New face mask advice for primary and secondary students returning to school in Sheffield

Schools in Sheffield will be using protective bubbles and safety measures to keep children safe when they return this week.

By Dan Windham
Monday, 31st August 2020, 2:48 pm

Students in Sheffield are due to return to school this week after the coronavirus pandemic.

Sheffield City Council has revealed that there are a number of measures in place to keep children safe, including staggered start and finish times to help with the flow of pupils.

According to the council, children will be washing their hands more regularly, social distancing in places where it can be and contact tracing when there are positive cases.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson washes his hands at a sink in the playground (Photo by STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Parents have also been reminded that there will be sanctions, including fines, for non-attendance or term time leave and schools will be recording attendance.

Sheffield Director of Public Health, Greg Fell, has also advised all secondary schools, further education colleges and Universities that face coverings should be worn by pupils and staff in communal areas and corridors.

However, he said it is not necessary to wear them in the classroom.

A spokesperson said: “If your child goes to secondary school you should provide them with a face covering. You may also be asked to wear a face covering if you need to go inside a primary or secondary school.

“Face coverings do not need to be worn by pupils in primary school settings.”

A “rota system” limiting the number of pupils going to secondary schools at any one time could be used for local lockdown zones, while teachers and students may need to wear face coverings in communal areas, according to new Government guidance.

The staggered approach will reduce how many people students come into contact with, helping to break transmission chains by giving enough time at home for symptoms to become apparent, said the Department for Education (DfE).

If a coronavirus case is confirmed, every pupil in the affected person’s class, or “bubble”, may have to quarantine for two weeks, it added.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said any changes to school attendance “will only ever be an absolute last resort”.

He added: “However, it is important that both Government and schools prepare for a worst case scenario, so this framework represents the sensible contingency planning any responsible government would put in place.”

The lengthy guidance said schools should base their plans on a four-tier system, and the extra measures for secondary schools should kick in at the second tier.

It said: “Schools should ideally operate a rota system that means pupils spend two weeks on-site followed by two weeks at home.

“However, schools can choose to operate a one-week rota (so, five days on-site, followed by nine days at home) if this is necessary for the effective delivery of the curriculum.”

The guidance added: “In all areas of national government intervention, at schools where students in year seven and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.”