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Covid-19: Phased return for school children to start next week

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A phased return to schools and University College Isle of Man (UCM) will begin on Monday 12 April when staff are allowed back to their classrooms to prepare.

This will be followed by a gradual and phased return of children and young people from Tuesday 13 April. Students have been taught online by their teachers since schools were closed due to rising cases of coronavirus and this will continue until schools fully reopen. 

The current proposals will see different groups return first in primary and secondary schools with the situation under constant review. In primary schools vulnerable children and those of essential workers will be allowed back first. The updated criteria for essential workers has been published on the Government website.

Essential workers hold jobs that are considered critical to the Island’s COVID-19 response or in one of the sectors listed on the website.

Parents who believe they qualify are asked to contact their child’s school on Monday 12 April to secure a place, but should only do this if they meet the criteria and have no alternative childcare provision available to them.

In secondary schools selected Year 11 and 13 students will also be welcomed back from Tuesday 13 April. The year groups have been prioritised due to the cancellation of summer exams and to allow them to work with teachers to complete the work that will determine their summer grades by 21 May. Students in these year groups should only attend after they have been contacted by their school.

Dr Alex Allinson MHK, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, said:

‘We are working closely with headteachers to ensure the schools and UCM are as safe as possible when they reopen next week, this includes social distancing being in place on 13 April for all children and young people. The phased and gradual approach will mean we can pause or make changes quickly if needed.’

Under current proposals all children and young people could return to school from Monday 19 April but this decision will depend on the latest data and advice from Public Health.

Childminders, nurseries and playgroups are in a similar position and Government is working with providers to ensure their reopening is aligned with schools.