Dear parent/carer, We are writing to thank you for your continuing efforts through the coronavirus pandemic, and to update you on the Government’s plans for all children to return to school in September.

Schools in Wolverhampton are looking forward to welcoming all their pupils back.

Why must all children go back to school in September?

The Government has said that it will be mandatory for all children of school age to return to school in September (though please note if you have just returned from abroad, you must follow advice on quarantining if applicable and should contact your child’s school if that’s what you need to do).

It’s important for children to get back to school, nursery and early years settings for many reasons:

  • after months of being away, it’s good for your children and their well-being to get back to school
  • it’s important for your children to see their friends – a key part of their development is spending time socialising with school friends and taking part in group activities
  • it’s great to get them back to learning – parents and carers have done a fantastic job home schooling but there’s no substitute for the real thing
  • It’s also good for your well-being – parents and carers have been juggling jobs, family commitments and childcare for several months and children returning to school will help you meet your various other commitments
  • We want you to know that the health, safety and welfare of children, staff and the local community is paramount, and that we’re confident all schools in Wolverhampton will be able to safely reopen in accordance with the latest Government guidelines next month.

What happens if someone becomes sick?

If a child or someone they live with develops symptoms of coronavirus, no matter how mild – a fever, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to their sense of taste or smell – they will need to self-isolate in line with Government guidelines and book a Covid-19 test.

No-one in the family should attend school.

Testing and isolating of the household are vital in keeping our classrooms safe.

To book a test, call 119 or visit www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

If the person with symptoms tests negative, they feel well and have been free of a fever for 48 hours, they should contact the school about when to return. Other members of their household can stop self-isolating at this point too.

Reassuringly, we have had no confirmed outbreaks of Covid-19 in education settings during the summer term. There have been a few isolated cases involving pupils across the city, but there is no evidence that these were as a result of transmission within school.

School may seem a bit different, but we're doing everything we can to ensure it is safe.

  1. Pupils will be in 'bubbles', staying with the same group of friends throughout the school day
  2. Schools have created safe learning environments for children and staff
  3. Children and staff will only move around the school when it's really necessary
  4. Children and staff will wash their hands regularly throughout the day
  5. Start and finish times might be different so that year groups can be kept apart

What should I do if my child is worried about going back to school?

It’s important to remember that most children are resilient and adaptable, but we know that returning to school will be a strange experience for many pupils, particularly for those who haven't been in school since March.

You, as a parent or carer, can really help them to prepare for this. Please talk to your child in a positive way about school, seeing friends and teachers again. And let them know that the school may seem a bit different, but their teachers are doing everything to make sure that it is safe.

We can only be successful in getting our children back into learning safely if we all work together.

As a council, our commitment to the children, young people and families in Wolverhampton is that we will:

  • work with schools and follow government guidance to provide a safe environment
  • get your children back into learning
  • share information with you and listen to your concerns.

We ask you, as a parent or carer, to:

  • ensure your child goes back to school in September
  • follow the routines and procedures that your school has put in place
  • keep in contact with your school if your children cannot attend
  • ensure your child follows the guidance on wearing face
  • protection if they are using public transport to travel to school
  • follow public health advice around Covid-19 testing and keeping your family safe.

We hope that this letter provides useful information and reassurance about the steps that Wolverhampton schools are taking so that pupils can return safely in September.

If you have any concerns, please contact your child’s school directly. Please also check the school website for further information, and any details of specific start-of-term arrangements. You can also visit www.gov.uk/backtoschool for practical guidance to help you plan for your child's return to school.

Your sincerely,

Emma Bennett, Director of Children’s Services

Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

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