Back to school – Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, 28 August 2020

So over the next couple of weeks, we will be welcoming children back to school after what has been an incredibly challenging few months for parents, carers, children and teachers.

We know that returning to school is vital for our children’s education, their well-being bringing structure, routine, learning time, access to resources and of course, reconnecting with friends and teachers.

But I can share that as a parent myself; I recognize the concerns some of you may have, as your children do return to school. That’s perfectly natural, and we recognize that but I do want to reassure you, just that the amount of work that’s gone into making sure that our schools are safe for our children and our teachers to return to.

From the very beginning of the COVID pandemic and lock down, we have been meeting regularly with school leads, working out working out how we respond to the challenges both during lockdown of children’s education, access to electronic devices, hunger, right through to thinking about how we transition back into school safely.

But I would urge you, please do not hesitate to contact your school with any queries you have about transitioning back, and you can also contact us. At the council we’ve launched a resource hub with information to support parents, carers and children around preparing for the return to school. You can find it at www.bristol.gov.uk/backtoschool and information there will cover what to expect when schools open as well as specific advice for children, young people and those with special educational needs and disabilities.

Can we ask you please do not attend school if you, your child or anyone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus. You should stay at home and get tested. It’s also important for your child to understand what to do if they feel unwell at school. Make sure they understand that they need to tell a teacher or a member of staff, who will then support them to get home safely.

Please also be mindful to keep to the guidance within households and in social situations. This is just as important as the arrangements within school. The guidance currently permits you to only socialize indoors with members of up to two households. When you are outdoors, you should socialize in a group of no more than six people from different households or up to two households.

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you, teachers and school staff for your exceptional hard work over the summer, getting schools ready for the autumn term. And we also need to thank parents and carers for your cooperation and patience over the last few months. You know, warm welcome back to everyone. We can’t wait to see you back in the classroom, but rest assured we will continue monitoring the situation obviously, and we will be making decisions to support your safety and the safety of your teachers.

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