Back to school safely

In yesterday's announcement, the secretary of state said that the majority of primary schools in the country would be opening as planned from the 4th of January. 

There are a few areas in which primary schools will be closed for face to face learning due to high levels of infection in the community, however, Cumbria is not on this list, which means that primary schools in the county should plan to open as per the normal start date. 

Outside of primary schools, all secondary schools and FE colleges have been advised by Government to do the following:

  • Week commencing 4th January - online learning for all, apart from vulnerable and key worker children. Week to be spent preparing for testing. Some schools may be ready to begin testing with children returning home after their tests, regardless of the outcome.
  • Week commencing 11th January - as above, but exam years now return for face to face learning. Testing continues.
  • Week commencing 18th January - all pupils from all year groups return. Testing continues.

With common coughs, colds and sneezes around it's tricky to know when and if you should get a COVID-19 test for your child. 

The current guidance is, whether or not you have common cold symptoms first, if you develop a high temperature or a cough it must be treated as a possible COVID-19 symptom, and your child must isolate and get tested.

The NHS provides a more detailed definition for each of the three COVID-19 symptoms:

  • a high temperature - measured as 37.8°C or above. If you don't have a thermometer, feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back is a good indicator of a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

We have also produced a quick guide for parents and carers to help:

Covid poster for parents (PDF 97KB)

Some of you will have concerns about your children returning to school in September. The safety of children and young people is a priority for the council.

There is clear evidence that the risk to children from COVID-19 infection is lower than in the general population.

The rate of coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased since schools and colleges restricted their opening in March, the NHS Test and Trace system is up and running and we understand more about how to create safer environments in schools.

Safety measures in school

Schools have been working hard to put in place protective measures such as:

  • staff and pupils cleaning their hands more often
  • ensuring good respiratory hygiene (for example, adopting the 'catch it, bin it, kill it' approach with coughs and sneezes)
  • introducing enhanced cleaning including for frequently touched surfaces; and 
  • minimising contact and maintaining social distancing between individuals by keeping groups separate with the 'bubble' approach.

It is important to understand that protective measures will differ between schools based on their risk assessments they have carried out.

On 25 August, it was announced that children in Year 7 and above in lockdown areas should wear face coverings in communal school spaces. Outside of lockdown areas, face coverings will not be required in schools, but schools have the flexibility to introduce measures if they believe it is right in their specific circumstances.

A small number of pupils will still be unable to attend in September because they are self-isolating and have had symptoms or a positive test result themselves, or because they are a close contact of someone who has Coronavirus (COVID-19).


Act on symptoms

If your child or someone in your household has symptoms then you should not send your child to school.

Anyone who has symptoms should get tested for COVID-19 and then follow the advice given. Please let school know if your child is tested and let them know the result.

If your child becomes unwell in school, they will be isolated from other pupils and you will be asked to come and collect them immediately. School will provide advice about what to do next.

If a school year group or whole school has to close because of an outbreak then plans will be in place for pupils to make sure that they receive an education away from the classroom.


Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

National guidance says that in the majority of cases staff in schools do not need PPE, even where it is not always possible to maintain a distance of 2 metres from others.

Schools will keep up to date with the latest guidance from Public Health England and the Department for Education on when PPE is needed in schools and how to use it and dispose of it safely and appropriately.

Cumbria County Council will be offering support through its Public Health team along with Public Health England to respond to any cases that happen within a school.

If you have any concerns, then you should contact the individual school directly and have a chat through those concerns with the teachers.

The Government has said that school attendance will be mandatory again from the beginning of the autumn term once again. This means from that point, the usual rules on school attendance will apply and you can be prosecuted if you do not give your child an education. 

Given the situation, the education system in Cumbria is keen to work with parents, carers and young people to provide the necessary reassurance which will support a return to school without the need for enforcement action.

Prosecution is always a last resort.

Schools will encourage parents, staff and pupils to walk or cycle to school if at all possible. For some families, driving children to school will also be an option.

The government is advising that the use of public transport by pupils is kept to an absolute minimum during peak times to reduce demand on the system and ensure that it is available for those who need it most.

You should not travel at all if you:

  • Are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms
  • Are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms or sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms
  • Are clinically extremely vulnerable and cannot shield during your journey
  • Have been advised by the NHS test and trace service that you should self-isolate

Dedicated school transport

Many children in Cumbria travel on dedicated school transport to get to school. On dedicated school transport:

  • social distancing will not apply
  • face coverings should be worn wherever possible while travelling, however these will not be provided
  • hand sanitiser will be provided on board all dedicated school transport vehicles and it should be used by pupils when getting on, and getting off the bus
  • children should try to sit within their school bubbles on vehicles, but this is not a requirement and will not always be possible
  • schools may have arranged a seating plan on the vehicle, you should make sure your child is aware of this, and follow the school instructions
  • hygiene, cleaning and reporting procedures have been put in place to minimise the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and risk assessments have been completed by transport services and schools.

If you do not intend to make use of a free or subsidised transport place for your child please contact school.transport@cumbria.gov.uk providing the name, date of birth and school attended of your child.

More information about school transport.

Uniform

Full uniform is expected to be worn for all schools. Check with the individual school for the uniform requirements.

There is no need for anything other than normal personal hygiene and washing of clothes following a day in a school. Uniforms do not need to be cleaned any more often or differently than usual.

School uniform grants are available to support parents who have faced financial impact due to the coronavirus pandemic. The grant will help parents with uniform costs. 


School meals

As all pupils are set to return to school next month, the national voucher scheme for children on free school meals will come to an end.

Schools will provide free school meals as usual for those who are eligible.

The normal legal requirements will apply about provision of food to all pupils who want it, including for those eligible for benefits-related free school meals or universal infant free school meals.

Free school meals


Extra-curricular activities

Schools can run breakfast and after-school activities. Schools need to make sure these can be run safely, so they may need to run things differently and adapt over time.

You should talk to your child's school about whether or not they will be able to run breakfast and after-school activities immediately.

School closures (35)

  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Alston Primary School
    (ALSTON)
    School Closed except for Vulnerable and Key Worker Children
      01434 381213
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Fri 12 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Asby Endowed School
    (APPLEBY-IN-WESTMORLAND)
    National lockdown.
      017683 51154
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  09:00 on Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Beckstone Primary School
    (WORKINGTON)

      01946 830423
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Thurs 7 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Sun 31 Jan 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Bewcastle School
    (CARLISLE)
    Open to Key Worker and vulnerable children as required.
      016977 48662
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Mon 18 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Blackford CofE Primary School
    (CARLISLE)
    Open to Key Worker and vulnerable children as required
      01228 674614
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Mon 18 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Bowness-on-Solway Primary School
    (WIGTON)
    Covid-19 only open to children of critical workers and vulnerable children
      016973 51384
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  08:30 on Mon 11 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  08:50 on Thurs 18 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Braithwaite CofE VA Primary School
    (KESWICK)
    On site provision is open only to vulnerable pupils and children of key workers from 5th January. who should inform the school of their need of it in advance of attending Remote learning is in place and all children are expected to engage with this.
      017687 78356
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 12 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Brough Community Primary School
    (KIRKBY STEPHEN)

      017683 41284
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  08:50 on Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Crosby Ravensworth CofE School
    (PENRITH)
    Staff shortages due to public health situation
      01931 715265
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  09:00 on Tues 12 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  09:00 on Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Culgaith CofE School
    (PENRITH)
    The school is closed - It will remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children who can attend between 9:00 and 15:00.
      01768 88655
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Mon 18 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  07:45 on Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Derwent Vale Primary School and Nursery
    (WORKINGTON)
    School closed until further notice
      01900 601 233
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Fri 15 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Gosforth CofE School
    (SEASCALE)
    Due to Covid 19 national lockdown school is closed except to vulnerable / key worker children.
      019467 25244
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  08:50 on Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Holme St Cuthbert School
    (MARYPORT)
    Closed due to lockdown (open to vulnerable & critical )
      01900 881242
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Wed 6 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Sun 21 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Kingmoor Junior School
    (CARLISLE)

      01228 40 9715
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Kirkbampton CofE School
    (CARLISLE)
    School is only open for key workers and vunerable pupils within our risk assessment limits
      01228 576377
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Fri 8 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Sun 31 Jan 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Kirkoswald CofE School
    (PENRITH)
    Open for vulnerable pupils and key workers' children only
      01768 898461
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Thurs 7 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Lanercost CofE School
    (BRAMPTON)
    Temporary school closure due to Covid-19 lockdown
      016977 2702
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  08:00 on Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  08:45 on Sun 31 Jan 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Monkwray Junior School
    (WHITEHAVEN)
    Closed until further notice
      01946 696790
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Nenthead Primary School
    (ALSTON)
    School closed except for Vulnerable and Key Worker Children
      01434 381213
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Sun 14 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Newlaithes Infant School
    (CARLISLE)
    School will be open for children of critical workers and vulnerable due to lack of staffing.
      01228 525756
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Norman Street Primary School
    (CARLISLE)
    National Lockdown
      01228 210168
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    North Walney Primary, Nursery and Pre-School
    (BARROW-IN-FURNESS)
    School is closed due to coronavirus
      01229 471781
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Thurs 14 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Fri 22 Jan 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Oughterside Primary School
    (WIGTON)
    School is open for Key worker and vulnerable children.All other children are learning online.
      016973 20579
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Thurs 7 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  08:50 on Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Samuel King's School
    (ALSTON)
    School closed except for Vulnerable and Key Worker Children
      01434 381236
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Sun 14 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Scotby CofE Primary School
    (CARLISLE)
    The School is open for Key Workers and Vulnerable children only.
      01228 513270
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Seascale Primary School
    (SEASCALE)
    We are closing due to the COVID 19 virus.
      019467 28403
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Sun 31 Jan 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Shankhill CofE Primary School
    (CARLISLE)
    Shankhill is open for children of Critical Workers and our vulnerable children.
      01228 577264
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    St Bede's Catholic Primary School
    (CARLISLE)

      01228 528274
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  08:00 on Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  08:00 on Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    St Bega's CofE Primary School
    (HOLMROOK)
    School open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children only. Date of full reopening will depend on government instructions.
      019467 23259
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  09:00 on Wed 13 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  09:00 on Wed 24 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    St Bridget's CofE School - Whitehaven
    (WHITEHAVEN)
    Open to Key workers
      01946 592940
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    St Patrick's CofE School
    (KENDAL)
    School closed due to current national lockdown. Parents are asked to check their email for further updates.
      015395 67388
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Thursby Primary School
    (CARLISLE)
    Closed except to vulnerable children and keyworker children under health and safety
      01228 711180
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Thurs 7 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Walton and Lees Hill CofE Primary School
    (BRAMPTON)
    Due to National Lockdown
      016977 2577
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Wed 13 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Tues 19 Jan 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Warcop CofE Primary School
    (APPLEBY-IN-WESTMORLAND)
    School will remain open for keyworker and vulnerable children
      017683 41471
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Tues 5 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  09:00 on Mon 22 Feb 2021
  • CLOSED TODAY:
    Yanwath Primary School
    (PENRITH)
    The school is closed for the national lockdown and only open as a HUB for Keyworkers and Vulnerable pupils. Nursery is fully open as normal
      01768 840 739
    CLOSED TODAY
    - CLOSED:  Fri 8 Jan 2021
    - RE-OPENS:  Mon 22 Feb 2021
full list  hide list