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Schools reopen across Orkney

Friends reunited — Amelie Kerr and Ellie Groat, pupils at Burray Primary School. (Orkney Photographic)

School children across the county have been reunited with friends and teachers, today, Wednesday, as they return to full time education for the first time since March.

In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, schools around Orkney were forced to close their doors — with the majority of children being taught from home for the remainder of the spring term.

Now, in a move that might not have been anticipated just a few short months ago, pupils are to file through the school gates once more, without the need for physical distancing between their peers. Meanwhile, teachers and other staff will have to maintain a distance from the children, while working hard to provide a safe and supportive learning environment.

In a staggered approach, helmed by Orkney Islands Council, bairns have begun to return to school, today, while pre-schools and nurseries are expected to resume, next week.

As we caught up with some of the parents and pupils on this morning’s school route, “nervous but excited” was the phrase on most people’s lips. While children are happy to be reunited with their friends and teachers, and parents are pleased to see a return to routine for their little ones, some admitted that they were just a peedie bit nervous about how it would all go.

As Scotland remains in Phase Three of the lockdown exit route, the threat of coronavirus is still very much in the minds of us all. But OIC has assured parents that rigorous measures have been taken to help keep children and staff safe.

The council has put together a Frequently Asked Questions list to help answer the common queries and concerns of parents and carers. This can be found on www.orkney.gov.uk/CV-ED-FAQ