Back to School on August 12

By bellmannews / July 30, 2020
Frontage of Mackie Academy

From Aberdeenshire Council communications team

Aberdeenshire’s schools are set to open full-time for all pupils in August following an announcement by the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government’s Education Recovery Group has been reviewing the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic restrictions and specific consideration has been given to evidence and data relating to transmission among young people.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services team had previously published a Local Delivery Phasing Plan which will be now be used as a contingency plan should any further closures be required.

At present, the service is working towards fully re-opening schools from August 12 in line with the latest announcement.

Director of Education and Children’s Services, Laurence Findlay said, “I would like to thank all colleagues who have been working so hard in recent months to develop local guidance based on a rapidly evolving situation. This has not been easy, but our teams have really risen to the challenges presented to them.

“We are pleased to have some clarity now around the full-time return to school. The local contingency planning done will help us to consider the revised national guidance on preparing for the new term and I’d like to reassure young people, parents and staff there will continue to be an emphasis on hygiene, health and safety as well as wellbeing as we get started. I’d also like to wish everyone well for the school year ahead – we are very much looking forward to welcoming you back to Aberdeenshire’s schools.”

Cllr Gillian Owen, Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “The last few months have been very testing for Education and Children’s Services, but the resilience shown has been remarkable. An excellent example of this has been the key worker childcare hubs that will continue to provide learning, support and supervision right up to the end of the summer holidays, enabling colleagues across Aberdeenshire to provide assistance to those who need it most.”

Committee vice chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce said: “It’s great we can all now look forward to the start of the new school term. Please remember it’s ok to feel nervous and we’ll be doing everything we can to support and reassure our young people as well as our staff. “I would also like to commend our Educational Psychology Team, who continue to provide telephone support over the summer holidays to anyone with a wellbeing or education concern. They will continue to be invaluable in helping children and young people in making the adjustment back to the classroom.”

Head of Education Vincent Docherty said: “Parents and carers can be assured that safety is a key priority. The return to school has been agreed on the basis of the virus being suppressed to sufficiently low levels and we will do our utmost to ensure schools are safe and clean so that parents can have confidence the risk of infection is low.”

Head teachers will continue to keep parents and carers updated on specific arrangements for their school. Any phased return arrangements during the first week back should already have been highlighted.

Aberdeenshire’s schools will open from Wednesday, August 12. Monday, August 10 and Tuesday, August 11 will be in-service days to allow for additional preparation for staff. The in-service day previously arranged for Thursday, November 19 has been cancelled.

The five days holiday missed by bringing this year’s school term forward will be taken next June, with effect from Monday, June 28, 2021. This makes for a seven-week summer break next year.
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