Since the government announced that it was their intention to recall pupils in YrR, Yr1 and Yr6 in June our headteachers and staff have been meticulously preparing towards that goal. All our primary-phase schools have completed risk assessments to show how they will manage the risks of bringing larger numbers of people together on their sites. We have also been revising and improving our home learning offer to support pupils who are unable to return to school at this point.
The Board of Trustees met on Tuesday 26 May to review the risk assessments and decide if any, or all, schools were in a position to open. The risk assessments offered very strong mitigation of the risks. For example, all schools will be implementing social distancing measures, will have increased cleaning provision and will have supplies of PPE on site. The risk assessments were approved and we are confident that when schools reopen every reasonable step will have been taken to safeguard the health of our pupils and staff. The Board express their thanks to headteachers, governors and staff for the significant amount of work that has taken place to put us in this overall strong position. The Trust has worked positively with representatives of the Education Unions in developing risk assessments and we acknowledge the part that they have played developing these documents and in building confidence as we implement so many changes. We shall continue to adapt and amend the risk assessments week by week to ensure that they continue to address the challenges that we are facing.
The Board also considered the local COVID-19 situation. They reviewed data from the Department of Health and Social Care showing daily COVID-19 rates in North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset. They also discussed the implications of the closure of Weston General Hospital and the outbreak of the virus there. Subsequent to their meeting they sought further advice from the Director of Public Health for North Somerset. The overall position shows that right now the pandemic is not declining at the same rate in North Somerset as in neighbouring areas; although that may be a consequence of a higher testing rate in this area.
Trustees have decided that they will defer the earliest opening date for schools until Monday 8 June 2020 so that they can better understand the situation. This is a cautious position based on local factors this week. The goal of opening to YrR, Yr1 and Yr6 at the earliest possible date remains.
Staff will be in school next week preparing for reopening, the Board will continue to consider overall safety in the Trust and the Chief Executive and Headteachers will be reviewing local readiness for reopening over the next few days. We will confirm our decisions about reopening from Monday 8 June by Thursday 4 June so that families and staff have time to prepare.
Friday 28 May 2020