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All Children Allowed Back To School From Next Week

All primary and secondary school children can start going back to school in a staggered way from Monday 22 June.

For primary school, specified year groups will attend on specified days - with the order and frequency of children decided by individual schools and communicated to parents and carers.

The aim is to have all primary school children back full-time by the end of June.

The government says because of the different physical distancing guidelines of one metre for secondary schools, secondary students will need to return in smaller than class size groups.

It's recommended that students in transition be the first to go back - e.g. Years 9 to 10 and Years 11 to 12. Each school's headteacher will make the final decision on the order and frequency of return based on staff availability, physical set up and local priorities.

The decision was made following medical advice from STAC (Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee), who say that the two-metre physical distancing and the 20-person limit is no longer required and that all students should return to the classroom as soon as is practical.

The committee has also recommended that 'bubbles' can increase to full primary class sizes and primary school children don't need to physically distance because children are not super-spreaders, so the risk of transmission is low.

Secondary school students still have to observe one-metre distancing.

Private nurseries, nannies and childminders can also resume offering their services in line with current advice and updated public health guidance for schools and nurseries.

"I am delighted to announce that all remaining groups of pupils and students will start to return to our schools and colleges from next week. Headteachers and Principals will have the discretion to decide the exact arrangements for their return and will communicate the details to parents and carers.

"I would like to thank all of our school and college leaders, teachers, school support staff, nurseries, nannies, childminders, parents, carers and students for their patience, while we have continued our extensive and productive discussions with medical experts, headteachers and trades union representatives over the last two weeks.

"The clear and welcome message from STAC is that children, education and wider wellbeing must come first and that an extended absence from school will only lead to negative effects on mental health of both children and parents.

"Indeed, the evidence continues to grow that the harm in not returning to school outweighs the evidence of risk to harm of Covid-19 by returning to school.

"This has been an extremely complex piece of work and I would like to thank all of my officials across the Department who have been working diligently behind the scenes.

"I am extremely grateful to our headteachers, teachers and trades unions for their understanding and commitment to putting children first. I am also respectful of the commitment and expertise of our schools leaders and recognise that this should drive the detailed arrangements for this next phase of the return because the different environments of our schools and colleges are best understood by those who work in them regularly. I have listened to them carefully, along with the trades unions and my officials, and have taken their advice to stagger the returns to schools, from 22 June through to 30 June, to allow schools, parents and students to prepare for all children to return to school.

"I have asked headteachers and principals to communicate their plans directly to parents, carers , pupils and students as they know their schools best and I accept that each school will be different in how it manages this return. I realise that some schools may have to do things differently and stagger the return on different dates, particularly secondary schools where they have more students moving around classrooms.

"I expect all primary school children to be back in school full-time by the end of June, and all secondary school students to have meaningful time in school prior to the start of the summer break." - Senator Tracey Vallois, Education Minister.

Years 6, 10, and 12 went back to school on Monday 8 June for the first time in 11 weeks.

Schools in Jersey shut on Friday 20 March to limit the spread of coronavirus.

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