18 March 2020
Jersey’s Education Minister has made the decision to close the majority of Government of Jersey schools and colleges to students from Monday 23 March, to support efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Students’ last day in their school or college will be Friday 20 March with two weeks of closure rolling into the two weeks of Easter holidays, meaning the earliest estimated return date for pupils in Jersey is Monday 20 April.
The Children, Young People, Education and Skills department will use this month to determine if further closures are needed, based on health-led advice, and parents, carers and students will be advised in a timely manner should this become necessary.
The minister’s decision to close schools and colleges has been made in direct consultation with the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health and is fully supported by the Emergencies Council.
All students affected by the school closures will be continuing their learning at home with work set by teachers. Schools will be open to staff and for some selected year groups, principally: years 11 and 13; Highlands College level 3, year 2 students; students retaking their GCSEs at Highlands; and those who have summer exams. Exam students in other years will also be accommodated. Secondary schools are making arrangements for minimal disruption to these students, but if there is any then parents will be notified directly. In conjunction with this work, we are closely monitoring the situation with the various examination boards.
The Government is also exploring remaining open for some children attending specialist settings with more details being announced later this week.
The minister is recommending that private schools and early years and childcare settings should also follow the Government of Jersey health care advice.
Parents and carers will be urged to support their children to practise social distancing to help avoid the spread of Covid-19 which includes restrictions on play dates, parties and all out-of-school activities and gatherings. This advice will be updated on gov.je.
The Government is also working across its departments to organise childcare for some essential workers. Wider work is continuing to ensure the safeguarding of vulnerable children and adults.
Minister for Education, Senator Tracey Vallois, said: “The decision to close schools has not been taken lightly. This will clearly have consequences for students, their families and the wider community hence our considerations around targeted support and advice. This is a proactive health protection measure, taken in the best interest of the public and wider Island community to assist in the effort to contain the threat of Covid-19.
“I appreciate this is an extremely challenging time for everyone. However, I cannot emphasise enough the importance of reinforcing the messaging around health advice from the Government of Jersey, including regular handwashing, and to read the new advice for parents and carers, when available.
“Abiding by these measures will save lives.”
The department of Children, Young People, Education and Skills will remain fully operational and will continue to provide support at this time, working closely with health officials. The situation is being kept under continuous review.
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