Back to school: Fife youngsters returning to class at start of new term
For hundreds of children across Fife, today (Wednesday) marked their first day back at school following the summer holidays.
It was also a day to remember for parents of those youngsters taking their first steps into primary education like Abby Kirsty Crawford (4) who was starting at Kirkcaldy West Primary.
It was a mixture of excitement and nerves as they joined their P1 classes for the first time.
Many Covid restrictions remain in force in schools, at least for the first six weeks of this term, including hand sanitising, one-way systems and cleaning.
Secondary school pupils must still wear face coverings in classrooms and inside school buildings, and they are being asked to take twice-weekly lateral flow tests.
But class bubbles have now been scrapped by the Scottish Government in favour of more targeted contact tracing and this is aimed at reducing the disruption to children’s education by self-isolating.
In a statement to parents and carers, Carrie Lindsay, executive director of Education and Children's Services, welcomed pupils back to schools across the Kingdom and explained the changes. She said: “I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all our children and young people back to school this week.
"There are going to be a few changes but not a lot. Our secondary pupils will still be asked to wear their masks, on transport and when they are in school. All of our staff will still be wearing masks. A lot of the changes before the holidays will still be in place, the government have asked us to keep them in place as part of their guidance.
"This is because children aren’t vaccinated so it is to see what happens with the spread over the next wee while. We want to make sure we are doing everything we can to make our schools safe places.”
She continued: “There will be changes to isolation. Before the holidays, sometimes a whole class or a bubble, as we called it for the younger children, would all be asked to self-isolate but it’s going to be different now and it’s going to be close contacts asked to self-isolate. This is to try and make sure we are not interrupting the learning for young people, this is the advice we have been given from the government.”