Tameside schools prepare for phased return

TAMESIDE’S schools are putting safety measures in place as they prepare to welcome back more pupils in a phased return from June 8.

Meetings have been held between Tameside Council, school leaders, health and safety advisers, Population Health and trade union officials to discuss timescales and protective measures to keep pupils, staff and the wider community as safe as possible.

The majority of schools in Tameside have remained open to care for vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers, including over the Easter holidays. This has ensured provision for those on the frontline in the battle against the Coronavirus.

Pupils from Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 are now due to begin gradually returning from June 8 in Tameside, following the end of the primary school two-week half term holidays. Opening times and measures put in place will be unique to each individual school so that they best suit their local circumstances and ensure a safe return of their pupils.

During this time, as schools ensure that risk assessments are robust, it may not be possible for every child to return to school as soon as families would wish. Schools are communicating with parents and carers to keep them informed of progress. Families with any questions or concerns around their child’s safe return should speak to their school.

The borough-wide approach is ensuring consistency in decision making, while giving flexibility for differing circumstances. This is in line with other local authorities in Greater Manchester.

Guidance provided by central government on cleaning and hygiene, social distancing and reducing contact, and other practical steps to reduce risks, will be used to shape schools’ individual approaches.

Tameside Council’s Director of Population Health, Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, has also written to schools giving guidance.

Attendance has already been increasing with more than 5,000 school attendances last week, including a rise in the attendance of vulnerable children. The phased approach will see it steadily rise further in a safe, measured and controlled manner.

Tameside Council Executive Leader Councillor Brenda Warrington said: “I’d like to thank our amazing schools and all their staff for everything they’ve done in looking after vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers during such difficult circumstances. This has allowed those on the frontline, including our wonderful NHS staff and essential workers, to continue their vital work knowing that their children are being well cared for.

“We have been working closely with schools and staff representatives to enable them to make decisions with the health, safety and welfare of pupils and staff at the forefront. We can now move forward collectively in a sensible way that’s as safe as possible and supports all schools in providing a consistent offer for children and families.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work, dedication and patience in getting us to this position where we can soon begin increasing the number of children who can return to school.”

For further information on the local response to coronavirus, local service changes and public health advice please visit www.tameside.gov.uk/coronavirus

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