SCHOOLS across North Yorkshire have begun the gradual return back to classes.

From Monday that included secondary schools and, just like the county’s primary schools before them, challenges around hygiene, social distancing and preventing the spread of coronavirus have been tackled.

Additional challenges such as helping Year 6 pupils make the transition to Year 7 in September have also been looked at.

The hard work of staff has ensured every need is met and each child is as safe as possible.

Stuart Carlton, North Yorkshire County Council’s corporate director for children and young people’s services, said: “It’s heartening to see the extensive measures staff in our secondary schools have put in place to ensure students are safe and happy.

“Much like our primary schools, teachers are treading new ground in terms of social distancing, hygiene and cleaning measures.

"But everyone truly has pulled together to try to ensure a safe, happy and smooth transition for all pupils involved.”

Thirsk School and Sixth Form College is one of those preparing to re-open for a number of their pupils.

Being a secondary school and sixth form, the school has faced different challenges to a primary.

Head Emma Lambden and her staff have solved logistical challenges and spoken to parents and students to create a safe environment for them to return to.

She said: “We’ve tried to keep parents in the loop at all times. We’ve done a survey and asked them for their comments.

"Based on their comments, I’ve been able to feed back and answer their concerns.

“We have floor markings in areas where students will be travelling through. "Our classes will be split into bubbles of no more than ten in the secondary school.

"They will stay in the classroom all day and their lunches will be brought to them.

“Luckily, we have plenty of outdoors areas, meaning students can safely go outdoors in their social bubbles.”

Ms Lambden added that they will tailor their teaching approach to each student depending on how much work they’ve done over lockdown to get everyone to a similar level.

Over at Wensleydale School, staff have been finding solutions to the problems thrown up by Covid-19.

From Google classrooms to holding a virtual parents evening, head Julia Polley has come up with ideas to ensure students get the support they need while remaining safe.

She said: “As students start coming back, we’ve done all the risk assessments and identified areas which needed amending.

"So, for example, all students can come in wearing non-school uniform, so they don’t need to worry about washing uniform fast for the next day.

“The school day has been shortened to 10am to 2pm and students can’t bring anything in with them apart from lunch in a disposable wrapping.”