The Government has announced that all pupils will return to school next month, as England starts to ease out of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Only vulnerable children and the children of key workers can attend school at the present time, with all other pupils accessing remote learning from home.

Schools will reopen to all pupils from Monday 8 March, with staff and students in secondary schools advised to wear face coverings in all areas where social distancing cannot be maintained. All staff, and all secondary aged pupils, are also strongly recommended to have twice weekly Covid-19 testing. 

Wraparound childcare will also resume next month to enable parents to access work, education or medical care.

The City of Wolverhampton Council is now working closely with the city's nursery, primary, secondary and special schools to help them prepare for the return of all students to the classroom.

Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "The Prime Minister has announced that all schools will be open to all pupils from Monday 8 March, and we are working closely with our city's schools so that they are able to welcome their children back safely.

"We have always believed that school is the right place for our children and young people – it is in the best interests of their learning and of their psychological and physical wellbeing. And it is socially important for children to be in school, too, because of the impact that being away from their friends for so long can have on their emotional wellbeing.

"The reopening of schools to all pupils is a key step in our country's journey out of lockdown but we appreciate that getting children back in the classroom next month will not be easy. 

“Our schools have reported that an increasing number of their staff have been told to shield, while many already have staff self isolating because of cases in school or elsewhere. There are also going to be additional demands on schools, such as routine testing for staff and all secondary pupils which is strongly recommended.

"But the city’s schools have risen to the challenge in a really remarkable manner throughout this pandemic, and I am sure they will do so again.

"As in every aspect of life, there will always be risks, and it is impossible to completely eliminate these – but schools have worked with our Public Health and Education teams to create the safest possible environments for children and staff.

"Everyone has a role to play in keeping our schools safe. In particular, I would ask parents and carers to do all you can to maintain social distancing when you are dropping off or picking up children from school, and to leave the school premises as soon as you have done this – please don’t wait around for any longer than you need to. Please also wear a face covering when you are on the school run unless you are exempt for medical reasons.

"And children, you can do your bit by washing your hands more often, wearing a face covering where required and staying in your class or year group bubble at all times, because the more people you meet, the more chance there is for you to accidently spread the virus to others.

"Please stay safe and, above all, enjoy the chance to be back in class with your friends next month."

If a child or someone they live with develops symptoms of Covid-19 – a fever, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to their sense of taste or smell – they should self isolate and book a test by calling 119 or visiting GOV.UK

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages. Information about the vaccine can be found at Covid-19 Vaccine. Further details of the lockdown restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at COVID Alert.