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Back to School Safely

Image depicting child returning to school safely

We are excited to welcome students back to schools and University College Isle of Man (UCM) during the next week and hope that everyone has had a happy and safe summer break.

Returning to school and UCM, is a busy time in any year, but it is understandable that during the pandemic there may be more anxiety than usual.

Education is an important part of a young person’s development, providing opportunities for both learning and socialisation, it is therefore important we get students back to their classrooms safely.

The Department for Education, Sport and Culture (DESC) has been working closely with Public Health Isle of Man and with head teachers to ensure a number of proportionate measures are in place to reduce risk.

All schools and the college will maintain balanced protective measures when students return, in order to keep students and staff safe. Our aim is to minimise the need for restrictions as far as possible, which means it is important for all staff, and the students of UCM and secondary schools to continue regular COVID-19 lateral flow device (LFD) testing.

It is hoped these measures will help keep our Island’s schools and college open for face-to-face education. While the risk of COVID-19 cannot be dismissed, our aim is to help students, staff and parents return to school confidently and happily – with a sense of wellbeing and excitement, not anxiety.

I wish all students a happy and positive first term back,

- Graham Kinrade

Chief Executive for Education, Sport and Culture

 

A safe return to schools

Overview of measures in place for the new school term

Hands:

  • Primary and secondary school staff and students, as well as those at UCM will continue to be encouraged to wash their hands regularly
  • Increased signage is in place to remind students of the need to maintain strong hand hygiene
  • Handwashing and sanitisation facilities will be provided at all schools and colleges

Face:

  • Students at secondary school and UCM are encouraged to wear face coverings in school buildings and buses
  • Staff at all primary and secondary schools and UCM are encouraged to wear face coverings in school building and buses

Space:

  • COVID-19 is at higher risk of transmission in confined and crowded spaces. Individual schools may introduce one way systems, change the physical set up within classrooms, or introduce other methods of increasing space to minimise risk
  • Schools will also maintain good environmental hygiene in all areas

Fresh Air:

  • Carbon dioxide monitors will be installed in classrooms to support enhanced ventilation
  • Increased ventilation across all spaces

Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Testing

  • Secondary school and UCM students and staff are asked to take two LFD tests each week at home, starting the week before they return
  • Anyone who receives a positive result should isolate immediately and book a PCR test online or by calling 111
  • LFD kits can be ordered free of charge online or collected from participating pharmacies
  • Remember to log your lateral flow test result here, if you can.

Monitoring for symptoms

  • If any student feels unwell or develops any COVID-19 symptoms they should not attend school, stay at home, notify their school and follow the latest Public Health advice

The symptoms of COVID-19 include a TEMPERATURE of more than 37.8’C, a new, PERSISTENT COUGH, shortness of BREATH, or the LOSS or CHANGE of smell or taste