What are Suffolk schools doing to prepare for return of pupils after lockdown?
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From smaller group sizes and staggered entry, to separate toilets and PPE - schools in Suffolk are taking a range of measures to prepare themselves for the return of some pupils next week.
Students from reception, year-one and year-six will be able to return to school from next Monday under proposals unveiled by the prime minister a few weeks ago.
New measures being implicated for pupils include splitting pupils into smaller groups, known as bubbles, and limiting the number of days pupils spend at school.
Increased cleaning regimes will also be implemented to keep surfaces safe.
Unity Schools Partnership, which runs a number of primary schools in Suffolk, including Wells Hall, Place Farm and Abbotts Green, has got measures ready.
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Tim Coulson, chief executive of Unity Schools Partnership, said: “Unity Schools Partnership is ready to open all our 16 primary schools next week, but we are not yet in a position to confirm whether they will actually open until we know more about the government’s expectations.
“Social distancing measures have been created throughout schools – within classrooms, walkways and outside. Classrooms will be reduced to a maximum of 15 pupils and arrival and pick-up times and lunchtimes will be staggered.
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“As it stands, we are anticipating around 40% of our primary school pupils, within the 2,000 in the priority age groups, coming back to school next Monday.”
Some nurseries are also looking to go back from June 1.
One nursery provider with sites in Ipswich, Busy Bees, has confirmed it too will be making changes.
Nursery children will be split into close friendship groups and will have their temperatures checked on arrival.
Playdough, sandpits and water games are all out of the question for now but staff will be able to cuddle key children if they become upset and will only wear PPE for temperature checks.
Emily Brimson-Keight, Head of Safety at Busy Bees, said: “We have been working hard behind the scenes to prepare to open all centres, including those in Ipswich, since they first went into lockdown, and we are constantly sharing ideas and looking at best practice to ensure the personal and emotional wellbeing for children and team members when they return.”