‘We can’t wait to have all our pupils back’
Head teachers in Melton say they’ve missed seeing their pupils in school and can’t wait to welcome them back on Monday as Covid restrictions begin to gradually ease.
Schools have been closed to all students, other than those with key worker parents or those seen as vulnerable, since early January’s post-Christmas lockdown.
It was the latest blow in a year of disruption for children, their parents and their teachers.
Many youngsters have been confined to their homes for several months, being taught remotely or by their parents.
But on Monday all schools will reopen, with coronavirus infections falling across the country and the swift roll-out of vaccinations allowing for a gradual unlocking of society.
Hayley Cheeseman, head teacher at Melton’s The Grove Primary School, is looking forward to all of her 163 pupils being back in school.
She told the Melton Times: “We’ve really missed the laughter of the children and hearing all their stories.
“It will be great for all the staff to experience that hussle and bustle in our corridors once again.”
Ms Cheeseman praised the work of her teachers in combining remote teaching with taking lessons for those 44 youngsters who have remained in school during the lockdown.
She also thanked the support the school has had from parents at a challenging time for everyone.
“I am really proud of my staff, parents and children,” added Ms Cheeseman.
“The Grove community have all supported and motivated each other in an effort to ensure the education and wellbeing of our children has been kept a priority.
“Lockdown has been really tough on all of us, but one positive has been that relationships have been built and strengthened across our community.
“On Monday, we look forward to seeing all of the faces we have missed so much.”
Staff at the town secondary schools are also being charged this week with carrying out Covid tests on all of their students to help limit any further spread of the virus.
It is quite a logistical exercise at Long Field Academy, where all 765 students will be returning to school.
Testing stations are giving tests to pupils in school this week ahead of their return.
Head Chris Haggett told the Melton Times: “Students will all be tested again twice next week, so by the end of next week everyone in the school will have been tested three times.
“Students will then have their home test kits the following week so they can test themselves before school.”
Long Field has already been operating social distancing protocols for those students who have still been attending during lockdown.
Mr Haggett said: “Everything is in place but the only difference it that everyone now has to wear masks in their lessons.
“They had to wear them in corridors before but now it is in class as well, unless they are exempt.
“We’ve also got special masks with clear frontages for staff who have deaf students so they can understand what they are saying.”
Mr Haggett, who had Covid a year ago, had his first vaccination jab last week.
He said staff had coped well with the challenges of the pandemic, but they are all looking forward to next week.
“We got into a good rhythm with the remote teaching and the parents have been really good as well,” he added.
“I’m just pleased to get them all back on Monday - I can’t wait.”