'Covid-anxiety' expected as schools reopen
- Credit: Mendip Green Primary
Students have returned to school today (Monday) marking the first steps back to normality as the Government begins its roadmap out of lockdown.
Secondary school pupils will have regular Covid testing, with three tests in school before switching to twice-weekly tests at home. Students will also wear face masks in classrooms where social distancing is not possible.
Primary pupils will not have to take Covid tests or wear masks. Students who are shielding have been asked to remain at home for a little longer.
Schools have reassured parents that 'rigorous safety measures' are in place to protect staff and students.
The Extend Learning Academies Network (ELAN) contains eight primary schools across Weston. Its spokesman has stressed how returning to school will benefit pupils with both their education and social skills.
Head of communications, Laura Elmont said: "We are proud of all of our children, families and staff for what they have achieved over the past year.
"School provides much more than lessons and education and we are ready to welcome everyone back.
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"Children have not seen their friends face-to-face in a long time and not been able to play together. Lack of social contact with your peers has a negative impact on mental health."
ELAN comprises Bournville, Locking, Oldmixon, Mead Vale, Mendip Green, Milton Park, Walliscote and Windwhistle primary schools.
Ms Elmont confirmed that 'rigorous' safety measures are in place and staff have been taking lateral flow tests twice a week since January.
She added: "Following government advice, our schools will continue to record attendance during the national lockdown and will follow up any absences of pupils.
"We are aware that parents may have Covid-anxiety and many of our children will have been isolated for a long time. Our staff are prepared to support children on their return to school via our recovery curriculum."
Weston College principal, Dr Paul Phillips said he was 'pleased to welcome back students' in a staggered format.
Dr Phillips said: "The college has mobilised testing centres at each of its sites and we will be inviting students in within their existing group or cohort bubbles on a phased programme.
"Once learners have completed their three tests they will be allocated a home testing kit where they will be required to complete two tests per week. Weekly testing will be in place until at least the Easter break."
Face coverings will also be required when moving around the college to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Dr Phillips added: "Whilst it is encouraging to see the significant fall in the rates of infection in North Somerset, the college is acutely aware of the need to stay vigilant and maintain the health and safety measures that have been in place since the start of the academic year."