One day to go! How the big return to school will work in Northamptonshire

Twice-weekly testing, more wearing of face masks and more ventiliation will keep new infections to a minimum

Education chiefs insist there will be no "charging" back to school across Northamptonshire from Monday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed March 8 as they day thousands of students and young people will return to classrooms after nearly two months learning at home during the coronavirus lockdown.

Many parents are still wary about sending children back while other restrictions remain in place and Public Health chiefs admit they expect to see the number of coronavirus cases go up following the return to school.

Students will wear face masks in class where social distancing is not possible. Photo: Getty Images

But Paul Andrews, the Covid cell lead at Northamptonshire's education department, insisted: "We're not just charging back into this.

"There has been a great deal of consideration and thought gone into this return to the classrooms.

"Schools have been open all through the lockdowns since last March for the children of key workers. Seven per cent of secondary school students and 27 per cent of primaries have been in school since Christmas.

"That means our schools are well used to operating in Covid-secure ways now."

All the county's schools will employ a three-point plan to keep new infections to a minimum, involving testing of staff and secondary school students, widening the use of face coverings to include classrooms where social distancing cannot be maintained and increasing ventilation.

Mr Andrews admits the testing programme using lateral flow devices, which deliver results in less than half-an-hour, is a massive undertaking, both for the youngsters and schools.

Students will have three tests in the first two weeks back before being issued with kits to test themselves twice a week at home.

Mr Andrews added: "This is a massive thing to ask young people to do and they are going to need a lot of support from all of us to be able to do so.

"Schools have been working incredibly hard to make sure this can happen because they understand mass testing is a huge potential boon to make us all safer."