23rd March 2020; the day the nation plummeted into lockdown, the memory so vivid in the public’s minds. Millions expecting to only be home for a few weeks, only to be sectioned off in their homes for 6 months, isolated from society. After 18 months of uncertainty, schools opened their doors once again in September for the first potentially full academic year since September 2018. Children were reunited with friends after months of instability and filled corridors with life once again. However, in order to remain open, schools have taken precautionary measures to ensure students are protected against Covid-19 and to give them the best possible chance of an uninterrupted year.

Holy Cross School in New Malden is one of many schools that have implemented extensive measures to fight against Covid-19. Measures include a mask mandate when travelling around the school, a surplus of hand sanitizer and PPE for students and staff to use, and a “one-way system” to reduce student contact and the transmission of the virus. Windows are also left open to allow for air circulation. Since the imposing of these rules, Covid cases have drastically decreased. Helen Kay, teacher at Holy Cross, describes the return of schools as “a challenge”. She says that, although it's exciting to see the return of in-person schooling and that the school has plenty of protocols to improve public health, some students are reluctant to follow rules and have adopted a “lax” attitude to Covid safety, which can be attributed to care risings within the school, thus widening the risk of a lockdown, which is why it’s important to enforce these rules to ensure everyone is safe and healthy when they come in.

Since the national lockdown, schools have taken the pandemic to heart and have collectively decreased the likelihood of another quarantine with protective measures. However, should students choose to follow them will dictate the future of learning and whether pupils will experience a full year of stable education, or if the classroom will be forced into the confines of Zoom.