Students in Jersey return to school

Pupils in Jersey return to school today - despite concerns about student and staff safety.

It comes on the day after the Education Minister, Senator Tracey Vallois quit her ministerial role saying she “does not accept” the expertise of the government’s STAC committee which determined schools are safe for teachers and pupils.Senator Vallois had previously warned that plans could change, with the situation under daily review.

However, at the school gates this morning, primary school parents were pleased to see their children returning to the classroom.

The start of term was pushed back by a week, until 11 January, to give the government time to introduce a coronavirus testing programme for all school staff and students in Years 11, 12 and 13.

With more than 5,000 staff and students eligible for the testing programme, the island's Education Minister says she is "confident that all schools will be as prepared as possible to deal with Covid positive cases". Jersey's Deputy Medical Officer of Health is reminding those doing the school drop-off or pick-up to keep a distance of at least two metres from the school gates and from other families.

Dr Muscat is "strongly advising" people to follow the government guidelines and avoid household mixing at home and in gardens.

This means that you should not go into other people’s homes or gardens, which includes any after-school play arrangements or parties with school friends. This is because private homes are not controlled environments unlike schools, nurseries and colleges where safety plans and risk assessments have been put in place to protect children and adults.

Dr Ivan Muscat, Jersey's Deputy Medical Officer of Health

Islanders are also reminded that gatherings in outdoor public places must not exceed 10 people.