All States-run schools will be open to all pupils from Monday 8 June, as plans change amid continuing good news about Guernsey's efforts to eliminate all trace of covid-19 locally.
The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture had said just last week that only primary schools would reopen next month, with pupils only attending lessons for two days a week, but it is has since decided that all States-run schools will re-open to all students for five days a week from Monday 8 June.
It's part of the Bailiwick's wider lockdown exit strategy which will see phase 4 start from next Saturday, 30 May.
Read more on that HERE.
Pictured: Guernsey's four States-run secondary schools will all reopen on 8 June, alongside the primaries. Plans for Alderney, Sark and Herm's schools have been made in conjunction with teaching staff there.
The reason for deciding to allow all States-run schools to reopen next month has been made following the latest advice from Public Health, based on the latest data available.
The ESC Committee met yesterday evening to review that advice and decided 'to move further and faster to allow all primary, secondary and special schools to open fully from Monday 8th June with appropriate measures in place to safeguard the health and wellbeing of students and staff' having previously taken the cautious step relating to primary schools only.
Pictured: College of FE Principal Louise Misselke will welcome students back from 1 June.
Next week will see all schools on their half term holiday, with States-run schools having the full week off. The following week, commencing Monday 1 June, will see the College of Further Education reopen fully, while distance learning will continue for most school and sixth form students while those sites are prepared for lessons to resume the week after.
Director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink, advised the Committee that the positive position of the island’s response to COVID-19 meant there was 'no longer any public health reason to prevent schools from opening to all students'.
Deputy Matt Fallaize, President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said: "This is good news for our schools, parents and students. We always said we wanted to get all students back into school as soon as it was safe to do so and that our decisions would continue to be guided by the latest public health advice from Dr Brink and her colleagues.
Pictured: Dr Brink has been leading the official advise during the pandemic.
"Yesterday Dr Brink wrote to me to confirm that the much improved public health position means there is no longer a reason to keep schools closed to most students. Therefore, we decided to accelerate students’ return to school. The earliest we can prepare schools to receive all students in a safe, organised way is Monday 8th June and so we decided to provide parents with as much notice as possible of that return date. There are measures to put in place in schools and at the College of FE to promote high standards of hygiene and we will be very diligent about this so that parents have confidence in allowing their children to get back to school."
Dr Brink has worked closely with Education staff to set out the public health measures that must be in place in schools to allow them to reopen fully.
Further information will be sent to parents and carers to ensure certain challenges, including around social distancing and hand hygiene can be met.
Pictured: ESC President, Deputy Matt Fallaize.
Deputy Fallaize hopes this will allay some fears about the return to lessons:
"We know some parents and students will have concerns and feel anxious about returning to school. Parents are of course welcome to talk to their child’s school if they wish to be reassured about safety and welfare. For the rest of this school term we have asked schools and the Education Office to take a considerate and supportive approach to managing attendance where parents would prefer to keep their children out of school. We do not encourage parents to keep their children out of school, but we also want to respect parents’ wishes at this difficult time and we do not want parents to feel forced to send their children into school if they have strong views about keeping them at home at the present time."
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