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Parents urged not to loiter and chat with other friends by school gates on June 1 return

PUBLISHED: 17:17 28 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:17 28 May 2020

The gates across  dozens of Suffolk primary schools will open on June 1, but parents have been asked not to stop to talk to each other. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

The gates across dozens of Suffolk primary schools will open on June 1, but parents have been asked not to stop to talk to each other. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

A handful of Suffolk primary schools are not expected to reopen their doors on June 1, it has been confirmed.

Suffolk County Council cabinet member for education, Mary Evans, said no parent would be pressured into sending their child back if they were not comfortable. Picture: GREGG BROWNSuffolk County Council cabinet member for education, Mary Evans, said no parent would be pressured into sending their child back if they were not comfortable. Picture: GREGG BROWN

However, at schools which do reopen parents are being urged not to loiter to catch up with friends while either dropping off or collecting their children.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that from June 1, reception, year one and year six pupils would return to school after the coronavirus lockdown, joining the children of key workers who are already being taught.

MORE: Bookmark the EADT Coronavirus topic page for latest updates

Schools have been carrying out thorough risk assessments and cleaning in preparation for pupils to return, and Suffolk County Council’s education team on Thursday said it was expecting most of the county’s primary schools to be in a position to open, although had heard from “one or two” which said they were not planning to open or needed a few more days.

But education chiefs have made a plea to parents to make sure they do not loiter when picking up and dropping off their children to socialise with other parents.

Mary Evans, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for education, said: “Some people won’t have seen each other for a while and they are used to having a good chat around the school gates, but I am afraid we cannot be doing that on Monday.

“People bringing their children in will have to drop them and then move away so that other parents can step into the playground.

“That is going to be hard for families which have not been able to see each other, but we need the parents to be setting the example.”

According to the council, school transport is in place for next week, and additional PPE stocks were being delivered to schools to help ensure safety for pupils.

Schools that wish to secure more PPE are also able to purchase stocks through the county council’s procurement channels.

Each school has made arrangements for social distancing and pupil and staff safety as much as possible, and education chiefs at the council said staff had worked “round the clock to make it happen”.

MORE: What questions are schools asking for the risk assessments?

However, it has been recognised that some parents will not feel able to allow their child to return just yet.

Mrs Evans said a letter had been sent to schools to pass on to parents, and more details would be available on the council website this weekend for them to make an informed decision.

She said: “This is a big decision for parents and families.

“We are putting basic information out this weekend so parents know where to look for the absolute information and then they know there won’t be sanctions against them if they feel it is just too early for their child and family just now.

“We want people to have the confidence that our priority is the safety of children and staff, and we have done all we can with the schools to ensure that is as smooth a start to children coming back. Nobody has got to feel pressed into it.”

For latest information from the county council on schools, visit the website here.

Stay up to date with latest coronavirus developments locally with the Suffolk Facebook page here or by signing up to the EADT daily newsletter here.


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