PPE being given to Dudley schools as they reopen
Packages containing masks, aprons, gloves and hand sanitiser are to be given to schools in one borough as part of measures to ensure children can return safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dudley Council will be providing care packages free of charge to schools in its borough as some children return from Monday.
The Government has proposed that pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 go back to school from June 1 at the earliest, with the ambition of other year groups in primary school returning before the summer break.
However not all schools have confirmed their reopening dates and some parents are not planning to send their children back even if the school is open.
Schools that do reopen in Sandwell next week will have classroom sizes limited to a maximum of 10 pupils.
Dudley Council said measures are already being put in place to maintain social distancing via the two-metre rule, with the personal protective equipment (PPE) only to be used in cases where Covid-19 symptoms are suspected.
All mainstream schools, including academies, and early years settings, including day nurseries, will receive one box of fluid resistant masks, one bag of 100 aprons, one box of large gloves and refillable hand sanitiser.
Additional PPE can be provided to all schools if required, the council said.
Individual risk assessments will be carried out for special schools, including pupil referral units, and PPE equipment supplied free of charge as required.
Councillor Ruth Buttery, cabinet member for children and young people, said: "Since the decision was taken to close schools to a majority of pupils, we have been planning for the day they could welcome more children back into school.
"Our education staff have worked tirelessly behind the scenes with colleagues in public health, corporate landlord services, the Revolution team, our headteachers and the department for education to ensure when able to, we could expand the number of children in schools safely.
"This has been a really positive, holistic collaboration with the children at its heart.
"I would like to thank everyone who has been working incredibly hard to get children back into the classrooms safely, and this donation of PPE equipment from the council will support social distancing measures being put in place at our schools."
Councillor Simon Phipps, cabinet member for procurement, transformation and commercialisation, said: "We want to reassure parents that the council is doing all it can to support the return of children to the safest school environment possible.
"We were donated large amounts of PPE from local firms which has all gone into borough care homes – so we have agreed an extra spend on PPE for schools in time for when children start to return from next week.
"Along with social distancing measures which will also be in place, it will hopefully put parents’ minds at rest that their children will be returning to a safe environment."
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