Schools affected by staff shortages in North Yorkshire are being supported in their decisions on whether to reopen for face-to-face teaching.
The County Council is currently helping schools decide whether they have enough teachers to safely reopen to pupils. Updated risk assessments have been provided to schools to help them in their decision-making.
Children and Young People’s Services are advising all schools to follow current Department for Education guidance on opening. In North Yorkshire, all primary schools were due to open from the first day of term, the week commencing January 4.
The start of the school term for secondary and college students has been staggered; with vulnerable children and children of critical workers returning to school the week beginning January 4, including students attending special schools or Pupil Referral Services.
Children in exam year groups – Years 11 and 13 – are due to return to school on January 11 for face-to-face teaching and all other year groups are due back from January 18.
The current open plans may be subject to change, dependent on government review, and the County Council will continue to monitor Government guidance closely.
In cases where schools decide to remain closed due to staff shortages, Children and Young People’s Services will be supporting schools to make sure they can deliver remote education to pupils. Schools are being encouraged to try and organise some face-to-face support for the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils, in order to support families wherever possible.
Jane le Sage, Assistant Director for Inclusion said: “We understand parents will be concerned about sending their children back to school but schools in North Yorkshire are operating in line with government guidance to provide a safe environment. Special or Pupil Referral Service schools have the option of agreeing with parents that individual pupils can stay at home during the week beginning January 4, but with the aim should be that all pupils in special schools, or Alternative Provision, are back in school by the second week of term (on or after January 11, 2021).
“Current guidance states that pupils and students, who are clinically extremely vulnerable and live in tier 4, are currently being advised by the Department of Health and Social Care not to attend their educational setting but to access remote learning.”
Cllr Patrick Mulligan, Executive Member for Education and Skills said: “We are in a rapidly changing situation as we deal with the fresh challenges of the pandemic and are working hard to minimise disruption to pupils’ education.
“The county’s schools have comprehensive arrangements in place for online teaching for those children who are not receiving face-to-face teaching in the first weeks of January and for those children who are in school, we continue to have robust safety measures in place.”