Arrangements announced for return of pupils

Published: Tuesday 16 June 2020

A mock-up of how schools will look with the new signage in place for pupils returning in August

Parents across South Lanarkshire have been reassured that arrangements are in place for the safe return of pupils to schools.

All pupils will start a phased return to schools on 12 August, with initially education being provided through a blended mix of teaching in schools and home learning.

There is a single model for primary schools, with half of pupils attending school on Mondays and Tuesdays and the other half on Thursdays and Fridays.  The model for education delivery in secondary schools will vary across the four localities and each school will provide details of this direct to parents and carers.

The arrangements were set out in a letter to all South Lanarkshire parents and carers from Tony McDaid, Executive Director of Education Resources.

He said: “We have maintained regular contact with parents and carers throughout the issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and we are now able to start providing details of how things will work when schools reopen to all pupils in August.

“We have assessed what we can deliver in schools, and fortunately we have one of the best and most modern schools estates in the country.  We have also listened to parents and carers, and their views on all aspects of learning, school transport and other factors have been taken into account.

“Health and safety sits at the heart of our plans, with risk assessments and infection prevention and control measures being put in place.  Hand sanitisers will be at the entrances and in all appropriate areas across schools.

“Secondary schools will have hand sanitisers available in all classrooms and in primary schools all classrooms with sinks will be able to facilitate regular handwashing. Additional cleaning routines will be implemented and there will be clear signage and rules on physical distancing throughout school buildings.”

Teachers are working in schools until the end of this term to make preparations for August. Tuesday 11 August will also be an in-service day to enable teachers to finalise arrangements for the new term.

An enhanced clean will take place in all primary schools on Wednesdays, when teachers will use the time to support pupils with remote learning and prepare lessons.

Arrangements are being made to allow siblings to attend school on the same days, where possible. Parents and carers will be advised directly by their schools when pupils are expected to attend classes.

Arrangements will also be issued directly from secondary schools within the four localities – that is, East Kilbride, Hamilton and Blantyre,

Rutherglen and Cambuslang, and Clydesdale. Details regarding Additional Support Needs schools and bases will also be issued directly. All schools will provide blended learning – that is, a mix of face-to-face learning in smaller than usual classes in school, and at home, where there will be remote support for children.

Starting and finishing times may be staggered to allow children to arrive and leave school safely. Schools will notify parents directly of specific times for their children by 22 June.

The council is working with Strathclyde Passenger Transport and contractors agree safe protocols, in line with government guidance, for children who come to school in buses and taxis. Again, arrangements for transport will be relayed to relevant parents and carers.

This week most new P1 and S1 pupils have had a chance to visit their new schools as part of their transition, and feedback from parents and carers has been very positive.

The Scottish Government has also published guidance for the phased re-opening of nurseries when it is safe to do so, and information on how this will apply locally will be issued to parents and carers.