On the 25th of August, Local MSP and Education Secretary, John Swinney, announced that pupils in Scotland, over the age of 12, will have to wear face masks where it is not possible to maintain safe distancing.
Breadalbane Academy’s headteacher, John Devine, says the school has taken to a ‘can-do attitude’ to going back to teaching with the new safety measures put in place in Scottish schools.
In an interview with Heartland FM, Mr Devine said: “My attitude is that the staff have had a very much can-do attitude and do not, wherever possible, COVID’s regulations to get in the way of learning and teaching.
“I must say, that I wasn’t quite sure what the mood would be among staff and pupils, but I was actually very pleasantly surprised by the positivity of both pupils and staff.”
Mr Swinney’s decision to introduce face masks in school came after several spikes in schools were identified after pupils returned back to full time learning in class.
The policy now mandates that pupils wear masks ‘where it is difficult to deliver the physical distancing’ and while moving around the school in corridoors or other areas such as communal spaces.
Mr Devine added: “I couldn’t have possibly have imagined one year ago a situation where everybody in the school community was wearing masks.
“It does seem a bit unreal. But on the other hand it is the new normal, we’re all used to it and fundamentally we are not letting it get in the way of teaching in the school.”
Even though the policy has came as a surprise for some, Mr Devine says that the school pupils have taken well to the new rule.
He explained: “By Tuesday or Wednesday, first couple of days I had to hand out masks for pupils who had forgotten them.
“But now, if you come up to the school you’ll see almost all young people are wearing face coverings.”
Safety in the school has been the top priority in returning to teaching and Mr Devine attributes the success to the understanding of both staff and pupils of the risk they are mitigating by taking these precautions.
In considering why the attitude towards safety has been so positive, Mr Devine said: “I think, like a lot of these things, the big benefit is the shared understanding of the value of the action that you’re taking and I think there is a shared understanding across the school community of that.”