Headteachers in Cumbria want to reassure parents they will do everything that is realistically possible to fully reopen schools in September.

The Government announced detailed plans this week for the return of full-time education.

Schools in England have now been told to keep children in class or year-sized “bubbles” and avoid creating “busy corridors” when all pupils return, in an effort to limit the spread of the virus.

School leaders say it will be “very complex”, with each school needing to consider its own set of challenges, but that they will have plans in place for all eventualities.

Clem Coady, National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) regional secretary for the north west, said it was good to have a plan to work with and a degree of clarity of what the Government was asking of schools.

Given how schools have adapted in recent weeks, he hopes it will give parents confidence that school leaders are open to the challenges that have been set for September.

Mr Coady, headteacher at Stoneraise School near Carlisle, said: “Parents can be assured that schools will do everything that is realistically possible to ensure a return to school for all pupils in September.”

Schools now have two months to plan for a full reopening and also need to have contingency plans in place for what would happen in the case of a local lockdown.

Mr Coady added: “We’ve also got to bear in mind the amount of changes of direction from the Government about schools over the past three months. Plan A might actually be plan A come September so we’ve got to be ready to adapt our plans as necessary.

“The big question people are asking is, is it safe? Unfortunately we don’t have the scientific and medical data that the Government has, so we are not able to say it’s safe with any clarity. But it’s not our job to ascertain whether it’s safe or not, it’s up to the Government to communicate that to parents who want to know that it’s safe for their children come September.

“All we can do as schools is follow the guidance that is set and assume that the Government has checked that it’s safe and checked the data.”

The guidance warns that health protection teams could order the whole school, or all pupils in a year group, to self-isolate if schools have two or more confirmed coronavirus cases within a fortnight.

It says mobile units can be dispatched to schools to test anyone who has been in contact with the child, or member of staff, who has tested positive. Testing will focus on the person’s class, followed by their year group, then the whole school if necessary, the advice says.

Graham Frost, headteacher at Robert Ferguson School and Cumbria branch secretary of (NAHT), said: “Parents should rest assured that staff will do all they can to get to as near to normal school provision as they can but we are appreciative of the understanding that parents have as we try to achieve something that’s very, very complex.”

He said the guidance doesn’t fully take into account the challenges of confined spaces in schools, the size of corridors and confined school days.

“It doesn’t come across as a document that really fully appreciates the complexity of what they’re expecting us to achieve,” he said.

“To achieve getting all the children through a dining hall while maintaining bubbles means that most schools will have to run very long, extended lunch periods. You’ve then got to think about cleaning and staff that. It’s not as simple as the documents seems to suggest.”