Should I send my child back to school?
The government have announced that schools will reopen for certain groups of pupils on 1st June 2020, following the Coronavirus lock down. Faced with changing guidance and confusing and conflicting information from different media outlets, we know that parents are faced with an agonising decision as to whether to send their child back to school. In this brief post, we will summarise the current government advice and give you some questions to think about when making your decision.
The latest government guidance, which you can read here, states:
For children who have a social worker, attendance is expected unless their social worker decides that they are at less risk at home or in their placement.
For children who have an education health and care (EHC) plan, attendance is expected where it is determined, following a risk assessment, that their needs can be as safely or more safely met in the educational environment.
For children who are deemed otherwise vulnerable, at the school, college or local authority discretion, attendance is expected where this is appropriate.
We believe that there is no right or wrong answer and that parents need to make a decision based on their understanding of the government advice, in the context of their personal circumstances. Questions you should ask yourself when making your decision should include:
Does my child have a health condition that may increase their risk of severe illness from coronavirus?
Is somebody else in our household shielding due to a health condition?
Do I feel confident that my child's school have appropriate plans in place to directly address risks associated with coronavirus?
Do I feel confident that my child's school will support my child to understand the new measures, such as social distancing?
How has my child's wellbeing been affected in lockdown - would they benefit from a supported transition back to school to prepare them for full time opening?
Is my child suffering the effects of social isolation and would they benefit more from returning to school in a safe and risk assessed manner?
What preparation and support will my child need to reduce their anxiety around the transition back to school?
If you decide not to return your child to school, you should notify your child’s school or college as normal so that staff are aware and can discuss with you. The government have stated that parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time.
Transition is a particularly challenging area for autistic children and young people, so the return to school whether that is in June or in some months to come, will need to be carefully managed. Your child will need the right support to minimise their anxiety and settle back into a school routine.
Our brand new webinar "Coronavirus: Back to School" will cover how best to plan for a smooth transition and prepare your child for returning to school. This webinar is free for HACS members. For more information or to register your interest, check out our events page.