AS FAMILIES are preparing for some children to return to school next month, the Advertiser looks at what going back to the classroom could look like, based on guidance from Andover schools.

The Government has asked children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to be the first to go back, with a provisional date set for June 1.

We have looked at the published guidance offered to parents at two Andover schools, to see what the new measures might include.

Roman Way Primary School has published a 30-page risk assessment on the phased return to school, stating that a pupil’s place at school could be “withdrawn” if they fail to follow social distancing rules.

It will be introducing staggered start and finish times to reduce congestion.

A one-way system will be set up to enter the school, and all staff, parents and visitors will be asked to use anti-bacterial gel on their hands when entering or leaving the school building.

Parents bringing their children to school will be asked to accompany them to a drop-off spot on the one-way system, where a member of staff wearing a mask if they prefer, will ensure families are sticking to the two metre distance markings.

Pupils will have their temperature checked before they are dropped off, and will wash their hands and use anti-bacterial gel when arriving at school, with an allocated time for each year group to use the toilets.

Children will eat lunch in their classrooms, with no more than six children in each classroom at a time.

Desks will be placed two metres apart, and the area for the teacher to stand will be marked out on the floor.

Children will stay in class ‘bubbles’ and remain with the same children for most of the day.

Staff will supervise the playground to ensure, where possible, children stay two metres apart, and a social distance reward system will be set up.

The document states: “Staff’s default position must be to correctly model social distancing techniques at all times.”

Sanctions will be put in place for pupils who don’t follow social distancing rules, and their place in school could be “withdrawn if non-compliance continues/safety of others is compromised”.

They will be isolated if they cannot follow the rules.

Considering the emotional distress caused to families and children, the school will spend the first couple of weeks focusing on “supporting children emotionally”.

Teachers have phoned the children in their class, to identify which families are struggling emotionally or who have been affected by issues such as bereavement or furlough leave, so that extra support can be offered.

At Endeavour Primary School in Andover parents have been advised that “numerous measures” have been taken to comply with government guidance, to “prioritise the safety of the children, staff and wider community from the spread of Covid-19”.

However, the school added: “They represent our very best effort, but it is impossible to guarantee the safety of children and staff from a virus.”

The school said the “biggest challenge” will be social distancing, adding: “Children, especially the youngest children, find it very difficult to keep at a two-metre distance. This is especially the case with peers and in an environment in which they are familiar.”

Endeavour Primary School has planned to keep an “appropriate distance” between children and staff, but added: “However, it is not possible to mitigate the ‘human’ factor in this – that being that a child may still leave a designated area, or come close to and instigate physical contact with another child or adult. No plan could ever reduce the risk of contact between children and adults to zero, and therefore it needs to be made clear that this is the case.”

Pupils at the school will be placed in ‘bubbles’ with a maximum of 15 in Year R and a maximum of 12 for Year 1.

Desks will be appropriately spaces apart, and each bubble will have an allocated classroom and adults.

Children will be allocated their own desk and seat, along with a set of resources.

Bubbles will be isolated from other bubbles in the school, and children will stay in the same bubble.

The playground will be used on a timetable to reduce contact between people.

The school will use tape to mark out social distancing around the school.

If a child tests positive for Covid-19, the entire bubble and anyone who has had contact with that bubble, will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.