Staff anxiety over schools return on March 8 'understandable' - former head teacher
Anxiety among teachers and parents about a mass return to the classrooms next week is "very, very understandable", a former head teacher has said.
Councillor David Jones, one-time principal at Carleton High School in Pontefract and now chair of Wakefield's children and young people scrutiny panel, said he knew some were nervous about the situation.
All pupils are set to return to school on Monday, March 8 as part of the first phase of lockdown restrictions being eased.
Children of key workers are among those who've continued to attend school since Christmas, but most have continued learning online from home.
The Wakefield branch secretary of one teachers' union said this week that while staff wanted to be back in school, they also "want to be safe".
The government says the decision is the right one, citing the low infection rates among children.
Speaking at a scrutiny meeting on Thursday, Coun Jones said: "Hopefully things are moving in a more positive direction and hopefully our children will be returning to school.
"Despite what some parts of the media might have been saying, schools have been open, teachers have been teaching and children have been learning - just in different ways.
"We have to hope now that as children return to school they're able to pick up the pieces of what's been a very disjointed year.
"No matter what the technology is you still can't beat being in school.
"Having said that, I'm aware many teachers and parents are nervous about the return, which is very, very understandable."
The Department of Education says that all pupils returning to the classroom is now safe because the most vulnerable and elderly people have had their first Covid jabs.
The National Education Union (NEU) however, had called for a "staggered return", with the youngest primary pupils going back to school first.
Local Democracy Reporting Service