Last updated: 2 September 2020
“Schools across Southampton have been hard at work over the summer and are eager to welcome all pupils back for the start of the new academic year.
“There is no substitute for a normal routine at school and there is now a wide consensus cutting across government, education and healthcare that returning to schools is important for young people’s academic and personal development.
“All Southampton education settings, supported by the council and in liaison with Public Health England, have been putting in place measures to ensure that teaching can continue while also minimising the risks posed by the virus. No two schools are the same which is why schools have been determining the right mix of measures for their setting. These may differ from school to school and could include, for example, placing children in distinct ‘bubbles’ to be maintained throughout the day, staggering start, end and break times, or providing hand sanitiser throughout the school building.
“In addition, following a meeting of leaders of secondary schools and sixth form and FE colleges, it has been agreed that all pupils and staff in these institutions will be expected to wear face coverings while on site when not in lessons. This will not apply to those who are not able to wear coverings due to their individual circumstances.”
“Schools have been in contact with pupils and their families and I am grateful for their efforts to ensure that everyone understands the changes to their school or college experience for the foreseeable future.
“Schools are doing all they can – and it’s up to all of us to do what we can to ensure that we continue to minimise the risks associated with the virus. This includes continuing to follow government guidance including around social distancing, post-holiday quarantining and abiding by Test and Trace.
“I’d like to once again thank everyone – from parents and carers to teachers and support staff – who stepped up during the Coronavirus pandemic to help children continue their learning journey. Finally, I’d like to wish all school pupils the very best of luck as they embark on a new school years after such a long period of disruption. We’re delighted to have you back!”