Oban High’s extra measures for pupils’ return

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Pupils and staff heading back to Oban High School from next week face additional health and safety measures.

Steps ‘over and above’ those needed for the return to school after the first lockdown last August are required this time, said executive headteacher Peter Bain in a letter to parents and guardians.

Support has been offered to pupils and parents with any concerns – both before school starts again and once it is under way, he said.

Secondary school pupils start a phased return from March 15. Like many schools, Oban High does not have the capacity to allow all pupils back at once.

Instead, days in school are to be allocated to certain year groups with online lessons at home when they do not have to attend.

In any event, a full-time return of all secondary pupils is not expected until after the Easter holidays. In Argyll and Bute, this sees schools reopening on April 19.

Once back, all staff and high school pupils will have to wear face coverings in school at all times, and maintain two metres distance from each other, as per the new official guidance.

Classes of 30 pupils may be divided into three to accommodate 10 pupils per class.

Each class has computer screens measuring 75-inches and cameras to ‘support lessons,’ Mr Bain said.

Teachers and assistants would provide supervision duties ‘where required’, he added.

It appears that not all online classes will be taught ‘live’ by a teacher, and that many lessons would be ‘pre-loaded’ onto the Google Classrooms web service.

Furthermore, school meals will be available but then delivered to classrooms.

Mr Bain said: ‘I am certain that this return to the school building may cause some degree of anxiety to many of our children and staff, but would again remind everyone of all the measures in place to keep us safe and well.’

He said pastoral teams are on hand to speak to any parent or pupil who may wish to share their concerns prior to returning or personally in school.

‘Rest assured we will be able to support and reassure all our children with any health, social and academic concerns when they return,’ he said.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon admitted recently that the ‘phased’ return to school would be frustrating.

But she added: ‘It is necessary and it is firmly based on the expert advice that we have received. It is the best, and also the most sustainable and enduring way to get as many children back to school as possible, as safely as possible.’

Latest figures up to February 21, show that in Scotland there have been 15,856 children and young people aged two- to 17 years who have tested positive for Covid since the start of the outbreak.

During the same period, 1,762 staff were absent across Scotland due to Covid-19 related
reasons, of which, 850 were teaching staff and 912 were other school-based staff.