Liverpool's leaders have written to thousands of parents and carers in the city ahead of the crucial reopening of schools.
Mayor Joe Anderson, the city's Director of Public Health Matt Ashton and the Director of Children and Young People's services Steve Reddy have penned the letter outlining the steps being taken to make sure Liverpool's schools are as safe as possible when they reopen and what will be different in the wake of the coronavirus.
In line with the rest of the country, pupils will be taught in ‘bubbles’ to limit their exposure to other children, extra cleaning and sanitisation measures will be in place and social distancing measures adhered to where possible.
They write: “The disruption to the lives of our young people over the last few months has been challenging for everyone. We are all desperate to return to some sort of normality as soon as we can: getting our young people back into a routine of learning and giving them the best chance of reaching their potential in as safe a way as possible.
"It is absolutely crucial to your child’s future, so it is important that we all work together so they can get back to schooling.
“We appreciate that you and your child may be anxious about a return to lessons, but we want to reassure you that all practical steps are being taken to make sure children are as safe as possible. Schools have been working extremely hard, both before the end of term and during the summer holidays, to make sure the learning environment is as safe as it possibly can be when lessons resume.
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“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.”
Schools have been working closely with Public Health to put in place systems and measures to contain the spread of coronavirus if a positive case is identified.
Parents and carers are asked for their “ongoing co-operation to help minimise the risk of bringing the virus in to school, particularly by encouraging your family to practise good hand hygiene, observe social distancing advice, proactive use of face coverings and observing the limits on households mixing” to help keep the rate of transmission low, as well as getting a test if a household member has COVID-19 symptoms.”
The letter concludes: “We are grateful to all the teachers, school staff and trade unions who have worked with us to help get our young people back to school as safely as possible.
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"Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and support during what has been an extraordinarily challenging period for everyone – it is very much appreciated, as is your support in ensuring children return to school.”
Speaking about the process of reopening schools, Mayor Anderson said: “We know this has been a challenging few months for parents and carers, and that schools have been working incredibly hard to make it as safe as it possibly can be for pupils to return.
“The detailed preparations that have been carried out give us confidence that schools are safe to open.
“Schools and families working together to follow the guidance and getting tested if they have symptoms will help us keep children safe.”
Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Steve Reddy, said: “Schools are very much looking forward to welcoming pupils back in September.
“They want to get children back to the routine of learning and helping them achieve their dreams, ambitions and full potential.
“I would like to thank heads and their staff for their work over the last few months in putting in place exhaustive risk assessments and mitigating measures so that lessons can resume.”
Director of Public Health, Matt Ashton said: “We have been working closely with schools over the last few months and supporting them to put in place appropriate measures so that lessons can resume.
“The virus is still present in the community so it is absolutely crucial that we all work together to prevent its transmission into schools, in the same way as we would in the workplace.
“Abiding by the guidance around good hand hygiene, proactive use of face coverings and observing the limits on households mixing as well as getting a test if a household member has COVID-19 symptoms will help keep our school settings safe.”
More information can be found at www.liverpoolexpress.co.uk/backtoschool and on the council’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds.