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Nurseries, schools, and colleges to remain open

04 December 2020

​All nurseries, schools and colleges will continue to remain open until the end of term as they are not subject of any of the new public health measures and guidance introduced this week.

Parents and carers, staff and trades unions should be reassured that the situation is under constant review and the latest medical advice from the Scientific, Technical and Advisory Cell (STAC), provided yesterday, reiterates the postion taken since re-opening in the summer, namely that nurseries, schools and colleges are the preferred places for children and young people to play, learn and socialise. 

The Minister for Education, Senator Tracey Vallois, said: “This half-term has been a really difficult period and I am extremely grateful to all the staff in our nurseries, schools, colleges, parents and carers, children and young people and officials for their dedication in working so hard and helping our educational establishments to stay open and stay safe.

“Medical professionals have advised that schools should remain open. Evidence shows that schools are not the place where Covid-19 has spread. The surge in cases in school pupils this term is being driven through socialising outside of schools.

“Schools, colleges and nurseries have worked tremendously hard to put the health and safety of children and young people first and feedback from many of them is that they want to remain open. If schools were to close, we know it has a huge impact on the loss of education and poses mental health and wellbeing challenges for children and young people. 

“In recognition of the concerns that some parents and carers have expressed, we will take a flexible approach to attendance and if any parent or carer has significant concern about attendance they should speak to their school.”

A letter from the Scientific, Technical and Advisory Cell will be issued to parents with the latest medical advice. Schools will continue to implement Covid-secure practices to keep everyone safe such as staggered break times, pick up and drop off, one-way systems and mask-wearing in hallways for older students. Some schools have also been reminding parents to keep a 2 metre distance at the school gates and encouraging the wearing of masks.

Nonetheless, it is recognised that increasing staff shortages in our nurseries, schools and colleges may, unfortunately, lead to the necessity to close some classes to ensure pupils’ and staff health, safety and well-being is maintained for all.

A new online service has been launched to provide young people in Jersey with free, safe and anonymous online mental health and wellbeing advice and support.
Kooth is open to all Islanders aged between 13 and 25 and overseas Jersey students, on or off Island, without the need for a referral. 

The Youth Service, Youth Enquiry Service, is also offering confidential support and advice to young people.

Children’s Minister Deputy Jeremy Maçon said: “There has been some fantastic work by the Department and schools to make sure nurseries, schools and colleges are safe and the medical advice says that schools should remain open. 

“Our survey with the Children’s Commissioner’s Office earlier this year, which more than 2,100 children and young people responded to, revealed the impact that school closures had on them and many parents were also fully supportive of keeping schools open.”

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