SCHOOLS will be armed with appropriate levels of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect staff as they reopen from next Monday.

Following a Government announcement last month, June 8 was decided as the earliest possible date for the start of a phased reopening of schools in the town.

This will first involve primary school children in reception, year one and year six.

Council chief executive Steven Broomhead says the most important thing is ensuring sites are safe and clean for staff and pupils.

He also confirmed risk assessments on each school in the town – more than 80 in total – are being carried out.

They will be considered by a council panel chaired by Mr Broomhead this week.

He said: “Within that risk assessment they have to show that they’ve got high class cleaning regimes, making sure there are high standards of continuous cleaning inside the school when it is open again for pupils.

“Also, we have agreed that every school will have an appropriate amount of PPE to support their reopening.

“For me, the most important thing here has got to be being safe and clean for both staff and the pupils.

“Schools are also going to write to parents to make sure that they can be confident about the nature of the school environment that people are going back into.

“We are taking a very careful approach to this and obviously making sure we discuss it at every step with our trade unions.

“The aspirational date is June 8, some schools may open after that date of course.

“But, from June 8, the town will start to see schools reopen to certain year groups.”

Primary pupils returned to some schools in England today, June 1, although many parents are reported to have kept their children at home due to safety concerns.

The Government has provided guidance and support to schools, colleges and childcare settings on implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings to help them to reduce the risk of transmission as more children and young people return.