Lessons in marquees as students return to school

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Pupils in Years 6, 10 and 12 were being welcomed back to their schools today in small ‘bubbles’ of eight to ten children.

And teaching staff have been putting new layouts in place to make schools as safe as possible for returning pupils.

Plat Douet head teacher Phil Walker has even installed a large marquee in the grounds of the school as part of the social-distancing measures.

‘My school is about 50 years old,’ he said. ‘My classrooms aren’t huge. So I came up with the idea of a marquee probably about a month or so ago. The marquee is quite large: it is actually two marquees put together with a divide down the middle. One class can go in one side with two pods, each accommodating between 12 and 14 pupils.’

Meanwhile, Sam Cooper, head teacher at d’Auvergne School, said that the initial focus would be on students’ wellbeing after a difficult few months during which they had been separated from their peers.

He added: ‘There will be a heavy focus on wellbeing from the outset, making sure the students feel safe and secure. They are not coming back straight into maths and literacy. A lot of children and their families are quite anxious and we need to listen to them, hear what their experiences have been, if they want to share those, and give us a chance to reassure them that the best place for them to be is in school. If we don’t get them in the right head space they are never going to learn anything.’

Guidance for students planning to use school buses, which resume today, has also been issued – with passengers urged to ensure their AvanchiCards are topped up.

LibertyBus is asking those using the dedicated school buses to wear a mask or face-covering, keep windows open at all times and carry hand sanitiser to use while on board.

The company is also asking users to wash their hands before getting on and after getting off the bus and to take notice of on-board signage explaining the recommended seating plan.

As with the rest of the bus network, cash will not be accepted and vehicles will only operate at a maximum 50% capacity.

‘With only a small number of students going back next week, availability on buses is not expected to be a problem and we will continue to monitor capacities as more students return to school,’ LibertyBus said in a statement.

‘Our vehicles have been thoroughly cleaned and sanitised and this will continue after every morning and afternoon run, focusing on the areas that are touched the most such as the ticket machine, handles, push buttons and seat backs.’

Anyone planning to travel by bus should check the ‘school bus service’ link at libertybus.je as some services may be combined and others may not be running.

School buses to Les Quennevais will run on a request-only basis and anyone wishing to travel by bus must call LibertyBus on 828555 by 2pm the day before they intend to travel.

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