North Yorkshire and York schoolchildren return to the classroom: parents urged to help keep COVID at bay
Health leaders in North Yorkshire and York have welcomed the return of thousands of children to school classrooms.
Schools are now open to all children – not just children of key workers – and there a raft of measures in place, including enhanced daily cleaning, new rules around face coverings and regular COVID testing for pupils.
While there are additional procedures inside schools, scientists believe the risk of coronavirus transmission is actually greater at the school gates, when parents congregate as they are dropping off and collecting their children.
NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Vale of York CCG say it is imperative parents play their part by sticking to social distancing rules and wearing suitable face coverings, if they are waiting for their children outside.
Amanda Bloor, Accountable Officer of NHS North Yorkshire CCG said: “Schools have been open throughout the pandemic to children of key workers, but with all children now able to go back to the classroom, it is a welcome first step in the road back to some kind of normality.
“But we must remember we are still in a national lockdown.
“This means we should only leave our home for permitted purposes and when we do, face coverings and social distancing measures should be observed to the letter. Continued good hand hygiene will also help prevent spread of the virus.
“We are seeing steady progress week on week as the NHS continues to deliver the vaccination programme and with the number of seriously ill patients in our hospitals decreasing. But now is not the time to be complacent.”
Dr Nigel Wells, Clinical Chair of NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), added: “We cannot let down our guard for an instant. COVID is still circulating in York and North Yorkshire and we all need to continue to play our part to keep cases low.
“If we start to relax now, we risk undoing the excellent progress we have made. Continued adherence to Government advice is the best way to stay on the current trajectory and ensure we can meet the milestones ahead.”
Under the current lockdown rules for England, people should stay at home except for work, essential shopping, exercise or medical appointments, including COVID vaccinations.
Exercise, locally, is allowed once a day within a household, support bubble or one other person and two people are now allowed to meet outdoors to socialise.
No household mixing is allowed indoors or outdoors, unless it’s a support or childcare bubble and non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues remain closed. Pubs and restaurants are also closed, though takeaways are permitted.
The NHS is currently offering the COVID vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus. Vaccinations are being delivered according to priority groups identified by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). In the UK, more than 24 million people have now received at least one dose of the vaccine.