Full opening of schools in September - advice for parents and carers

From September, all pupils are required to return back to school unless they or a member of their household is currently self-isolating.

We understand that returning to school might be a concern for some pupils and their parents and we are working closely with colleagues within the health service and our schools to ensure that any reassurance and support that might be required is available.

Local authorities and schools have a range of legal powers to enforce attendance if a child or young person misses school without a valid reason.

Dorset Healthcare has put together a short video about preparing for starting back at school and how to make it a little easier.


We have contacted parents and carers of children about the arrangements for the safe return to schools in September. However, if you have any queries please contact your school's SENCO or there is advice and information through SENDIASS.

Out of hours schools services

The Government confirmed that Out of School provision (e.g. breakfast and after-school clubs) can open to all children from the beginning of the school summer holidays. All providers will be expected to complete a risk assessment to identify how they will be organising space, staff and grouping of children to minimise risks. They have all been issued with guidance to help them to organise their provision to be as safe.

The type of protective measures they put in place will depend on their individual circumstances, such as the type of the activity they offer (for example whether children will be moving around rather than sitting at desks), the size and layout of their premises, and whether the activity is being held indoors or outdoors.

The key measures that every setting should have in place are:

  • minimising contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms do not attend their setting. This also applies if a member of their family has symptoms or if they have been advised by NHS Test & Trace as ‘a close contact’ to isolate at home
  • encouraging staff and children attending to clean their hands more often than usual, including before and after activities and before and after using toilet/washroom facilities
  • ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach
  • cleaning frequently touched surfaces more often than usual using standard products, such as detergent or bleach
  • increased frequency of cleaning of toilets and washrooms
  • minimising contact and mixing between groups of children by altering the environment to allow for social distancing between children and keeping children in small consistent groups.

Before sending your child to a setting, you will want to ask providers what measures have been put in place to keep children, staff members and parents or carers safe, and any practicalities you need to be aware of such as collection and drop-off times and whether your child should bring their own water bottle or lunch to the setting.

You should not send your child to any setting if they are showing any signs or symptoms of Coronavirus, including a new, persistent cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste of smell (anosmia).