“FOLLOWING clear guidance” from Public Health England is how one school will deal with suspected Covid-19 cases within its walls, as students started returning to the classroom this week.

Over the last fortnight pupils across the country have been heading back to school for their next year of learning, including those at Shaftesbury School who experienced a staggered return.

These establishments have now been transformed with new measures, in a bid to make them Covid-19 secure.

“There has been a bit of anxiety in these different times, but it’s just fantastic to have these students back again,” said Shaftesbury School headteacher Tim Farrer.

He added: “The whole risk assessment has been carried out, the school is safe and we’re ready to welcome everyone back.”

Hand sanitiser stations, a one-way system and staggered lunch and break periods are some of the ways in which Shaftesbury School has changed to become safe and enforce social distancing for its students, staff and visitors.

All desks in classrooms will be facing the front and windows will be open to enable more ventilation.

Speaking during the return of Year 7 and 12 students on Monday, Mr Farrer said the school community appears “happy”, describing the need for staggered inductions as “obviously important so everyone can adapt”.

He added: “It is just wonderful [having students back], and that is not an overstatement. Not having the children here has been horrible.

“[On Monday] we had a 100 per cent turnout - and we had really good turnout with the Year 10s during lockdown. This gives a boost to the confidence of both students and parents.

"We have done everything we can to make the school as safe as possible in the current context."

He added: “It is up to us to provide specialist teaching in specialist rooms with specialist subjects. This is the best learning we can give these students who have missed out on so much this year.”

The school’s boarding house is also in operation with health and safety measures in place, with students enrolled from all over the world.

Mr Farrer said: “When you walk down the corridor you hear Afrikaans, French, Spanish, Mandarin - a whole range of languages are here which is so enriching.

“All these cultures in one place makes the learning experience vibrant and different.”

When asked what would happen if a positive Covid-19 case was onsite, Mr Farrer said: “[Schools] have all got clear guidance from Public Health England and a clear flowchart to follow for suspected cases. If the worst were to happen we have got notices to follow.”

Parents have also been invited to offer feedback to Shaftesbury School following its reopening, with Mr Farrer adding “mistakes can be made”, and reviews will take place every two weeks.

This follows the news that Yewstock School in Sturminster Newton is yet to reopen after a member of staff tested positive for coronavirus.

Sam Crowe, director of public health for Dorset and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Councils, said: “[Authorities] Public Health Dorset and Dorset Council are working with the school to make sure all necessary measures are in place.

"The school has closed as a precautionary measure for a deep clean and pupils will be returning to school slightly later than planned.”