Students’ last day in their school or college will be this Friday, with two weeks of closure rolling into the two weeks of Easter holidays, meaning the earliest estimated return date for pupils is Monday 20 April.
The Children, Young People, Education and Skills department will use this month to determine if further closures are needed, based on health-led advice, and parents, carers and students will be advised in a timely manner should this become necessary.
The minister’s decision to close schools and colleges has been made in direct consultation with the Deputy Medical Officer of Health and is fully supported by the Emergencies Council.
All students affected by the school closures will be continuing their learning at home with work set by teachers, the government has said.
Schools will be open to staff and for some selected year groups, principally years 11 and 13 who have summer exams.
Exam students in other years will also be accommodated. Secondary schools are making arrangements for minimal disruption to these students, but if there is any then parents will be notified directly.
The government is also exploring the possibly of schools remaining open for some children attending specialist settings with more details being announced later this week.
The minister is recommending that private schools and early years and childcare settings should also follow the Government of Jersey health care advice.
Parents and carers will be urged to support their children to practise social distancing to help avoid the spread of Covid-19 which includes restrictions on play dates, parties and all out-of-school activities and gatherings.
The government is also exploring the possibility of organising childcare for some essential workers. Wider work is continuing to ensure the safeguarding of vulnerable children and adults.
Education Minister Tracey Vallois said: ‘The decision to close schools has not been taken lightly. This will clearly have consequences for students, their families and the wider community, hence our considerations around targeted support and advice.
‘This is a proactive health protection measure, taken in the best interest of the public and wider island community to assist in the effort to contain the threat of Covid-19.
‘I appreciate this is an extremely challenging time for everyone. However, I cannot emphasise enough the importance of reinforcing the messaging around health advice from the Government of Jersey, including regular handwashing, and to read the new advice for parents and carers, when available.
‘Abiding by these measures will save lives.’