Public Health officials have welcomed the return of students to the classroom as the new school term starts, stressing the importance of children and young people returning to some normality and benefitting from the education, social and health and wellbeing effects of the school environment.
After a year of disruption due to COVID, public health officials are eager to see children back in schools and are praising schools for the work they have done to keep young people safe.
Associate Director for Public Health at North East Lincolnshire Council, Diane Halton, said
“Our schools have done a really great job over the last year or so of keeping our children and young people safe.
“You cannot put a price on the value of a good education so I’m really pleased to see children returning to classrooms – they need to be back in school for their learning and also for the impact that schools have on their health and wellbeing.
“We have worked with local schools to advise on the best ways to reduce the spread of the virus, and there are lots of things individual students and their families can do too, to help prevent the virus ever reaching their child’s school. Whilst some measures have been relaxed, there are still things in place to minimise the risk of COVID. Nationally and locally there are systems in place to monitor and respond to cases.
“Over the last year we’ve seen the greatest transmission of the virus taking place outside of school settings, in family homes, workplaces and gatherings.
“By everyone in the family taking those simple precautions – hands, face, space – regularly, you are limiting the opportunities for the virus to spread and reducing the risk of your children carrying it into schools. By reducing the risk at home and elsewhere, you’re reducing the chances of the virus ever making it into schools.
“Please remember to also give each other plenty space waiting at the school gates, wash your hands thoroughly before leaving home and when you return and keeping windows open to get fresh air through if you are spending time indoors with people you don’t live with.
“The vaccine is also helping to reduce the risk so I really would urge those eligible in families to get two doses of the covid vaccination.
“We appreciate that some families might be worried about the return to the classroom and we would encourage parents to speak to their child’s school about this.
All education and childcare settings are being asked to continue to ensure that good hygiene for everyone, including keeping appropriate cleaning routines, occupied spaces are well ventilated, and that they follow public health advice on testing and managing confirmed cases.
The eight council-maintained primary schools and three early years’ settings in North East Lincolnshire are following the national COVID guidelines as provided by the Department for Education (DfE) as they open for the new term.
This will ensure consistency across all educational establishments in the borough as set out nationally by the Government. The impact on both staff and pupils will be closely monitored on a school-by-school basis and amended if necessary. In addition, all schools have their own individual risk assessments in place, which again are being monitored closely, with support from the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Team. These assessments cover such things as parent access within buildings, individual staffing issues and social contact.