On 17th June Shrewsbury re-opened its gates to students, some three months after school closure the start of online lessons began back in March. There was a palpable sense of joy and relief as friends reacquainted, teachers greeted parents, and classroom lessons resumed.
Of course, not everything is back to normal. Social distancing is still strictly observed and masks are compulsory; just part of a series of measures required under government guidelines. Prior to opening, Riverside was visited by representatives from OPEC and the BMA, who were satisfied at the rigorous set of measures we have put in place to keep our community safe. All staff also undertook two full days of training to ensure compliance with the protocols and complete necessary planning so that all students can enjoy the best possible learning experience for the remainder of the academic term.
In the initial stage or reopening, alternating year groups are allowed on site each day with EY2, Y2, Y4, Y6, Y7, Y10 and Y12 the first students to return after the long hiatus caused by COVID-19. Each year group also has staggered pick-up and drop-off times to support social distancing as the priority.
In Year 2, students could barely contain their excitement at returning to their classrooms and in Mr King’s class students were making sure that their reading was still up to scratch while talking about what they have been doing at home.
There was a real buzz in Year 6 too, where students chatted happily to each other, clearly very excited with the idea that they would be learning away from home for the first time in a while. Mr O’Brien’s class asked if students enjoyed their learning from home and there was a unanimous, "We prefer being back” from the class!
Even under his mask, it was clear that Principal Mr Christopher Seal was wearing a particularly big smile as he watched the campus come back to life.
“It is hard to sum up the last few months as anything but unprecedented. Our whole community has dealt with significant changes with an open mind and a positive attitude. Teachers and students - supported by their parents - have ensured that learning has continued to progress in a digital environment but we all know that nothing can replicate a school as the place to learn and grow. It is with great pleasure that we invite our community back to school with hopes of returning to our normal schedule in the coming months”.
Echoing the sentiment, one parent of a Year 6 student said it was a nice feeling to be back as, for many families, the school is a centre point for their lives.
“It’s been hard for us being away. We know that teachers have worked really hard while the school has been closed but it’s not the same as being at school where our children to actually talk to the teacher face to face and be with their friends. My kids are so happy to be back. It is lovely to see.”
Parents are encouraged to access all of the guidance and handbooks provided through our school channels so they remain up-to-date with the current measures required by the school.