08 January 2021
Parents, students and school staff are being reassured and reminded of the public health guidelines ahead of opening schools next week.
The Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC) has advised the Education Minister and Department of Children Young People Education and Skills that students should go back to school on Monday, 11 January 2021.
The Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, is writing to parents and school staff today to reassure them of the health advice as well as reminding everyone to follow the public health guidelines outside of school.
Jersey’s Children’s Minister, Deputy Jeremy Maçon, and Children’s Commissioner, Deborah McMillan, and Group Director of Education Seán O’ Regan will also be sharing messages on the Government of Jersey social media channels today and over the weekend, ahead of children returning to school. The guidance will also be shared on TikTok and Snap Chat to reach young people.
Dr Muscat said: “It remains the view of STAC that the safest place for children is at school and the longer children are out of school, the more detrimental it is to their physical and mental well-being, educational outcome and as a consequence to their life chances.
“The review of school cases to date suggests that transmission in students is much more likely to have occurred in social situations, outside of school, where there are no controls for infection risk.
“Cases show a high likelihood that parties or household transmission where infection is passed between young people or from the parent to the child/young person are the main causes of infection.”
Dr Muscat has urged parents and carers and students to follow the current gatherings and public health guidance.
“As soon as your child leaves the school gates we strongly advise to continue to follow the gatherings guidance and to avoid indoor mixing between households.
“This means that you should not go into other people’s homes or gardens, which includes any after-school play arrangements or parties with school friends.
“This is because private homes are not controlled environments unlike schools, nurseries and colleges where safety plans and risk assessments have been put in place to protect children and adults.”
It is an offence to take part in a gathering of more than 10 people outside of homes.
Dr Muscat continued: “If you're meeting people outside of your home, including children meeting school friends, please remember that all gatherings in outdoor public places must not exceed 10 people.
“We would also remind parents and carers to keep a distance of 2 metres or more, especially when outside the school gates when dropping off or picking up children.
“We still face some challenging times ahead. Of course, many students will feel excited about going back to school but it is also normal for children to feel worried. Whatever the mix of emotions, please encourage children to talk to someone that they can trust: a parent or carer; or a teacher or support worker.
“We would like to thank parents, carers, students, and school staff for being so understanding and patient and we hope that this information helps to give them the reassurance and confidence that school is a safe environment for students to study.”