Melton students get used to Covid tests and face masks

Thousands of schoolchildren across the area are getting used to having regular Covid tests and wearing masks in classrooms as they approach their second week back in school following the easing of restrictions.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 5:59 pm
Students wearing masks in class as they returned to classrooms at Melton's Long Field Academy EMN-210317-112058001

Staff and volunteers met the tough logistical challenge of testing students prior to their return to class on March 8 and the tests have continued in school this week.

A small number of positive cases have been reported with self-isolation measures being implemented by teachers to prevent further spread of the virus.

Pupils are now required to test themselves with special kits at home with their families and can only report for school if they get a negative result.

Students wearing masks in class as they returned to classrooms at Melton's Long Field Academy EMN-210317-112108001

Despite the challenges, head teachers say staff are enjoying having all of their children back in school after lockdown was implemented in early January with only children of keyworkers and vulnerable youngsters able to attend since then.

Chris Haggett, principal of Melton’s Long Field Academy, has been holding ‘bubble assemblies’ with each year group to keep everyone safe.

He told the Melton Times: “It was really lovely to have all the students back in school last Monday.

“We are trying to run the school as normally as we can just with some safety adaptations so no one misses out.

Covid testing takes place at Melton's John Ferneley College as students returned to school following the easing of the latest lockdown restrictions EMN-210317-112047001

“They have coped well with wearing masks or lanyards and have enjoyed being back in school.”

All Long Field students have had three lateral flow tests in school, one prior to their return and two when they came back.

Mr Haggett added: “We completed well over 2,000 tests and from this there was one positive case.

“This student and their contacts return to school on Monday.

“All students and staff are now home testing twice a week.”

Students at Melton’s John Ferneley College made a staggered return to school, with two year groups a day going back to class between March 8 and 11.

All 1,200 youngsters had a test before returning and all staff members also had to return a negative test result before they went back.

Testing in school was carried out at two venues over eight days by an army of staff, parents and community nurses. Students must now test themselves twice a week at home.

It was a boost for everyone, say the school, for classrooms to be full again after months of remote learning from home.

Executive headteacher, Christine Stansfield, told this newspaper: “It is a pleasure to finally get back to business.

“Both staff and students are delighted to be back on-site in full.

“Our students have adapted brilliantly to all the safety measures and controls in place, including the wearing of face masks and are collectively working together to keep our school community as safe as possible.

“I am so impressed by how our whole community has reacted to the constantly changing demands created by the pandemic, and the Government directives for schools.

“We couldn’t have done it without an efficient and organised team effort.

“Our school really is thriving and the quality of recruitment that has taken place over the last few months will bring further amazing teachers into John Ferneley, and the area.”

A small number of individuals have tested positive for coronavirus since schools reopened fully, including one case at Croxton Kerrial Primary School.

The school said action to prevent further spread of the virus with a small number of individuals in the affected person’s bubble being sent home to self-isolate.