Schools set to welcome back all students
Schools are set to open to all pupils from March 8 as the country starts its route out of lockdown - and it is a move welcomed locally.
Adam Ryder, principal at Boston Spa Academy, said the return to classrooms would help students, their families and teachers.
“We are delighted that our students will be able to return to the academy,” said Mr Ryder.
“Although our students have engaged exceptionally well with their live lessons while they have been working at home, nothing can replace the experience of having our highly skilled teaching colleagues in the classroom working with our students face-to-face.
“We know that this is where our exceptional students truly excel.
“Having students back in the academy will only serve to improve their mental health and well-being as they will be able to interact and meet their friends and peers again.”
He added: “I also recognise that the return of students to school will alleviate some of the pressure felt by families during the most recent national lockdown, all of whom have been fantastic in their support of the academy and our students.”
Secondary school and college pupils will be given Covid tests three times in the first two weeks from March 8.
After this, they will be provided with two rapid tests to use each week at home.
Mr Ryder added: “Throughout the partial school closure we have been providing all students and staff with the opportunity to receive lateral flow tests, therefore we are confident that this can be scaled up so that all students who provide consent can receive three tests during the first two-three weeks back.
“We know, from our experiences so far, that students and families have felt reassured that the tests have indicated that they are not carrying the virus without knowing about it.
“I anticipate that some families may well be cautious about the return of all students to school, however, I know that they will be reassured by the high level of safety measures that we have put in place at the academy to help reduce the risk of transmission across our school community.
Chairman of governors at Wetherby High School, Cindy Bentley, said that staff were looking forward to students returning.
She told the Wetherby News: “All of the staff at Wetherby High School are delighted to be welcoming back all of our students on March 8, even though there will inevitably be challenges, particularly with the testing regime.
“Everyone has worked so hard over the last year to keep the school community together through regular contacts and virtual meetings, not forgetting, of course, that the school has still been open for key worker and vulnerable children.
“Our students have engaged really well with their online learning, so we feel confident that they will settle in quickly and continue to make progress.
“On a personal note, I just wish that the Government had seen fit to offer vaccinations to all staff prior to schools re-opening to all children.
“I am really proud of what the staff have achieved since the first lockdown last year.”
A spokesman for Ebor Academy Trust said the headteachers of its 24 schools, including primary schools in Tockwith and Tadcaster, were meeting this week to discuss the implications of the announcement.
They added that while the full return to schools was welcome, caution was uppermost in teachers’ minds.