Lincolnshire councillors are “pleased” with the government’s plan to get children back in classrooms from March 8, but said the pandemic had a major impact on pupils’ learning.
The roadmap out of lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday where all secondary school pupils will have to take two rapid lateral flow tests a week once back, but primary school children will not need to do so.
New measures have been brought in to try and keep coronavirus infection rates down, including mandatory face coverings and regular testing for staff and students.
Cllr Mrs Patricia Bradwell, executive member for children’s services at Lincolnshire County Council said: “Being in class with their teachers undoubtedly is the best place for pupils to learn and being with their friends is also important for their social development and mental health. So we’re pleased to see the government making the return to school a top priority.
“Schools used a range of measures during the autumn term to successfully reduce the potential spread of the virus, and infection levels are currently much lower than they were at that time and dropping.
“Hopefully, that will give parents confidence that it’s safe for the children to return.”
She added: “The pandemic has had a major impact on pupils’ learning and it’s important we do all we can to help them catch up.”
The prime minister has announced an extra £400m to help children in England catch up on lost learning caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which will include asking secondary schools to run classes in the summer holidays.
Boris Johnson said the “extensive programme”, backed by a total of £700m in funding, will give teachers the “tools and resources they need to support their pupils”.
However, this has sparked criticism as it equates to just 43p per pupil a day. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will lead a news conference from Downing Street at 5pm.
Last week, over 25% of children were physically attending primary school in Lincolnshire, slightly above the national average of 24% in England — this includes mainly vulnerable children and those of key workers.