Re-opening of schools

Information about the arrangements for the reopening of our schools and early learning settings on 12 August.

Schools building icon

The new term for pupils will start on Wednesday 12 August 2020.

Welcome back

All our teachers and other staff within all our schools are looking forward to welcoming all our young people back. It has been a long time and we are looking forward to getting back into classrooms and learning again.

As we prepare for the return to school, some arrangements in and around your school building will be slightly different. We want you to have complete confidence knowing that there are arrangements in place to make sure that all our pupils and staff are kept safe.

Below are some of the things that you should know ahead of pupils returning to school.

Dropping off and collecting your child from school

Pupils are not required to physically distance inside the school grounds. This means that pupils are able to enjoy being with their friends in our playground again.

Parents will be discouraged from entering the school grounds. The only exception to this will be for new Primary 1 pupils who are attending school for the first time.  If your child is starting in Primary 1, your school will be in touch about arrangements.

Outside the school grounds, parents must socially distance. Please adhere to the Government's guidance and the school safety arrangements outside the school grounds.

Hygiene in our schools

We will make sure that within our schools, pupils are able to meet the Scottish Government's advice on hand washing and enhanced personal hygiene.

Whenever pupils enter the building, they will clean their hands. Sanitisation stations have been set up at all entrances to our schools.  All pupils and staff will have to clean their hands when entering the building. To help speed this up, new school entry points have been created.

Thorough and frequent hand washing will be scheduled throughout the day - start of the school day, before and after any free time, outside time, after visiting the toilet and before eating.

Within classrooms, new cleaning supplies will be provided for use throughout the day including anti-viral wipes for the cleaning of equipment.

How we are keeping our buildings clean

Our teams have enhanced cleaning regimes for all our schools which are robust and will ensure that our buildings are clean and safe for all our pupils and staff.

Additional cleaning within the school will take place at least once in the morning and once in the afternoon as well as the standard cleaning which will also continue.

Our council has sourced a huge number of additional cleaning materials and PPE which have been distributed to our schools to ensure they are kept clean throughout the day. Our staff have received additional information about how the cleanliness within our buildings will be maintained during this time and we have plans to make sure this happens.

Transport

If it is safe to do so, the use of active travel routes by parents /carers, staff and children and young people should be encouraged. Walking and cycling, scooting, wheeling etc should be strongly encouraged.

While continuing to encourage walking or cycling where possible, parents or carers taking their children to school by car are encouraged to plan their journey in advance and ensure that their chosen route is accessible and follow any guidance issued by schools for drop-off and pick-up.

Children, young people and adults must not board dedicated school or public transport if they, or a member of their household, have symptoms of COVID-19.

Mitigations will be implemented by transport providers and include enhanced hygiene measures, ventilation of vehicles, cleaning regimes including regular and thorough cleaning of surfaces, and regular handwashing.

Hand sanitising is required for everyone prior to boarding dedicated school transport. Parents are asked to ensure their children adhere to this requirement in the morning.

Additional dedicated school transport is being made available to help address capacity constraints on public/school transport routes serving secondary schools across the region, as follows:

  • Langholm Academy - 1 additional bus
  • Lockerbie Academy - 2 additional buses
  • Moffat Academy - 1 additional bus
  • Dumfries Academy - 1 additional bus
  • Dumfries High School - 2 additional buses
  • St Josephs College - 1 additional bus
  • Sanquhar Academy - 1 additional bus
  • Dalbeattie Learning Campus - 1 additional bus
  • Kirkcudbright Academy - 1 additional bus
  • Stranraer Academy - 2 additional buses
     

Other interventions taking effect include the introduction of dedicated zones (e.g. seating) for school-aged children and young people on public transport and the splitting of routes. Schools will be sent updated Transport Lists from Friday 31 July 2020.

Parents and school staff are required to educate children and young people on what is acceptable behaviour on school and public transport. Drivers and staff providing school transport should always be respected and their instructions followed. Any instance of unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated and the right to travel will be immediately withdrawn.

The Scottish Government has updated its guidance.  From 31 August, all staff and school pupils using school transport will also be expected to wear face coverings, bringing it into line with guidance for public transport.

The face mask should be worn for the duration of the journey.

We appreciate your co-operation to keep everyone safe.

School Meals

Lunchtimes may look slightly different when we return to our schools for the first few days.

The school meals service is working towards a 'whole school' approach. This may be different in our different schools because of different arrangements in each school (for example the size of the dinner hall, the number of pupils who receive school meals, whether pupils eat in the dinner hall or in classrooms, etc). Your headteacher will speak to the catering manager at your school and decide what is the best and safest approach for all pupils and staff.

For the first few days, until things are fully up and running again, school meals will be a premium cold food offering. Hot food will be reintroduced onto our menus once it is safe to do so.

Free School Meals within our schools will continue for those who meet the criteria and normally receive them.

Face Coverings in school

Face coverings (or face masks) do not need to be worn by pupils when they are in school or in the school playground. If you child has any concerns and wants to wear a face covering, then they can do so.

To ensure the safety of your child and our staff, staff will be supplied with face shields for use in the classroom.  They can also use face masks if they wish.  Where staff cannot keep 2m distance and are interacting face-to-face for a sustained period (about 15 minutes or more), face shields should be worn.

Visitors to the school

We understand that there may be occasions when you need to visit the school. Please follow the arrangements that are in place:

  • Clean and sanitise your hands every time you enter the school building
  • Where possible, items will be left at reception and taken to your child
  • If possible, phone the school in advance to let them know that you are coming
  • Visits should be kept to a minimum
  • You will need to provide your contact details (as part of the Government's Trace, Test, Protect arrangements)