Schools across North Yorkshire will receive full support and bespoke advice from North Yorkshire County Council to enable them to decide whether they can reopen safely.
The County Council is following the guidance from the Government and advising schools to prepare to be open from June 1 at the earliest.
Some schools may be ready to follow Government advice to allow them to open from that date, but many will have staggered dates and approaches depending on their individual circumstances.
Each school will be required to undertake a risk assessment in order to plan appropriate safety measures for their specific circumstances.
This is to ensure each school can decide whether they can open safely. Whatever decision they take will be supported by the County Council.
These risk assessments will also inform the County Council if there are any schools in the county which cannot implement appropriate safety measures.
The council will work with schools, head teachers and the unions to support each school and the decision to open by the head teacher and governing body.
Parents will be encouraged to send their children to school. However, attendance has not been mandated by the Government. Parents will not be penalised for not sending their children to school during this time.
Stuart Carlton, Corporate Director of Children and Young People’s Service at North Yorkshire County Council, said:
We are advising schools to prepare to be open from June 1 at the earliest, awaiting Government confirmation that they will.
North Yorkshire County Council understands these unprecedented times may cause stress and anxiety, but rest assured we are here supporting schools and head teachers as best we can to make the correct and safest decisions in line with Government advice.
More than 200 schools in North Yorkshire remain open to vulnerable children and the children of key workers already.
Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said:
Councils have worked with all schools to keep them open throughout the coronavirus pandemic for vulnerable children and families of key workers. We know how vital it is for a child’s development to be in school, particularly for the most vulnerable children.
Councils are keen to support their local schools to get children back as soon as possible. However, the safety of children, their families and staff will always be the top priority.
As there are different COVID-19 infection rates around the country, schools and councils must be able to work together to decide how and when schools open to more children. Some areas may want to work faster than others.
Councils also need crucial testing data to be shared with them, to help enable greater confidence for teachers and parents around school openings, and powers to manage outbreaks in places like schools, care homes, businesses and communities if new COVID-19 clusters emerge.