THE director of public health has written a letter to every family sending children back to school.

Brighton and Hove’s health chief, Alistair Hill, has urged families to follow government guidance and minimise contact with other households.

Many schools are set to return today after an unprecedented nationwide shutdown in March.

Mr Hill’s letter, which has been sent to all schools and early years providers to distribute to families, says: “I know this continues to be a very difficult time for families. All the changes you have made to your daily life because of Covid-19 really do make a difference.

“Getting back to childcare, school and college is really important for our children and young people’s learning, social skills and wellbeing.

“As the new term starts it is vital that we work together to ensure our children and young people get back to – and remain in – childcare, school and college.”

Mr Hill states families must continue to follow the government guidance for households and minimise you and your child’s contact with other households.

Social distancing and excellent hygiene “must always be maintained” when visiting other households, he says.

He has reminded parents that staying overnight, including sleepovers and indoor gatherings plus children’s parties are not allowed for groups of more than two households.

The letter states: “Handwashing is still very important. Your child will be asked to wash hands more frequently when at nursery, school or college.

“Please also ensure this is always the first thing you and your children do when you arrive home.”

Families must not send their children to school if they, or someone in their household, is showing symptoms.

He said: “If the test is positive, follow the government’s stay at home guidance.

“It is also very important that you engage with the NHS Test and Trace service, so that they can help identify who you have been in contact with.”

Pupils and students should travel to school on foot or on bike “wherever possible”

He said: “If your child needs to travel to school by bus and is 11 years or over, they have to wear a mask – unless they are exempt.

“Please avoid travelling in cars with other households where possible. Many thanks for taking the time to read this letter.”