Good luck to all the children who are back into nursery and schools today, 22 February, as part of the Scottish Government’s phased return.
We have a few delighted little faces to share here – Hollie, 3, has returned to the nursery at Glaitness School.
Hollie’s mum, Natalie, said: “Hollie was so excited to be heading back this morning and went happily into nursery despite being away for a while. I’m delighted that we are slowly returning to some more normality – although I still have older children to home school. We will all be delighted once the schools are reopened fully, especially here in Orkney where the transmission rates are relatively low.”
Parents Lee and Tina waved off two of their peedie girls earlier today – Ruby, 5, and Molly, 3, who returned to Primary 1 and nursery at Papdale Primary School. As you can see from their faces, both girls were delighted to be heading back.
Lee said: “We will miss having the girls at home but won’t miss the home schooling. It means a little more time to spend with our youngest girl Bella as well.”
All pre-school children and pupils in P1-P3 are returning to the classroom, while the children of eligible keyworkers and vulnerable families will continue to be invited to attend across nursery, primary and secondary settings. All categories of keyworker, from one to three, will remain eligible to place their children in school in the first instance.
Additionally, in the case of primary settings, an exception is made for those very small schools, with 25 pupils of fewer, in rural and island communities which have the entire primary cohort in a single class. In such settings in Orkney all pupils, from P1 to P7, will be invited to attend.
There will also be a part-time return, but on a very limited basis, for senior secondary pupils - S4, S5 and S6 - to allow them to complete practical work for national qualifications.
Just a reminder to everyone that all measures remain in place to try and keep everyone as safe as possible against the virus. This means that handwashing, enhanced cleaning and ventilation, the use of face coverings and zero tolerance to symptoms will continue.
The two-metre distancing rule applies to adults working in schools and nurseries and secondary-aged pupils attending school and while using school transport. Physical distancing requirements in primary schools and early learning settings remain unchanged.
If you, as a parent or carer, or your child is feeling anxious about the phased return please contact your school for support.