Last week our Trustees decided to defer the earliest opening date for schools until Monday 8 June so that they might better understand the COVID-19 situation in North Somerset. They stated that the goal of wider opening to YrR, Yr1 and Yr6 at the earliest possible date remained.
On Thursday 4 June North Somerset Council received Public Health England’s in-depth report into the outbreak at Weston-super-Mare and published their guidance stating that ‘there is no current evidence of increased risk in the local population connected to the coronavirus outbreak at Weston General Hospital.’ Their full statement is available here.
I can therefore confirm that, acting on this guidance, we will plan to open our primary-phase schools more widely from Monday 8 June. Our Bath and North East Somerset schools readied themselves this week and will also be reopening on Monday 8 June.
Our schools have planned meticulously for this wider re-opening and have thorough risk assessments in place. Staff were in schools this week familiarising themselves with the new procedures. I am grateful to my colleagues for the work they have done to be ready to welcome back more pupils and I know that they will do everything possible to make school a positive and warm environment despite the social distancing measures that need to take place.
Schools are now being asked to deliver a number of complex projects simultaneously in a context where they cannot deploy all their staff and must work in small group sizes. To put it simply, we face running out of either staff or space. It is therefore both possible and likely that we may not be able to deliver every element of the government’s requests for wider opening in every location. Before we curtail the offer we will obviously attempt to share capacity between schools. I do ask that families bear with us while we fine-tune our provision to meet demand that is changing and increasing every day.
All our schools are now beginning, or just about to begin, using Microsoft Teams to deliver virtual learning and activities to groups and classes of children. We have updated our safeguarding policies and are completing staff training in coming days. This offer will be prioritised to pupils in Years 2-5 in primary and Years 10 and 12 in secondaries. Over time this offer will build and develop further.
5 June 2020