Thousands of pupils across Staffordshire have returned to school today (March 8) for the first time in 2021.
Schools across the county have been busy ensuring they are ready to welcome more pupils, and have put all the measures in place to ensure children and young people can learn in safe environment.
One big change is the introduction of regular rapid lateral flow tests for secondary school pupils, school staff, and those in specific household or support bubbles.
Schools will be providing at-home testing kits to staff and secondary school pupils, while those in bubbles are being encouraged to get a test by collecting a home test kit from a government NHS testing site, or ordering a kit online through the government website.
Charlotte Ashton head teacher at All Saints Primary school in Ranton, said: “We’ve had challenges throughout this pandemic like most schools, but our staff and pupils have done everything with a smile on their face. As a small primary school we think of ourselves more as a family, and on Monday will be welcoming back our children with balloons and bunting to show them that we’ve missed them.
“Staff have taken regular testing in their stride, and it’s been really reassuring for us because they are so quick and easy to do, and means you can take the actions needed depending on the test result. In times like these, it’s about individual responsibility, and everyone looking out for each other.
“Education is more than just learning. It’s about people’s wellbeing, relationships, families and communities. We gain so much from being back together as a school. This pandemic has shown us just how important schools are, and the huge role they play in our communities.”
County Councillor Jonathan Price, Cabinet Member for Education said: “The way our schools have coped with every challenge that has been levelled at them, from ensuring their buildings are Covid safe, to putting together online lessons for pupils who aren’t in school, is nothing short of inspiring.
“Over the past two weeks since the announcement that all children would return to school, head teachers and school staff have been busy establishing the measures to ensure children can learn in as safe an environment as possible. The full opening of our schools has to be done in a safe way, and it is important that we all continue to follow the guidance at home and at school, and get tested regularly. By doing this, we can reduce any further disruption to other children and staff, and keep our schools open.”