SCHOOLS across the district have been getting ready to welcome back all students for the first time since March next week, with new guidelines in place due to Covid-19.

The Telegraph & Argus has spoken to local schools to see how they have prepared for the upcoming year to make the school buildings and school life safe for pupils and teachers alike amid ever-changing official advice and guidance.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Preparations made at Bradford Grammar School to welcome students Preparations made at Bradford Grammar School to welcome students

It’s bound to be an alien experience for everyone at first, with year groups unable to mingle, socialising limited, students largely confined to classrooms and masks required in communal areas.

As the district’s largest educational institution, Bradford College faces the challenge of bringing back in excess of 15,000 students. Vice-Principal Dawn Leak has laid out the strategies the college has in place to ensure students are safe in the college building and effective learning can be delivered to all.

She said: “We officially start on September 7 and the first two weeks will be an online induction which will incorporate all the Covid core procedures we have put in place.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Key messages on display at Bradford CollegeKey messages on display at Bradford College

“We’re bringing some SEND students in early on the 7th and 14th because the building will be empty and it allows them the whole campus and to have space to get back into learning.

“They have been severely affected by lockdown and were on the shielding list, so while they did some learning at home they didn’t have the usual support available. By bringing them in early it will kickstart their learning.

“From August 21 students will come in in bubbles. For a lot of students this will be their first time on campus, so we did a drone fly-through and point-of-view videos which were sent to help them learn the building.

“Students will meet their tutor at a particular time and given badges, before being escorted to their classroom through the one-way system we’ve put in place.

“The College will be at 50 per cent capacity, and a minimum of 30 per cent of learning will be done online.

Related: Children will NOT be removed from families if they have Covid-19 symptoms at school

“Around the building we have four key messages: the first is if you feel unwell in any way, turn around and go home; second is all about good personal hygiene; the third is maintaining social distancing everywhere outside the classroom; and four is follow the one-way system. These messages are on everything around the campus.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

At Bradford Grammar School, its old Victorian buildings with tight corridors and narrow staircases have provided the biggest challenges for making the building Covid safe.

Headmaster Dr Simon Hinchliffe said: “There’s been a lot of talking and scenario planning, but we put off finalising plans until now because everything is subject to change.

“When you look at the advice and distil it down, it’s about improving personal hygiene and cleaning around the school, and social distancing which we really think we can do.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Social distancing measures in place at Bradford CollegeSocial distancing measures in place at Bradford College

“In the narrow corridors we’ll have one-way systems, and fixed entry points for year group bubbles. We’ll have staggered times for the end of the day, and in the dining room to keep year groups separate.”

If the worst was to happen, both institutions have strict plans in place in case someone displays symptoms or tests positive.

Ms Leak said: “If someone gets symptoms or tests positive, we will follow Government guidelines.

“Every building has an isolation room, so if a student becomes unwell we can isolate them and then get them home for a test.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

“We will then contact Public Health England and they will contact everyone in the class who has been in contact with the person.

“We may have to close a classroom, or a floor, or a building for 72 hours.”

Dr Hinchliffe added: “We are conscious not to exceed the guidance and not overstep, we aren’t medics and have to trust what is being asked of us.

“If a staff member or student did get symptoms or test positive, we would follow procedure and get individuals isolated and call for support to get them assessed. The advice does not require us to close down the school.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Both Bradford College and Bradford Grammar urge students not to come in to school if they feel unwell in any way.

Lost learning has been a concern for many, with students out of school since March and not everyone having access to the technology needed for remote learning. But some students have thrived in lockdown.

Ms Leak explained: “There is a 16-19 Tuition Fund which the college will get some money from to provide extra support and classes to pick up that lost learning.

“We’re also focusing on those students affected by assessments and will do first term boost programmes to catch them up with their qualifications. Our GCSE Success Centre will also pick up lost learning in that area.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

“On lost learning, there has been a split in the students. There are those who like coming to class and those who prefer online learning. Those who prefer online, we’ve seen their engagement go through the roof in lockdown. The lockdown period has also been a positive in that it’s made us more intuitive and students’ IT skills have improved.”

At the fee-paying Bradford Grammar, Dr Hinchliffe feels confident there hasn’t been any lost learning.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

He said: “I’m not boasting, it is the truth. We did remote learning for all lessons and taught according to the timetable with a teacher available for live interaction.

“Every day’s learning was planned out and resources available online, and assessed learning continued in lockdown. Some children will even be returning ahead in their learning, and for any who need more support it will be available for them.”