HAMPSHIRE County Council has said that no "final decision" has been made about whether schools will reopen to some pupils on June 1.

The council have said that schools across the county are "currently analysing" advice given to them by the government, and "planning to make sure they can open safely".

However, they say the final decision "will be made by the Government and will be based upon an analysis of scientific advice, closer to that date [June 1]".

It comes after Liverpool City Council were the first to say that their schools will not be able to reopen in line with the Prime Minister's timescale.

Earlier this month, he set out his roadmap on how lockdown measures, first implemented in March, will be eased. This included a controversial plan that pupils in Years R, 1 and 6 will return to school on June 1.

It has since been widely debated by unions, teachers and parents, with some saying the guidance does not protect children, staff and families from coronavirus.

Now, Hampshire County Council have said that whilst schools are working towards that date, a final decision has not yet been made.

Councillor Roz Chadd, HCC executive member for education and skills, said: "Hampshire schools have been open for vulnerable children and the children of keyworkers throughout the Covid-19 crisis and we thank the teachers and support staff for all that they have done.

"The Prime Minister has set an ambition for schools to further partially re-open to specific year groups on 1 June 2020.

"The final decision to do this will be made by the Government and will be based upon an analysis of scientific advice, nearer to that date."

Pupils in reception and year 1 have been chosen as the first to go back to school as they are just setting out in education, are learning fundamentals and that there is more chance of them being left behind if they miss school.

Year 6 pupils are on the list because they are about to transition to secondary school, whilst years 10 and 12 will get some face-to-face contact with teachers to help them prepare for exams next year.

Class sizes will be reduced to no more than 15 pupils and desks will be spaced "as far apart as possible" to try and reduce contact between people. However, the government admit that "early years and primary age children cannot be expected to remain two metres apart from each other and staff".

Instead the following measures should be implemented by schools:

  • Avoiding contact with anyone with symptoms
  • Frequent hand cleaning and good respiratory hygiene practices (such as 'catch it, bin it, kill it')
  • Regular cleaning
  • Minimising contact and mixing

This could include classes being isolated - lunch breaks will be staggered so once pupils get to school, they don't mix between classes.

"It is still important to reduce contact between people as much as possible, and we can achieve that and reduce transmission risk by ensuring children, young people and staff where possible, only mix in a small, consistent group and that small group stays away from other people and groups," the DfE guidance says.

On top of this, timetables could change, lessons could take place outdoors, assemblies as well as drop-off and collection time staggered and school bus travel reduced.

Only one parent will be allowed to take their child to school and pick them up, and they won't be allowed to gather at the gates.

In school, one-way systems could be brought into force, or barriers placed down the middle of wide corridors.

Cllr Chadd added: “All schools have been asked to prepare for opening for these year groups and have been sent detailed guidance by the Department for Education.

"In Hampshire, headteachers and their staff are currently analysing that advice and planning to make sure they can open safely.

"If the Government confirms that schools should re-open on a phased basis, and continue support for vulnerable children and the children of key workers, each school will inform its parents and carers of the arrangements they are able to put in place, having conducted the necessary risk assessments.”