Restrictions eased but vigilance still required across Harrogate schools

Pupils and teachers across the Harrogate district are preparing to return to the classroom next week following the summer holidays.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd September 2021, 11:24 am
Students across the United Kingdom are set to return to the classroom next week with some easing of Covid-19 restrictions

As we enter the new school year, many Covid-related restrictions affecting the classroom will be lifted, however schools in North Yorkshire will still have strong measures in place to keep everyone safe.

The measures will also help to reduce the number of students being sent home and missing out on vital education, after pupils across the United Kingdom missed, on average, a third of their learning time during the pandemic.

Councillor Patrick Mulligan, Executive Member for Education and Skills said: "I'm sure parents, pupils and staff will welcome the feeling of normality when pupils return to school next week, with the return of familiar routines and school days again.

"But we would also like to reassure parents and pupils that schools will still be working hard to make sure people stay safe in school.

"Schools will continue to put proportionate measures in place such as increased hygiene and cleaning in schools, ventilation in classrooms and they will also still have plans in place to manage an outbreak and will be updating Covid-19 risk assessments according to the latest information and guidance."

Most of the responsibility has now been handed over to head teachers to decide what measures are needed within their schools.

Harrogate Ladies' College is set to reopen for teaching on Monday 6th September and will have an number of Covid-secure measures in place ahead of the new academic year.

Hand sanitiser stations will be available to all staff and pupils, as well as being encouraged to wash their hands regularly and observe good respiratory hygiene.

Classrooms and communal spaces will be well ventilated, as well as enhanced cleaning procedures throughout the school, including a newly installed Envirashield coating designed to prevent viruses from 'sticking' to surfaces.

Principle Sylvia Brett has said that she is pleased that the latest guidance means that all pupils and staff at both Highfield Prep School and Harrogate Ladies' College will be able to operate with fewer restrictions.

“As always our priority will be to keep everyone in our community as safe as possible, but we will also be able to enjoy working together more fully as one community again.

“Staff and pupils showed tremendous resilience last year which showed in their excellent A-Level and GCSE results back in August.

“I know it will be a relief to many that we can start the new term without quite so many restrictions.”

What happens if a child tests positive for Covid-19?

When it comes to pupils testing positive for Covid-19, they will be required to self isolate at home for ten days.

The child will then be asked to provide details of any close contacts at school and elsewhere.

Any child who is identified as a close contact will then be asked to take a PCR test, but unless the close contacts themselves test positive, they will not have to self isolate.

What happens if there is a Covid-19 outbreak within the school?

If there is an outbreak within the school, the Department for Education has published a list of measures that schools can consider, including moving classes outside, improving ventilation indoors, reintroducing bubble groups and face masks in communal spaces.