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Returning to school in September

All children and young people over the age of 5 across County Durham will return to school in September 2020 (unless they need to self-isolate).


If your child or anyone in your household has symptoms of Coronavirus (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of/change in your sense of smell or taste) you must stay at home and arrange to get a test. See What to do if you think you have Coronavirus.

Schools and settings have been working hard to put measures in place to minimise the risk of infection, following government guidance - see Guidance for full opening - schools

These measures include:

  • robust risk assessments
  • organising children in bubbles (consistent groups) throughout the school day
  • implementing one-way systems
  • minimising movement
  • providing additional hygiene measures such as hand washing facilities
  • implementing school specific changes, in some cases to provide staggered lunchtimes and breaks or starts and ends of the day

Please check your child's school website or contact the school directly for further details about changes to the timings of the day, layout of the classroom, and for concerns specific to your child.

Returning to school safely

Coronavirus has meant that you may have been at home with your children for an extended period of time, and you may have some questions or worries about their return to school. 

You may have concerns about: 

  • your child settling into a new class, or for some, a new school
  • things that have happened to you recently as a family, including experiences of loss and bereavement
  • disruption to your child's learning
  • your child catching up with their classmates and making friends again
  • your child's safety, particularly if they have any existing health concerns
  • talking with your child about their feelings on returning to school
  • your own health and wellbeing, or other worries in the family

You can view a list of local and national support that is available on our Mental health and emotional support for children, young people and families page. Don't forget, your school and GP are also available to help.

Growing Healthy County Durham is made up of health visitors, school nurses and emotional resilience practitioners who can support you when your children go back to school in September. You can contact them on 03000 263 532.

They are hosting online drop-in sessions for parents. You can find details on:

Getting to and from school

We know how important it is that your child can get to school or college as safely as possible. We are closely following government guidance and working with school transport providers and local bus companies to make this possible. Find out more on our Getting to and from school page.

School activities

PE lessons

Your child will still be able to do PE as it can help to support their physical and mental health and wellbeing. Your school may ask that children come to school wearing their PE clothing on PE day or suggest new changing arrangements.

Dance and performing arts

Dance is part of the PE curriculum and will continue in schools.  Compositions and choreography with older children may be structured differently to include social distancing and 'bubbles' agreed within your school.

Swimming lessons

School swimming lessons are not available yet. Your school will advise if and when your child will be going swimming with their school in this academic year.

School games and sport competitions

Some in-school or virtual competitions might still take place, but cluster and local tournaments off-site are unlikely to be available.

After school clubs

Some after school sport clubs and activities will be available - however, they might be different to what your child is used to, to allow for social distancing.

Returning from travel abroad

If you or your child travelled and has to self-isolate as part of a period of quarantine, you must not send your child to school. You should contact your school daily and self-isolate following government guidelines - see Coronavirus (COVID-19) - how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK.

Child attendance record

Quarantining or self-isolating will not have an impact on your child's attendance record because you are following government guidance. See Addendum - recording attendance in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19) during the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

Contact us
County Durham Together Community Hub
03000 260 260
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