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"Enhanced measures" at all nurseries, schools and colleges

Thursday 06 January 2022

"Enhanced measures" at all nurseries, schools and colleges

Thursday 06 January 2022


Students at all settings across the Bailiwick are starting a third calendar year of education under covid related restrictions and rules.

Since March 2020, when the first emergency measures were brought in, there have been numerous changes to ensure children, teenagers, adult learners and staff are protected.

The Committee for Education, Sport and Culture said the latest "package of measures" were developed in conjunction with Public Health officials, to "support the priority objective of keeping educational settings fully operational and therefore minimising any disruption to young people's education".

Each nursery and pre-school, school and college, and further education site has had to set its own individual measures to suit their circumstances. All of the differing measures have been based on guidance from ESC and Public Health.

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Pictured: The general guidelines issued by ESC apply to all educational settings.

All children over 12 months old need to do lateral flow tests for the first three mornings of this term that they are back in a childcare or educational facility. After that, all primary and secondary school pupils, older students and staff are asked to test on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Nursery and pre-school level children won't be mixed between age groups, while primary and early secondary year groups will be asked to stay within their classroom bubbles again. Older secondary school pupils, in year 10 and above, will stay in year group bubbles at most schools.

Extra curricular activites and clubs have been cancelled for now, while there will be no off island school trips and no mixing between schools for the first part of this term. 

Each school is introducing their own specific guidance, but some parents have complained, saying their schools were slow to release their own information in the days leading up to the new term starting, about basic necessities like wearing school uniform or PE kits and any changes to the school day times. 

One mum with two teenagers at St Sampson High School said they had been anxiously waiting for information in the final days of the holiday before the school's own guidance was released. The mum, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Express that she felt relieved to receive the information from her childrens' school and she feels happy sending them in under the current guidance now that she has been able to read it all and get them ready.

She said "it is starting to feel like this is normal and the way they went to school before covid doesn't exist anymore. 

"We're just hoping school exams aren't affected when my eldest comes to do theirs and that my youngest is able to do some off island school trips at some point as they're so important to education too."

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Pictured: St Sampson's High School issued its latest covid guidance yesterday, with one mum telling Express it was clear and set her mind at ease ahead of the new term. One of the measures introduced at St Sampson's High include different entrance and exits for different year groups. The school has shared all of the information on its Facebook page HERE

St Sampson's High and other secondary and primary schools have also had to cancel arrangements with other organisations which hire their sports halls or other facilities.

Guernsey Basketball and Guernsey Mountaineering Club are two affected.

Other sports groups have been able to swap back to using Beau Sejour, including Guernsey Swimming Club, but they've warned parents and carers that may change at short notice depending on how many staff and pupils are affected by contracting covid this term.

The number of known active cases of Covid-19 has gone over two thousand already this year - setting new records for case numbers in Guernsey compared to the relatively low numbers of the last two years. With the omicron wave appearing to be spreading quickly through the islands it is expected that more cases will follow. 

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Pictured: Nick Hynes, the Director of Education, pictured speaking at a recent Covid press briefing. 

Current rules state that anyone testing negative on day 6 and 7 are able to enter into passive surveillance. For students that means they can return to school, so long as they are symptom free. 

ESC says that only includes attending core educational provision, and not any activities outside of school until they've reached day 10. Staff can also return to work in a school setting after day 7, while in passive surveillance, provided a risk assessment has been undertaken and appropriate mitigations are in place, such as wearing a face mask.

The Director of Education, Nick Hynes said all of these measures will be continually monitored to ensure every childcare and school facility is able to remain open throughout this stage of the pandemic.

"Towards the end of last term we tried to be upfront with the community and staff that things would look different in January. We need everyone involved in the delivery of education, which includes parents and carers as well as staff, to support us by adapting to what is likely to be a new norm - for the time-being at least - of managing disruption as a result of absences while maintaining our absolute focus of keeping settings open and delivering education.

"This package of measures is designed to help us achieve that as much as possible. There will be disruption, it is unavoidable, but by introducing further measures specific to education we are trying to minimise that disruption, slow or halt the spread wherever we can so that our young people can maintain their studies. That is our priority while the island as a whole manages the implications of this Omicron wave."

Pictured top: All primary and secondary school pupils are expected to wear masks when they return to school today.

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