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Dundee pupils warned over distancing rules at lunch times after locals raise concerns

Group of students walking at school.
Group of students walking at school.

Pupils in Dundee have been warned over fears they are failing to follow physical distancing guidance while out of school during lunchtime.

It follows reports from concerned residents in Broughty Ferry that secondary school pupils are breaking the rules in city shops and streets.

It is understood pupils from Grove Academy have been congregating in large groups around the burgh while failing to wear face coverings inside shops while out of the school for lunch.

Scottish Government guidance encourages older pupils to keep a safe distance in schools as an extra precaution against coronavirus.

“We cannot be complacent and everyone has a part to play.”

Councillor Stewart Hunter.

Pupils who leave the school grounds during lunch hours must wear face masks inside city stores and physically distance from each other.

Teenagers are asked not to hug or shake hands with their classmates to avoid crowding together, according to official guidelines.

Social distancing is not required between pupils in primary schools due to a significantly lower risk of catching coronavirus.

In response to local concerns, Grove Academy said pupils had been reminded to take added precaution while out of the school.

The school said: “All Grove Academy pupils have been reminded of expectations of social distancing and face coverings in public as part of their return to school and have been asked to follow these and wash and sanitise hands on return to the building.”

Grove Academy

Pupils at Grove Academy have the option to pre-order a school lunch, bring in their own packed lunch or leave school to purchase food.

School lunches across Tayside have been changed to cold bagged meals due to coronavirus and lunch and break times have been staggered for pupils in an effort to avoid crowds.

Councillor Stewart Hunter, children and families convener said being “complacent” was unacceptable when dealing with coronavirus prevention.

He urged pupils, staff and parents to follow the guidance to protect the school environment.

Mr Hunter said: “Dundee schools are keenly aware of issues like these and are taking steps to remind pupils of their responsibilities when they are out in the community.

“There has been a huge effort to get our schools ready for the full time return of pupils after nearly five months, and everybody is getting used to young people being in the classroom and outside schools again.

Councillor Stewart Hunter.

“We all need to do everything we can to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This includes wearing face coverings when in shops and on regular public transport, and physical distancing.

“That is why advice is being given regularly to our young people around these issues and to stress how important their actions are to prevent the transmission of coronavirus.

“Steps are also taken within schools including staggering of lunches and comprehensive hygiene measures.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to ask parents and families to remember to physically distance when they are dropping off or collecting their children from school.

“We cannot be complacent and everyone has a part to play.”

LONG READ: Our survey highlights worries about infection risk in schools and divided opinion on distancing and face masks


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