Thousands of youngsters across Harborough are gearing up to go back into schools throughout the district

Schools such as Robert Smyth Academy and Welland Park Academy in Market Harborough have been working flat out putting measures in place to make them as Covid-safe as possible

Friday, 5th March 2021, 10:52 am
Updated Friday, 5th March 2021, 10:54 am

Thousands of youngsters across Harborough are gearing up to go back into schools throughout the district on Monday (March 8).

Schools such as Robert Smyth Academy and Welland Park Academy in Market Harborough have been working flat out putting measures in place to make them as Covid-safe as possible.

The concerted coronavirus crackdown includes deep cleaning, carefully-planned seating arrangements, updated guidance and imposing social distancing.

Dan Cleary, the head of Robert Smyth Academy on Burnmill Road, Market Harborough, said it will be “brilliant” to get all of his students back into class on Monday.

Pupils, parents and carers are also being urged to do all they can to help cut the spread of infection when the school doors reopen after being shut to the majority of children since the start of January.

Cllr Deborah Taylor, lead member for children and families at Leicestershire County Council, said: “We’d firstly like to say a huge thank you to our children, young people and their families, as well as all our school staff, for bearing with us and continuing to learn and teach during these unusual, and often challenging, times.

“We know many of our pupils are looking forward to learning in school again and finally seeing their friends and teachers in person.”

But she stressed: “However, now schools are opening their doors fully again, it’s vitally important we all play our part to help reduce cases and stop the spread of coronavirus.

“There are simple things that can be done.

“Following the guidelines set out by your school and ensuring your children are practising good hand hygiene can all help.

“We are also asking families to consider walking, cycling or scooting to school to stay healthy and help maintain social distancing.”

Children in secondary schools will be offered a lateral flow test before they return.

And they will have a total of three tests in school before moving to home-testing in a bid to keep schools free of Covid-19.

School staff in both primary and secondary schools will continue to take tests twice a week to ensure they are infection free before coming into contact with pupils.

There are also plans to roll-out regular home testing for families of school-aged children.

You can get more information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/all-households-with-children-of-school-aged-to-get-rapid-covid-19-tests-per-person-per-week

“Please do look out for specific information from your child’s school with regards to start times, pick-up and drop-off guidance etc, and do speak to your school if you have any concerns,” said the county council.

More general information about returning to school in Leicestershire is available here: https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/educating-childrenYou can access hints, tips and resources about managing worries and anxiety, structured routines and keeping fit and healthy at: https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/wellbeing-at-schoolMore information on sustainable ways to travel to school is available on www.choosehowyoumove.co.uk/covid-19-back-to-school/Dan Cleary, the head of Robert Smyth Academy on Burnmill Road, Market Harborough, said it will be “brilliant” to get all of his students back into class on Monday.

“Kids need to be back at school.

“They need to be back socialising and seeing their mates day in day out,” Dan, who has about 1,000 youngsters aged from 11-18, told the Harborough Mail when the return to school was announced.

“It’s so important for the kids’ futures that they are back in the classroom being taught face-to-face.

“It’s absolutely critical.

“We have all missed a lot of things during national Covid lockdowns over the last year or so.

“Children returning to school is an absolute essential – it’s critical,” said Dan, who has been teaching the children of key workers as well as vulnerable youngsters.

“I’ve got children myself and they have to go back to school, they can’t wait.

“It’s a big part of the social contract in this country that we do our very best for our future generations.

“We need to give our students a solid platform to build on and to do well.

“This is all about educational opportunity and development.

“That’s what we have schools for – to give our children the best possible chance in life.”