By Oxfordshire County Council

PARENTS, carers, pupils, teachers and school support staff are being praised by Oxfordshire County Council’s public health and education teams for their commitment to ensuring a safe return to classroom education, despite the continued national challenges of Covid-19.

Pupil attendance in all Oxfordshire schools is currently significantly higher than the national average.

For Oxfordshire maintained schools, it was 93.3 per cent on September 29, compared to 88.7 per cent across England.

Schools are working hard to carefully manage their Covid-19 safety measures.

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They are regularly communicating details to parents, carers and pupils by letter, social media and online virtual meetings giving parents confidence to return their children to the classroom, maintain attendance, and enhance their children’s wellbeing.

Headteachers and members of the council’s public health and education teams have put in place robust processes so that schools, colleges and early years settings can respond quickly and appropriately to a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19. 

Close contacts will be traced and advised to self-isolate at home.

Oxfordshire County Council education and public health teams are working closely with the school or provider to communicate any necessary actions to staff, parents, carers and pupils. 

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The county council has praised parents and carers for following safety guidance outside of school.

This includes keeping a least a metre apart from anyone not in your household, preferably two metres; washing hands frequently; wearing a face covering on public transport and in shops.

Parents are being asked to park considerately when they drop off and pick up their children.

If possible, park away from the school gate and walk the last few hundred metres to avoid congestion and avoid creating dangerous conditions for pedestrians. 

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The #Stopthespread advice is that if you do have symptoms of Covid-19, such as a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you must self-isolate and call 119 to book a test.

Children are being encouraged to walk, cycle or scoot to school where they can, so they can enjoy the benefits of being more physically active and to reduce short car trips.

County councillor Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, cabinet member for education and cultural services, has been leading the praise.

She said: “It is wonderful that our children are back in the classroom enjoying their education. 

“Parents have helped enormously, ensuring safe distancing, not crowding at the school gates and taking up our suggestion of encouraging their children to walk, cycle or scoot to school, where practical.

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“It’s been a fantastic team effort involving parents, carers, pupils, teachers, school support staff, and the council’s education teams.

“Together we’ve done everything possible to get children back into the classroom safely, to progress their education, wellbeing and wider development. Thank you.”