Supermarket-style queues and one-way corridors: Primary schools in England prepare to reopen from Monday

Schools will employ social distancing Credit: Jacob King/PA

Schools could have supermarket-style queues outside the school gates and children should expect divided playground areas as some pupils in England begin to return to the classroom from Monday.

The Government has given the green light for reception, year one and year six pupils to return to school from Monday after the five key tests required for easing the lockdown were met.

Schools in England are preparing to welcome back children, but a series of new measures will be implemented to ensure social distancing is adhered to in order to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Some schools will introduce new rules for parents to drop children off and will implement one-way systems in corridors.

Pupils won’t be allowed to sit next to each other and desks will be taped off to ensure two metres separates each pupil.

Hartford Manor Primary School in Cheshire is taking a “phased approach” by reopening to 100 more pupils over successive days from June 8.

Headteacher Simon Kidwell said parents will queue at drop-off and pick-up times, classroom windows will be open to ensure good ventilation, extra cleaners have been employed and water fountains, as “hotspots for transmission”, have been removed.

Desks have been taped off at some schools to ensure pupils social distance. Credit: PA

He said: “Social distancing for adults is going to be stringent, with a dropping-off system where parents will have to queue a bit like at the supermarket.

“The children will be kept in ‘bubbles’ of 15 to ensure social distancing between each other by using cones in the playground.

Bryony Baynes, headteacher at Kempsey Primary School in Worcester, said similar measures would be in place at her school, adding that corridors will have one-way systems and staff will be allowed to wear face masks if they want to.

A graphic showing the planned easing of coronavirus lockdown measures in England. Credit: PA Graphics

“Realistically, as I have said to parents, I can’t promise you that the little ones will be two metres apart at all times – they are four and five years old,” she said.

“If a child falls over, we are still going to pick them up and cuddle them.”

She added: “It will initially seem very strange to them, however, children are very resilient and as long as the staff greet them with smiles and they are with some of their friends, I think they will adapt to the new normal.”

Children abide by a traffic light system for social distancing when washing their hands at Kempsey Primary School in Worcester Credit: PA

Schools, colleges and other education facilities have been closed for more than nine weeks due to the Covid-19 outbreak, with schools only remaining open for vulnerable children and those of key workers.

The decision to reopen schools has sparked a furious row between the Government, teaching unions and parents as debate continues about whether it is safe for schools to reopen.

Schools have been closed for nine weeks during the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: PA

An ITV News poll found that more than half of parents would not send their pupils back to school despite them reopening.

Other research has found that local authorities of more than a dozen councils are advising schools not to open to more pupils from Monday.

Jackie Schneider, a music teacher in Merton, south-west London, said her school had taken the decision not to return until June 18 because of insufficient space for social distancing.

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