Back to school: Pupils and teachers return to classroom

Schools in the Scottish Borders and Shetland are the first to welcome pupils back to class.

Pupils have started returning to school five months after they closed on the eve of the coronavirus lockdown.

Schools in the Scottish Borders and Shetland reopened to children on Tuesday morning.

Head teacher Jill Lothian welcomed pupils back to Kelso High School, saying she did not want the pandemic to “define them”.

But she acknowledged some parents are worried about the move.

Ms Lothian said: “They came in this morning, they were smiling, it was great to see them in school and I hope they’re glad to be back – it’s about learning.

“What I don’t want is for Covid to define them and I think that’s what’s really important is that we take this opportunity this year and move forward – and that’s what we’ll help them with.”

Most others across the county will begin welcoming pupils back to class on Wednesday.

Teachers were also back at work, with most having an in-service day to prepare for this week’s lessons.

Scotland went into lockdown at the end of March in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Schools were shut down just before the Easter holidays, and no exams took place.

All pupils should be back full-time by next week, with no physical distancing required.

However, most schools have new hygiene and safety measures in place.

Speaking on Monday, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I know that this will be an anxious week for young people themselves, for teachers – who themselves are often parents, and parents.

“But we also know that being out of school is doing real harm to young people, so we have to strike the right balance.

“And where necessary, if it means slowing down on other aspects of getting back to normal in order to prioritise school return, I think that’s the right thing to do.”

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