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Article date - 02 March 2021
'All In’ has been developed to stress the importance of children and young people returning to a learning environment - and to assure parents and carers that a range of measures have been put in place at education settings to keep pupils and staff safe.
While schools in the borough have continued to provide education to pupils of certain needs and requirements – as well as the children of key workers – it is the government’s intention that all year groups will return to education from Monday 8 March.
St Helens Borough Council will work closely with schools to monitor and support them with attendance.
To accommodate facilities opening to all year groups:
The government has confirmed twice-weekly testing using rapid lateral flow tests will be given for free to all families and households with primary, secondary school and college aged children and young people, including childcare and support bubbles, to help find more COVID-19 cases and break chains of transmission. Twice-weekly testing will also be offered to adults working in the wider school community, including bus drivers and after school club leaders.
Full guidance can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/2madcm96
St Helens Borough Council and teaching unions have also worked together with schools and colleges to put control measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in order to provide a full educational experience for children and young people.
These control measures may include:
Jo Davies, St Helens Borough Council’s Assistant Director Education and Learning, said:
“It is vital that children and young people return to school and college for their educational progress, for their wellbeing, and for their wider development. Experts say Covid-19 is a low risk to children and keeping them away from their educational setting will cause more harm than good.
“As a former St Helens-based headteacher myself who now works closely with primary, secondary and college heads in the borough, I know just now how hard they work for the benefit of our communities - and we will continue to work with them to ensure they have everything in place to safety provide quality education for our children and young people.”
Councillor Kate Groucutt, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills & Business, added: “Our children and young people have, through no fault of their own, missed out on months of face to face teaching, as well as the social benefits of school and extra-curricular activities. At the same time, home-schooling has been incredibly hard for lots of families and I pay tribute to all parents and guardians who have supported their children’s education during an extraordinary year.
“It’s really important that we get young people back to school and college, but if we are to keep them there and avoid further disruption, we must continue to comply with all of the lockdown rules and minimise contact with anyone outside our households. The new arrangements for testing staff and pupils, and the vaccination programme which continues at pace, will help to keep rates falling in St Helens Borough, but we can’t afford complacency if we want to keep our community safe and keep children in school.”
A small number of pupils may still be unable to attend in line with public health advice because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves, or because they are a close contact of someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19). If your child is unable to attend school or college for this reason, you should talk to your school or college about what support is in place in terms of remote education.
To support you during self-isolation, you could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment if you live in England and meet all the following criteria which can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/4bh2ne6h
For more information, including a list of FAQs covering what would happen in the event of a coronavirus outbreak in a school or college, visit: www.sthelens.gov.uk/backtoschool