Manx schools could re-open after Easter if Covid cases continue to fall

Public health experts will decide if schools are safe to reopen after Easter Credit: ITV Granada

Schools could reopen after the Easter holidays if the number of coronavirus cases continues to fall in the Isle of Man, the Manx Government has announced.

All educational and early year settings closed on Wednesday 3 March due to rising cases including some pupils and school staff.

''I thank everyone for their patience''....Manx Education Minister Credit: ITV Granada

Currently, the Isle of Man Government plans to begin lifting some restrictions on Tuesday 6 April and it is proposed that all schools and University College Isle of Man (UCM) will reopen for teaching staff on Monday 12 April - as long as Public Health agree it is safe.

A phased return for children could begin on Tuesday 13 April starting with vulnerable children and those of essential workers. Priority will also be given to young people in Years 11 and 13 who need to complete important work after all summer exams were cancelled.

I know it has been a difficult time and I thank everyone for their patience. The health and wellbeing of pupils and staff is our main priority and any decision to welcome them back will follow the latest health data and clinical advice.

Dr Alex Allinson MHK, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture

The Isle of Man Government says it is working closely with headteachers to develop ''clear strategies'' to safeguard returning pupils and staff and remote learning will continue to be provided until schools reopen.

The Government says it is working with childcare providers like nurseries, playgroups and childminders to ensure their reopening is aligned with that of schools.

The proposed timetable, subject to changes if the Covid rate rises, is:

  • Reopening schools on Monday 12 April for staff to prepare.

  • A phased return to primary schools for pupils from Tuesday 13 April - starting with vulnerable students and children of essential workers.

  • A phased return to secondary schools from Tuesday 13 April for selected year 11 and 13 students who need to prepare for practical assessments.

  • All other students to return as soon as the situation allows.

  • All dependent upon PH advice and levels of COVID within the community.

  • Updates next week when the picture becomes clearer.