Schools in the Scottish Borders will re-open to pupils on Tuesday 11th August following an in-service day as planned on Monday 10th. Separate arrangements are in place for Jedburgh Grammar Campus, as is normal with the opening of any new school, with these details being provided directly to parents.
Individual school arrangements will be put in place to support new P1 pupils’ transition to school, which may include a slightly later start time on the first day. Support will also be provided to new S1 pupils to help with their transition to secondary school throughout the first week back.
The Council is keen to emphasise that while the school week and school day will be as normal there will be measures in place to ensure the safety of pupils and staff in line with Scottish Government guidance. This will include the need for regular handwashing and hand sanitising and good hygiene practices generally. Signage will be in place throughout schools to remind pupils and staff of the requirements.
In line with Scottish Government guidance, pupils will not have to social distance and face coverings will not be required in school. It is essential however that pupils do not attend if they or any member of their household has any COVID-19 symptoms.
Tracey Logan, Chief Executive of Scottish Borders Council, said: “We have been working on these plans for some time now and can reassure parents, pupils and staff that everything will be in place to make all our Early Years settings and schools as safe as possible. This includes significantly enhanced cleaning programmes, staggered break and lunch times for pupils where required and timetable arrangements to minimise pupil movements between classrooms in secondary schools. In line with current guidance, split and shared placements will not take place. We don’t know how long some of these arrangements will be required as this all depends on ongoing scientific and health advice. However, we will continually review them to make sure that we are providing the best possible educational opportunities for all our young people whilst meeting the requirements set out in the Scottish Government’s guidance. We understand that parents and carers will have a variety of questions and further information and guidance will be published from Monday 3 August.”
Ms Logan added: “It is vital to emphasise that this will not be a return to ‘normal’ and all schools will use the first week as an opportunity to provide a smooth transition to the new arrangements. We also recognise that our new P1 and S1 pupils have not had the normal transitional opportunities ahead of the new school year due to COVID-19, so our schools will be doing all they can to support them and parents in the initial week to make the transition as smooth as possible.”
School transport will also operate as normal from 11th August with no social distancing requirement or the need to wear any face coverings on dedicated school transport routes. Further detailed guidance on school transport will be provided by the Council on Monday to parents, carers and pupils. Information, FAQs and all communications on school reopening plans can be found on the Council website at www.scotborders.gov.uk/schoolreopening