date as best they can, and letting you know when they have more information about your child returning. It will be really important that schools, nurseries, parents and carers work together to make sure there is a clear understanding of what the new changes will look like for your child.