Schools in Liverpool have been advised they can start admitting children again – providing they have the capacity to do so safely.
Headteachers have been contacted by Liverpool City Council to inform them that it is now considered safe for them to look at taking in pupils who are not the children of key workers.
Mayor Joe Anderson said: “Over the last few weeks, our schools have been carrying out comprehensive risk assessments and putting in place measures to ensure children could return to lessons when it was safe to do so.
“I am now confident that it’s safe for our children now to have a phased return, and schools will be in touch with parents about their plans and which year groups they are able to take in.
“It is really important to understand that the timing of this will vary from school to school, and will depend, for example, on how many ‘bubbles’ they are able to accommodate in the space they have available to them, and how many staff they have who are shielding.
“Parents will be informed about what safety and distancing measures are in place by their school to manage the safety of their children, and it is then up to them to decide whether to send their child. We want to be absolutely clear with parents that there is no pressure on them to do so if they have concerns.
“We will continue to work with school heads, staff and trade unions and remain vigilant.”
Director of Children and Young People Services, Steve Reddy, said: “Education is so vitally important to the future of all of our young people, and we all want them back in school as soon as possible.
“We now believe, following advice from public health colleagues and the preparatory work schools have done, that now is the time to allow more children to return.
“Since the start of June, all schools in Liverpool have been open for the children of key workers and vulnerable children and we are now at a stage where we can start to extend it.
“I also want to pay tribute to all those working to support our children and families across all phases of education, who have worked so hard throughout the lockdown period.”
Matt Ashton, Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, added: “I am fully supportive of this position, given the lower levels of infections we are now seeing, the low risk to children of COVID-19 and the strong partnership work on phased returns and risk assessment on a school-by-school basis.”