Council leaders praise parents and teachers as kids head back to school
North East leaders have paid tribute to the region’s parents, children, and teachers as schools reopened on Monday.
In the first milestone of the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown, millions of youngsters went back to class for the first time since early January.
Council leaders, the North of Tyne mayor, and the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner said families should be “immensely proud” of how they have coped with two months of learning at home.
However, they warned that Covid-19 remains a “huge threat” despite restrictions starting to be eased.
In a statement, the LA7 leaders, including North Tyneside Mayor Norma Redfearn, said: “Today marks an important milestone on our road to recovery as we reach the first step of the Government’s plan for easing lockdown restrictions.
“Our children and young people have lost months of invaluable time in school to the pandemic. This not only results in lost learning, but also time away from their friends, and the vital emotional and social development an education provides.
“Clearly this has been out of necessity and schools, children and their parents and carers have risen to the challenges presented by home learning incredibly well, and should all be immensely proud of their perseverance.
“Getting children back into school will present additional challenges with our already-overworked school staff now having to facilitate testing of potentially hundreds of schoolchildren on top of their usual duties.
“We all owe a huge gratitude to teachers and all school staff. They have kept schools open for children of key workers and our most vulnerable children during lockdown, quickly adapted to virtual teaching, and carried out their safeguarding responsibilities in the most trying of circumstances.”
One of the few other changes to lockdown measures from Monday is that one named person can now visit a loved one in a care home.
The next change in lockdown rules should come on March 29, when people will be allowed to mix outdoors in groups of up to six and the ‘stay at home’ rule will end.
The LA7 statement added: “The social care sector has certainly endured more than its share of pain at the hands of Covid-19. By providing care for some of our most vulnerable residents, care homes have experienced loss and tragedy on an almighty scale.
“That residents can be reunited with a chosen loved one from today is a most welcome step, and will be a relief to all those who can once again hold the hand of a relative.
“We must also pay our thanks to all those who have continued to provide compassionate care and support to others during the pandemic, these actions have not gone unnoticed and will not be forgotten.
“March 8 also brings about the first easing of social contact restrictions where people can leave home for recreation and exercise with their household or support bubble or one person from outside their household, but we must all remember that Covid remains a huge threat to our communities and we can not afford to let our guard down.
"Please continue to follow the rules, maintain the Hands, Face, Space guidance and if we carry on working together, we can collectively take the next step towards normality on March 29.”