Public Health - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Nurseries, pre-schools, schools and colleges

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic we have been in regular contact with headteachers and have issued frequent updates, as well as guidance on managing health and safety in schools, illness prevention and where to go for support. 

Back to school

Before the end of the summer term 2020, the government announced it was committed to getting all children back to school in September. Ahead of the start of term, it launched its #backtoschoolsafely campaign, to reassure parents, carers and students that schools and colleges are ready for their return in September.

Pre-schools, early years’ and out of school providers, and primary and secondary schools, across the Isle of Wight, are eager to welcome children and young people back at the start of the new academic year.

All settings are fully prepared to have them back, confident they have put in place arrangements to help prevent the spread of coronavirus infection. While those arrangements will vary from setting to setting, depending on the size and layout of their sites, the ages and number of children attending, the measures will include:

  • placing children in distinct ‘bubbles’ (groups) to be maintained throughout the school day
  • operating a one-way system around the school site
  • staggering the start and end of the school day
  • staggering break times
  • building time for frequent handwashing in the daily timetable
  • additionally, providing hand sanitiser in strategic areas of the building
  • frequent reminders to Catch It, Bin It, Kill It
  • additional cleaning of school buildings.

Parents and carers should be receiving communications from their early years’, out of school provider or school explaining the arrangements that will be in place for their children and young people.

Parents and carers should be aware that children and young people from different schools can attend the same out-of-school setting but providers, where possible, are encouraged to work with the schools that they attend to ensure they are kept in the same consistent groups or bubbles that they are in throughout the school day, as far as possible. This may impact on what is available.

Parents and carers are encouraged to visit gov.uk/backtoschool for information and practical guidance to help them plan for their children’s return to school.

Getting to school

Wherever possible, and for multiple health benefits, children and young people are encouraged to walk, scoot or cycle to school.

Keeping a safe social distance is important as you begin to go back to work and school after the coronavirus lockdown.

Government guidance will apply to home to school travel arrangements for Children and young people, eligible for school transport funded by the County Council. There is no requirement for social distancing but there will be a set of controls that will apply, such as use of hand sanitiser and where possible sit in year groups. Face coverings for pupils over 11 are recommended. Enhanced cleaning will apply to vehicles being used on home to school journeys. Pupils who travel on public transport will be required to respect the social distancing measures on public bus services and, if they are aged 11 years old or over, must wear a face covering.

For general information about COVID-19 please visit the www.nhs.uk/coronavirus website which contains a link to the 111 coronavirus service.

Supporting Mental Health and Wellbeing

The council’s Educational Psychology Team (Hampshire and Isle of Wight Educational Psychology),  provides expertise, training and support to schools to enable them to help pupils to maintain good mental health and well-being. The Educational Psychology Team also has a telephone contact line which parents and carers can access for advice.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak affects everyone’s daily lives.  How a child or young person reacts can vary according to their age, how they understand information and communicate, their previous experiences, how they typically cope with stress, and the support systems they have around them.  During this time, it’s important that you take care of your family’s mental health.

Further information can be found in the government guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Early Years (0-4 year olds) and out of school (school age) - availability

Information about the Isle of Wight’s childcare services, including early years providers, nurseries childminders and out of school providers in your area can be found using our Local Offer online portal

More information about Early Year services including funding.

Parents or carers with a specific childcare requirement should contact the Early Years team on 01983 821000.