A primary school has provided a stark insight into how classrooms could look from next week – when returning pupils will be dropped off into individual pens.
From Monday, June 1, some children will be allowed back into classes in England amid an easing of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, despite widespread unease about possible health and safety issues.
Gloucester’s Kingsholm Primary School has told parents about the new reality of school life in a video explainer, which shows a host of changes to kids’ educational experience.
Pupils will use only their own equipment, tables will be spaced apart, toilets will be marked for different classes and there will be a regular cleaning regime. There is slight variation between the year group, with pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 the first to return to classrooms across England.
Co-Headteacher Matt Ferris said drop off and collection times will be staggered and there will be marked walkways for parents and pupils to follow. Kingsholm is using time slots based on surnames, and urging parents to drop children off alone, without siblings or other children.
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The pens at the school will be sectioned with barriers as the children arrive.
Later, a member of staff will take each group to their classroom.
It follows similar moves in other countries coming out of Covid-19 lockdown – in France, ‘heartbreaking’ images showing young children in their own little play zones for social distancing shocked the nation.
There has been concern that schools in the UK are returning too early, but despite backlash from some teachers and unions, the Government is pressing ahead with plans it insists are safe.
Kingsholm headteacher Jan Buckland said the pens will be ‘roughly a quarter of the size of a netball court’ and the barriers will consist of ‘bollards with a bit of ceiling tape around to designate the area, some cones and things’.
The school will also be closed on a Wednesday for a deep clean.
The markings have been placed on the ground on the way towards the toilets so that pupils know how far away to stand from one another as they queue.
Supply to their water fountains have been cut off, with pupils expected to bring their own drinks to school, while certain sinks and toilets will be out of use.
Breakfast and after school clubs have been cancelled, while classrooms will be spaced apart with one pupil per table.
Kingsholm say pupils will be expected to use their own equipment, while some toys have been removed and the amount of books shared reduced.
Mrs Buckland said: ‘Talking about nursery children, we cannot guarantee at all social distancing but we will encourage.
‘We will have adults who sit in places to steer children away from each other.’
She went on to say that pupils who do not follow socially distancing instructions on purpose will be sent home after a three strike rule has been deployed.
She added: ‘We will talk to the parents, if a child is being [non-compliant] then what we will do is phone the parents and the parents will then have to come and collect them.’
The school is urging parents to check their child’s temperature each day before school.
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Source: Metro News UK