Back to School - the New Normal
In this blog we look at the rules that will be in place when children go back to school in September.
Back to School – the ‘new normal’
In early July 2020 the government published its safety plans for England's return to school in September - built on the principle of keeping classes or whole year groups apart in separate "bubbles
It’s very important to get children back to school to learn and socialise in the way that we have all known for 100 years or so! The Education Secretary (Gavin Williamson) said a "system of control" would "minimise the risk" from Covid-19, and children would not be taught a "watered-down" curriculum.
However, Head teachers have said it would be "mind-boggling" to try to keep groups of pupils apart all day in school.
What are the new rules for autumn Back to School?
- The return to classrooms will be based on separating groups of children into "bubbles" and minimising contacts between them, rather than social distancing.
- The new normal will mean that children will be grouped together in ‘bubbles’ and will only be able to socialise or come into contact with other children in their bubbles.
- To avoid contact between different bubbles there will be staggered school start and finish times as well as different lunchtimes and breaktimes.
- Regular hand washing will take place but masks are unlikely to be compulsory.
- Desks will be arranged so that children face the front of the class and do not face each other.
- Social distancing as such won’t be required – it may no longer be necessary anyway but in any case how many schools have big enough rooms to be able to make sure there is at least 1m between each child??
- Large group events such as school assemblies, end of year shows and sports days will not be allowed – unless they can be well managed with adequate minimal contact.
- School uniform, clothing, stationery and other belongings must be clearly labelled with children’s names to avoid unnecessary sharing and contact. Lost property boxes are a prime example of what schools don’t want! (So buy your name tags now from www.nametags4u.co.uk !)
- Children on school buses or public transport should sit separately or stay within their bubbles where possible. This is partly to discourage the use of public transport. Walking, cycling or being taken to school by car is preferable.
- Schools will have testing kits to give to parents if children develop coronavirus symptoms in school.
- Mobile testing units may be sent to schools which have an outbreak.
- All schools will have to draw up plans for the possibility of local lockdowns.
- Attendance will be compulsory with the threat of penalty fines to prevent parents keeping their children away from school for fear of infection. Children are very low risk from Covid and the hope is that by September the situation will be better….
However many parents are doubtful as to the reality of the ‘new normal’.
Separate bubbles could be incredibly difficult to achieve.
What happens for families who have children in different years? They can’t socially distance at home…. What about the mixing up of children on public transport if there isn’t room to stay in bubbles or to socially distance.
For older children there are difficult unanswered questions. How can GCSEs and A levels go ahead as ‘normal’ when pupils have missed so many months of crucial education for these exams?
And it’s not just older children. There are suggestions Year 7 might have to retake chunks of Year 6 again because of all the gaps in learning. Even much younger children learn a lot and will have missed so much.
Quite apart from learning and education, school is a place where children learn social skills, and how to interact with others. There is a fear that behaviour problems are likely after a such a lack of routine and discipline, with pupils out of the school for so long.
At the time of writing there is still a whole lot of confusion, conflicting information and unanswered questions. Advice and information seems to change from one day to another. It will be interesting to see how things are in September!
The one thing that is pretty definite is that’s it’s always a good idea to label school uniform and children’s school items – and in these uncertain times it’s more important than ever! So please buy your Name Tags and StampaNames before Back to School time!
If you would like to share your own stories of lockdown, home-schooling or back to school please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you found this blog on Google then you can get 10% discount off name tags by using the code Google10