Coronavirus: back to school

As pupils in England return to school they will note a number of changes that have been introduced to help minimise the risk of coronavirus transmission and keep everyone safe.

The Department for Education has issued guidance for the full reopening of schools in England, which build upon the need for robust hand and respiratory hygiene and the need to maintain social distancing when possible. With their input, we have produced these two short films for primary and secondary schools, which aim to help explain what the measures mean for pupils and parents.

For primary schools

For secondary schools

What to take to school

Your school may suggest that you limit what is brought in to essential items only. This might include bags, lunch boxes, coats, books, pens/pencils and mobile phones, but check with your school first.

The school run

Schools may have staggered start times for different year groups or classes so ensure that you check with your school what time you should arrive.

One of the recommendations is to avoid public transport and walk or cycle to school, if you’re able to do so.

If public transport is used, then hands should be washed both before and after the journey. Adults, and children aged 11 or over, have to wear face coverings on public transport, unless they are exempt for health or disability reasons.

Plan out your journey beforehand, as you may need extra time to get there if you’re walking or cycling, and check public transport timetables as they might have changed.

At school

Schools may group pupils into ‘bubbles’ to reduce the risk of virus transmission. Where possible bubbles will be kept apart during the day. Bubbles are also being encouraged for pre-school and after-school care.

Teachers may spend more time at the front of the classroom and will socially distance where possible. Pupils who need closer contact will be supported as usual.

There might be changes made to how people move around the school, such as one-way systems. In classrooms, furniture might have been reduced or moved, with the tables all facing forwards, for example.

Assemblies and other larger gatherings will be avoided and non-contact sports will be prioritised during PE lessons.

New guidance on face coverings in school

On 26 August the government issued new guidance regarding face coverings in school. From 1 September if you are in Year 7 or above, and your school is in an area where local intervention measures apply, you will have to wear a face covering in areas of the school where social distancing is difficult to maintain - for example in corridors - unless you are exempt. Pupils in schools where local intervention measures do not apply may also be asked to wear a face covering in communal areas if the school decides it is right to do so.

After school

Remember to wash hands before and after journeys on public transport. Once home, there are no special recommendations around school uniforms, which can be washed as normal.

It is important to note that this article describes parts of the guidance for the full reopening of schools in England only. Safety measures may vary and you should always check with your school for specific advice.

More on this topic

Where to catch our educational programming for primary pupils
Back to school: Covid-19 style
Starting primary school