Parents of Croydon schoolchildren have been updated this week on each school’s individual arrangements to limit the Covid-19 risk when a new academic year starts in September.
As a result of the government confirming earlier this summer that schools nationwide will return in September, headteachers in Croydon have written to parents outlining what tailored measures they have introduced to safely allow all pupils to return.
These measures include weekly deep cleaning, socially-distanced bubbles by year group, one-way systems in school buildings, staggered start and finish times to limit unnecessary contact, Personal Protective Equipment for staff and additional training days on the new arrangements. Schools are also encouraging pupils to work or cycle to school which not only reduces pressure on public transport but is also good for mental and physical health.
Schools have the responsibility to plan their own individual way of safely reopening for September that meets their own circumstances while following government guidelines, meeting health and safety requirements and receiving council support and advice.
Each school has completed an updated Covid-19 risk assessment that is first approved by their board of governors and then shared with the council. These consider everything from hygiene measures, catering and the school run to safeguarding and supporting children with Special Educational Needs.
Some e-learning will continue in combination with face-to-face lessons if schools have teachers or pupils who are at higher risk from Covid-19. Each school has also adapted their curriculum to both help pupils catch up and to reflect any other changes, including timetables that encourage outdoor PE lessons and course updates including Black history.
As well as offering regular support to headteachers, the council is also providing youth mental health first aiders through the Young Londoners’ Fund to advise any children needing help with their wellbeing on their return to school. Teachers and other staff also have access to the adult community Mental Health First Aid programme which is being funded through the council and Transport for London.
Supported by the council, schools have developed plans for managing suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19. Just like throughout lockdown, if headteachers do flag any suspected or confirmed Covid-19 cases they will work with the council and the National Institute of Health Protection to take appropriate action in line with Croydon’s local outbreak control plan.
“Croydon schools have been working hard to ensure that they are able to safely welcome back all pupils from September, and each one has developed their own tailored plan to do this with council help and by following government guidelines.
“I want to thank all head teachers, governors and their staff in Croydon for doing everything asked of them and more to put plans in place to safeguard and manage risk against Covid-19, and put our schools in the best possible current position in planning for the year ahead.
“Schools will continue to do all they can so staff and pupils alike are kept safe while they carry out the crucial job of educating our young people and improving their future prospects.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning