Leicester lockdown: What are the rules for schools?

Leicester has been placed back into lockdown following a localised surge in Covid-19 cases, forcing schools to close their doors to all but a handful of students once again.

The nation might think it has got the hang of the lockdown rules by now, but here is a little refresher for those suffering from coronavirus confusion.

-Priority groups only

Children of key workers can attend school but are allowed to remain home if their parents or guardians prefer and are able to make alternative arrangements.

Students vulnerable because of family circumstances are expected to attend school and those on an education, health and care plan due to their special educational needs are also expected to attend.

All other students are required to stay at home.

-Walk, cycle or scoot

Parents are asked to bring their children to school on foot, or encourage them to cycle or scoot wherever possible to try and cut pollution levels which might be linked to Covid-19 infection.

cycling
Children should cycle to school if possible (Chris Radburn/PA)

Families should avoid public transport, but if this is not possible then all those over the age of 11 are required to wear a face covering while travelling.


-Keep it clean

Schools must encourage regular handwashing and good hygiene among students, as well as teaching in small, distinct groups to reduce the risk of infection.

Teachers who fail in this duty can be threatened with having to listen to the Peppa Pig “wash your hands” song on repeat.

Buildings must also be cleaned thoroughly and regularly.

-Think flexibly

Schools and other establishments in each area are asked to work together to make sure every child who needs a space can get one.

Where necessary, places in a different school or nursery should be made available.

-Meals

All students who are entitled to a free school meal should get one – even if they are not allowed to attend school during the lockdown.

The Government suggests providing meals or food parcels via a school’s existing food provider, using the national voucher scheme or providing alternative vouchers for local shops or supermarkets.

-Curriculum

Schools have been told that providing children with a safe environment during the lockdown is the main priority, and that any teaching is a bonus.

The Department for Education guidance states: “No school will be penalised if they are unable to offer a broad and balanced curriculum during this period.”

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