As schools prepare to return in September, we’ve put together a list of answers to common questions. Please contact your child’s school if you have specific questions about their arrangements.
Frequently asked questions
When do schools go back?
Your child’s school will inform you of the exact day of return – please check their website if you are unsure.
Are all year groups and all pupils required to go back to school in September?
Yes, all pupils and year groups are expected to return and we are not aware of any that are not reopening full-time.
What should I do if my child doesn’t want to go into school?
Talk the situation through with your child’s school in the first instance and they will be able to provide advice and guidance.
What will happen if I don’t send my child or children back?
Full-time school attendance is compulsory for all children from the start of term in September.
If you have concerns about your child returning to school or college, because you consider they may have other risk factors, you should discuss them with your school.
I am worried about my child being behind in class
All children will be in the same position as their classmates and their teachers will be able to support them. If you are worried please speak to the school.
Will the full re-opening of schools increase the spread of COVID-19?
We appreciate that you and your child may be anxious about a return to lessons, but would like to reassure you that all practical steps are being taken to make sure children are safe. Schools have been working extremely hard, both before the end of term and during the summer holidays, to make sure that the learning environment is as safe as it possibly can be when lessons resume.
An exhaustive risk assessment has been carried out by every school, covering as many scenarios as possible. We have asked that all schools make these risk assessments available on their school website.
All schools will be reducing the number of contacts between children and staff during the day. How schools achieve this will differ but is likely to include creating groups (‘bubbles’) and maintaining distance between pupils where possible. In addition to, ensuring more frequent handwashing, additional cleaning and sanitising duties.
Schools have liaised closely with our colleagues in Public Health to put in place systems and measures to contain the spread of coronavirus if a positive case is identified. We will continue to follow the advice of our Public Health officials.
We would ask for your ongoing co-operation in relation to encouraging your family to practise regular hand washing, social distancing, use of face coverings when appropriate, and limit mixing of households to help minimise the risk of bringing the virus in to school. It is clear that keeping the rate of transmission low in the local community will keep schools as safe as possible.
Someone in our household has COVID-19 symptoms – what should we do?
COVID-19 symptoms include a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss or change of taste or smell. If your child or anyone in their household becomes symptomatic it is essential you isolate immediately, get tested and inform the school, so they can take necessary steps. Do not send your child to school.
What will happen if another child in the same class tests positive for COVID-19?
If your child has been in close contact during the previous 48 hours with the child who has tested positive, you will either be informed by your child’s school that your child must stay at home (self-isolate) for 14 days, or you will be contacted by someone from the NHS Test and Trace service who will talk you through any actions you need to take.
What will happen if there are COVID-19 cases at my child’s school?
If a school have a confirmed COVID-19 case among pupils or staff or if they see an increase in pupil or staff absence due to suspected COVID-19, they will contact the local health protection team. This team will advise the school if additional action is needed, but it is unlikely that the whole school will need to be closed.
My child uses dedicated school transport to get to school. Will this be safe?
Schools are working with Merseytravel and transport operators and providers to put in place safety measures on dedicated school transport to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. Your child’s school will communicate these arrangements to you before the beginning of the autumn term.
My child uses public transport to get to school. Will this be safe?
Where possible, children and young people are being encouraged to walk or cycle to school. This remains the safest way to get to school. It may also be possible for some families to drive their children to and from school in their own cars, but we would ask you to park safely with consideration for the school community and local residents.
Where it is not possible for your child to use any of these ways to travel to school, many schools will have staggered their start and finish times so that the build-up of pupils on public transport during peak times can be reduced. Your child’s school will let you know of any relevant changes.
Buses and trains are running and it’s really important to plan how your child/children is going to get to and from school. You can visit the Re Think Travel campaign on the Merseytravel website for more information and key advice about using public transport.
Face coverings are required at all times on public transport except for children aged 11 or under. All schools will also have a process for removing face coverings when pupils and staff who use them arrive at school.
Please remember to follow this advice which is there to help keep everyone safe: • Remember that children aged 11 and over must wear a face covering* • Plan ahead and check timetables • Leave more time for your journey in case services are busy • Pay by contactless or buy pre-paid tickets if you can – young people’s bus Solo and Term Time Tickets are now available on MetroSmart cards • If paying by cash, try to have the exact fare as drivers are not giving change• Be mindful of social distancing • Allow passengers to get off before boarding • Some seats on the bus are not in use, please respect this. They will be clearly marked out. • Try to travel with the same group of friends each day and where possible sit in the same seats. • Be respectful to other passengers and staff • Do not travel if you have any symptoms of Covid-19, or family members are showing symptoms *A list of exemptions from face coverings can be found here
Should children wear face coverings in school?
Face coverings should not be used in primary schools. In secondaries, schools will follow national guidelines and may require children to use face coverings in communal spaces such as corridors where where social distancing is not possible. This is secondary school / over 11s only, not primary school. It is important they are used correctly because misuse may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission.
If your child has arrived in the UK from travelling abroad, they will need to self-isolate for the first 14 days you’re in the UK unless the country is deemed exempt – please take the time to check: exempt countries.