AFTER months when hard pressed parents have juggled work and supported their children with learning at home, schools are opening their doors and urging parents to have the confidence to send all children back to school in September.
Supported by East Sussex County Council, schools across the county have been working hard to put in place a raft of measures to help ensure children and staff stay as safe as possible when they return next month.
A redesigned curriculum, revised timetables, hand sanitiser stations, reorganisation of school furniture, increased cleaning and safety markings inside and outside school buildings are all measures being adopted by primary and secondary schools.
With 88 per cent of parents who responded to a recent residents’ survey saying they would be confident in sending their children back to school, the county council wants to make sure all families feel reassured by the preparations.
Cllr Standley, lead member for education and inclusion, special educational needs and disabilities (ISEND) said: “I appreciate parents and carers’ concerns about their children returning to school in September, but they can be confident that every step is being taken to keep pupils and staff as safe as possible.
“While teachers have done a fantastic job of providing home learning throughout lockdown, the impact of this crisis on the learning and wellbeing of all pupils is profound, and it is crucial that children can return for the new academic year and get back on track with their learning.”
With every school facing different challenges due to the size and set up of their sites, the county council has been in regular contact with headteachers and senior leaders sharing the latest Government guidance and offering support for recovery planning and risk assessments.
Dr Rachel Atkinson, Consultant Community Paediatrician and designated medical officer with East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said she has been reassured by the results of research into how COVID-19 affects children.
She said: “Research shows that children are very much less affected by the COVID-19, very unlikely indeed to become seriously unwell if they do carry the virus, and even those with very complex health needs have NOT appeared to have been affected to a significantly greater extent than is usual with other viruses.
“At the current time the evidence is also showing that children are also not super-spreaders. Quite the opposite, it seems that the role children play in passing on the virus is limited.”
Dr Atkinson added: “Although there is still much research to do, this is good news for children being back in school, and for feeling sure that schools are safe places for them to be.”
With many young people feeling anxious about the current situation and returning to school, advice to parents can be found at https://sussexcamhs.nhs.uk/help-support/young-people/coronavirus-help-support-and-advice/
For young people aged between 14 and 21, support and advice can be found at www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk/irock