Aberdeen City Council has today (Tuesday 30 June) updated parents and carers on arrangements for the new school term in view of the Scottish Government’s revised plans for the reopening of schools.
The Council’s Education Service has been responding to Scottish Government advice over the last few months in preparation for a blended model of home and school learning as outlined in the Local Delivery Phasing Plan published on 12 June.
The Scottish Government’s change in approach, as announced on 23 June in Parliament, has led to existing plans becoming contingencies with the focus now being on preparation for the full-time in-school learning.
The Scottish Government is scheduled to confirm its plan on 30 July and, in the meantime, is expected to revise and publish physical distancing guidance for schools during the summer holiday period. This guidance will outline any adaptions required to school buildings and health and safety practices to ensure a safe return to school buildings for pupils and staff.
The Council wrote to parents today to outline the three possible scenarios its Education Service is working towards for 11 August: a 100% return with minimal adaptions to normal practice; a 100% return with significant adaptions to normal practice or a blended return to school should the scientific evidence not support a 100% return.
Councillor John Wheeler, Education Operational Delivery Convener, said: “I appreciate that this has been a period of uncertainty for all parents and carers and I’d like to thank them for their patience and understanding
“I would like to praise the hard work our central Education team and individual schools over the last few months which means we are well placed to respond effectively to any of the scenarios for the new school term”.
Parents were informed that a 100% return – with updated physical distance guidance – easy to implement will result in revised start date of Wednesday 12 August to allow two days for staff review plans to ensure safety. This will also result in smaller school groups in week one to familiarise pupils with the new processes. All pupils would then attend five days per week from the following week onward.
A 100% return with physical distancing requiring substantial change to health and safety practices could, if absolutely necessary, delay opening of schools by a few days to ensure safety although it is hoped the detailed planning that has already been undertaken will avoid such an outcome.
The council plan published on 12 June will come into effect if a return to the blended model is required.
Aberdeen City Council will continue to notify families over the summer period to keep them updated on the impact Scottish Government decisions on the new term