School Restart – Information for children and young people

School Restart – Information for children and young people

The Minister for Education in Wales has set out expectations that all children and young people in Wales should have some opportunities to attend their school in the last few weeks of the summer term.

The focus of these sessions in school will be to “check in, catch up and prepare for summer and September.”

In line with Government guidance, Cardiff Council is working with schools to ensure the safety of pupils, staff and parents when they start reopening from June 29, 2020.

Schools will make arrangements according to their own circumstances and they will tell parents directly about the individual arrangements for their pupils.

Child walking to school

Frequently Asked Questions that you may have.

Why is it safe to bring children back to school in Wales but not in England?

We know that we are going to have to live with the virus for some time and that it will be our biggest challenge for the foreseeable future. By giving learners the chance to “check in, catch up and prepare” it will give them important contact time before the summer holidays. This will help prepare learners for how things will be in their schools after the summer holidays in September.

What has been done to make schools safe and make sure children are social distancing?

Each school has worked carefully with a Health & Safety Team to decide how they can open safely. This includes new rules for the building, new practices for staying clean and physical social distancing rules. There will be less tables and chairs in classrooms and could be tape on the floors or signs to help with social distancing.

Will the school be cleaned regularly?

Yes, schools will be cleaned thoroughly before they open and schools will be cleaned twice a day with disinfectant being used on tables, handrails, door handles, push pads, taps, flushes etc.

Will hand washing and sanitizer be available for me to use?

Yes, regular hand-washing will become part of the school routine, the first stop for all pupils at the start of every day, throughout the day after that. Hand sanitizer stations will be at key points in schools, such as entrances to the school and close to toilets.

How will my school make sure children are social distancing?

All schools have tested the layout and area of the school to make sure social distancing takes place. Classroom furniture has been moved and there will be less tables and chairs to give more space between pupils. Floors have been covered with new markings to show pupils how far apart they need to stand. Schools will use outdoor areas where they can and some schools might have a one way system.

There will be Perspex screens at face to face contact points to protect children and staff.

How will we social distance when we are dropped off and picked up?

Schools will stagger arrival and departure times so that all pupils won’t start and finish at the same time. In some schools there will be one way systems, closed roads and wider pavements outside the school. Parents, carers and pupils should keep to the 2 metre rule and not stand or walk in groups.

How can younger children social distance?

We are aware that social distancing for very young children may not be possible in all circumstances, so thorough cleaning regimes, good hand hygiene and staff use of PPE for some direct work with children will be in place. Grouping of younger children is also advised by Welsh Government, where Social Distancing would not be possible.

Please see the Welsh Governments guidelines for protecting under 5’s.

Will teachers or staff be wearing PPE or face masks?

Following Welsh Government Guidance, face coverings should be worn when 2 metre distancing cannot be kept to. PPE will be worn by staff when they have to get close to someone for personal care, first aid or giving medicines.

Can I wear a mask to school?

The Welsh Government has said that face coverings should be worn when 2 metre distancing cannot be kept to. This is quite important when travelling to and from school using school or public transport. The Council will give children aged 7 and above a face covering to keep them safe when travelling to and from school.

If I have COVID symptoms or if I live with someone who has COVID symptoms can I go to school?

Pupils should not attend school if they:

  • Feel unwell, have any of the three identified COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or they can’t taste or smell) or they have tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days
  • Live in a household with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

Will we have our temperatures checked when we get to school?

No, but if a pupil seems poorly in school, their temperature maybe taken to decide the best place and way to take care of them until they can be picked up.

Will staff and pupils be tested for COVID-19?

Anyone who feels ill and thinks they have COVID can book a test, you can find more information here: https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-test

What happens if someone at school tests positive for COVID-19?

Anyone showing symptoms of the virus should be kept apart from everyone else until they can be picked up and taken home. Anyone who has symptoms of the virus should stay at home for 7 days and should arrange to be tested. Anyone who lives with someone who has symptoms but doesn’t get ill should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person became ill. If someone has symptoms in a class or group all the class or /group will need to stay home.

Will school staff get an anti-body test?

Education staff working in schools will be one of the first groups to be tested for antibodies, which will begin from 29th

If I go to school could it risk people that I live with catching Covid-19?

If you or someone you live with is shielding from the virus, you are not expected to come back to school at the end of June. Parents won’t be fined for keeping their children at home. Your school will continue to support you in different ways if you don’t come back to school.

What if I or someone I live with is shielding?

If you are shielding from the virus or if someone else in your house is shielding, you should not return to school at the end of June for the check-in sessions. You will continue to be supported by their schools in different ways.

Will my parents or carers be fined if they choose not to send me to school before the end of term?

No, parents won’t be fined for keeping children at home. These children will continue to be supported by their schools in different ways.

Will this affect my attendance records?

No, children’s attendance records will not be affected.

If you have school sessions booked and you can’t go you should tell the school so they can give you support if you need it.

We are a BAME family, is it safe to go to school?

The Welsh Government’s All Wales COVID-19 Workforce Risk Assessment Tool, has been designed to help address all individual risk factors, regardless of ethnicity.

Who decides which years will return and when?

Welsh Government has told schools that they should only have a third of pupils in school at one time. This means that not all children will be able to return to school on the same day. All pupils will have some face to face sessions with their teachers and this will be supported by continuing to learn at home. Each school will decide which groups will be in school on which days and your school will tell your parents/carers what is decided.

If schools are still giving childcare for key workers, will there be space for other children to return?

All schools will continue to have key worker childcare.

However, as no more than 30% of a school’s children are expected to be in school at any one time to maintain health and safety, schools will need to carefully balance the number of childcare places and ‘return to school’ places.

The Council will work with individual schools to support the amount of pupils and to make sure that pupils can catch up, check in and prepare, before the end of term.

How many children will be in a classroom at once?

Each school has looked at how many pupils they can safely have in school with social distancing rules being followed. The layout, design and size of each school and its classrooms is different, so the numbers will be different in each school, but classes will be split into smaller groups.

Will we have different teachers for different subjects or will we stick with one for the whole day?

Pupils and teachers should stay in the same room and avoid moving from room to room as they normally would. Pupils will be given as many chances as possible to learn and have breaks outdoors. Each school will decide how they do this.

Will brothers and sisters be able to go to school on the same day?

Each school will decide how they do this and will contact parents/carers to let them know.

Will I be with my usual teacher?

Where possible children will be able to be with their usual teacher, however some school staff might be shielding or have shielding family members and will not be able to return to school at this time.

Will I be with my friends?

Classes have to be smaller so they will be split into groups. Who is in each group will be decided by each school and parents/carers will be told by the school.

Will we have break time and how will we keep to social distancing rules during these times?

Yes, there will be break times and lunchtimes but they will be at different times so that there are less groups of pupils on break at the same time to help social distancing.

How many days will I be in school and will it be normal school times?

This will be decided by each school and parents/carers will be told by the school.

What do I need to bring to school, do I need my own equipment?

Parents/carers will be told by the school.

Will I have to wear my uniform?

Learners can wear school uniform but the main thing is to wear something that is comfortable and easily washable. Uniform that cannot be machine washed should be avoided.

Will we be doing normal school work?

School sessions will be to Catch Up, Check In and Prepare for summer and September. It’s a chance for pupils to check in and catch up with their teacher and friends and to prepare for returning in September with the new changes. Learning is important but there will be a big focus on having fun and making sure you are happy.

I am in year 6 and due to start secondary school in September, will I have any contact with my new school?

Secondary schools are working with primary schools to see if Year 6 pupils can have contact with their new school. Any contact will probably be online rather than face to face.

Some secondary schools have set up Virtual Transition Projects so that Year 6 pupils can find out more about their new school including information about staff, maps of the school, uniform, expectations as well as being able to ask any questions.

What is ‘blended’ learning?

Blended learning is a combination of technology and digital media with traditional in school classroom activities. It means children can still learn at home with help from their school.

When will schools go back to normal?

Right now we don’t know the answer. We are guided by Welsh Government and Public Health Wales. What happens over the next few months with the virus will have an effect on how schools operate in the next few months. Schools probably won’t go back to the way they were before lockdown for quite some time.

I am in year 6 will I get a chance to say goodbye to teachers and friends before starting secondary school?

The check in, catch up sessions will give pupils the chance to catch up with friends and teachers and to say goodbye before going on to their new school.

I am in Year 11 and due to begin college in September, will this be affected?

The Welsh Government has information regarding colleges and post 16 education.

I am leaving school this year, and will need support to make decisions about my future – for example getting into college, university, or work. How can I get advice and help?

You can email the Council at the following email address intoworkadvice@cardiff.gov.uk , or call 02920 87071 and one of our advisers will make contact with you to offer support from our Youth Services or Into Work Services.

You can also visit the Council’s Into Work website, where a web chat option is available www.intoworkcardiff.co.uk

What date will the Summer Term end?

The summer term will end on the 20th.

Why is this different to the end of term date of 27th July that was originally announced by Welsh Government?

Welsh Government and the school workforce Trade Unions have not been able to agree on a fourth week in school despite ongoing discussions. Without that agreement term dates are decided by local councils. At this late stage it is important that head teachers and schools have time for planning the return of pupils. Cardiff Council will therefore not be changing the existing term dates, with the end of term remaining at 20th July.

Will there be an extra week’s holiday in the Autumn Term?

This hasn’t been decided yet. Updates will be provided when further information is available.

Will school meals be available?

To protect the Health and Safety of pupils and students there won’t be any school meals in schools during the rest of the summer term. Depending on how long you are in school, you might have to bring a packed lunch.

What if I usually have Free School Meals?

The payment and voucher system for Free School Meals will continue and can be used for packed lunches if you need them.

If possible, parents/carers and pupils should travel to and from school, on foot, or by bike, scooter or any other means of active travel.

For pupils who usually travel to school using school transport, and cannot get to school without it, priority will be given to pupils who usually have free transport.

What happens if I usually take a bus to school?

School transport will be available with extra safety measures in place. These will include;

  • Following the physical distancing rules, there will be less pupils so that they can be 2 metres apart when travelling
  • Clear signs will show pupils which seats can be used and which cannot be used
  • Pupils will be given 2 face masks in school that should be worn when travelling on school buses
  • Hand sanitiser gel dispensers will be at the entrance to the buses

What happens if I usually take a taxi to school?

There will be fewer passenger numbers taking taxis so that social distancing rules can be followed. There will be appropriate PPE for passengers and transport staff.

My parent/carer is a key worker, will I still have a place to be looked after?

The Council will try to continue key worker childcare where they can, but there are only so many spaces, as schools focus on spaces for ‘Check in, Catch Up, Prepare’ pupils.

Children of key workers can continue going to hub schools until Friday 26, June. However, from Monday 29, June children will attend their own school.

What time will I be looked after when school starts again?

From Monday 29, June there will be care available from 8.30am – 4.30pm Monday – Friday.

Will there be food at schools for children attending childcare?

Children will need to come with their own food, such as a packed lunch.

Can I attend my own school class sessions as well as childcare?

Your school will tell you the timings of class sessions. If you are due to attend a class session, your parents/carers will be made aware of this and you would not attend the childcare during these times.

Will there be key worker childcare during summer holidays?

Schools will not offer key worker childcare during the summer holidays.

Who are the priority key worker groups that can apply for childcare in hubs?

View information about which key worker groups can apply for childcare.

Places cannot be guaranteed as there are only a certain amount of places.

View this Information in Other Languages

Frequently Asked Questions that parents, carers and pupils may have are available in the following languages:

Are you concerned about a friend?

For emergencies when you think they may be in danger please call the Police on 999.

If you have concerns about a child’s health or wellbeing act on them. Even if your concerns seem small to you, please report them. All reports are taken seriously and acted upon sensitively.

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