PUPILS across Essex have been returning to school for the first time in weeks as lockdown measures begin to be eased.

Last month the Government announced schools across the country would be able to welcome back pupils who had been staying at home.

Across Essex 430 schools had remained open for children who are vulnerable or whose parents are essential workers.

It saw 4,404 children continue to attend school during the pandemic with 1,222 of those classed as vulnerable.

Primary schools, nurseries and early years settings will be open to more pupils from today, June 1.

They will reopen their doors to more pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

Secondary schools and colleges will be able to open to more students from June 15 .

A spokesman for Essex County Council said: “In Essex, we have been supporting schools and settings to develop their plans for wider opening.

“Each school and setting has made their own decision on how they will respond based on the completion of a thorough health and safety risk assessment.

“This means that not all schools and settings will open full time to all pupils who are now eligible to return from June 1.

“We do not yet have a full picture, but our current indications are that between 75 and 80 per cent of Essex primary schools will open to more pupils in some form from June 1, while 20 per cent are indicating they will not.

“Schools and settings are responsible for communicating with parents and their setting’s wider community about their individual decisions.

“All schools and settings will continue to remain open for the children of critical workers and vulnerable pupils.”

Children can attend if they:

  • are in year group now eligible to return
  • are a vulnerable child from any year group
  • are a child of a critical worker from any year group
  • live with someone who is clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable), including those who are pregnant

Children must not attend if:

  • they, or someone they live with are self-isolating because they have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • they are not in a group eligible to attend, even if they have siblings who are attending
  • they’re clinically extremely vulnerable and shielding (parents of clinically vulnerable but not clinically extremely vulnerable children should follow medical advice)
  • they or others can't maintain social distancing in their setting and they live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable and shielding

Do I have to send my child to school?

It is not compulsory to send your child to school or college at this time. You will not be fined if you choose not to.

Your school or setting will need to keep in touch with you so they can plan their provision.

You may wish to contact your school or setting to ask any questions you may have or seek reassurance.

You may change your decision at a later date.

For more information visit the council’s page on Schools opening: guidance for parents and carers.