THE reopening of schools in the Royal Borough has been “so far so good”, said the lead member for children’s services.
After students spent months learning remotely, schools, and colleges reopened to all students last week with additional safety measures in place, such as rapid coronavirus tests, as part of the Prime Minister’s first step of lockdown easing.
Pupils are required to take two lateral flow tests – which produces results within 30 minutes – per week in order to identify asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19.
Speaking to the Observer, councillor Stuart Carroll, lead member for adult social care, children’s services, health, and mental health, said the returning to the classroom has been “so far so good” across the board.
He said: “The returns have been very well handled and very well managed. There have been no major operational issues – which is very pleasing to see and hear.
“I think what is certainly adding a layer of confidence within the return to school programme is the use of the lateral flow testing, which I think is going from strength to strength and we have been publicising on that far and wide as a local authority.
“Contrary to some social media posts that people may have seen, the effectiveness of the lateral flow tests are very high.
“No diagnostic is ever 100 per cent – but these types of tests are very good at picking up on what we call ‘viral load’, and what that means is the ability to pick up on whether someone is positive, but positive with the ability to transmit.
“Therefore, I think testing it is a crucial element within this.”
When asked if some parents are keeping their children out of school out of fear their child may get Covid-19, Cllr Carroll said he hopes to get an update on the attendance numbers sometime this week – but has been informed the attendance rate for those who should’ve been in school was “extremely high”.
Cllr Carroll said: “A massive thanks to our teachers and teaching staff for the seriously remarkable job they’re doing during this very difficult time and I think last week pays testimony to their professionalism and organisational skills once again.”