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Forres Academy student survey reveals opinion split on 'new normal' measures at school

By Garry McCartney

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Ben has submitted his report to Forres Academy’s head teacher for her consideration.
Ben has submitted his report to Forres Academy’s head teacher for her consideration.

A SURVEY by a Forres Academy student has revealed concerns about reducing Covid-19 restrictions at the school.

Fifth year Ben Stewart (16) of the Pupil Representatives group handed out surveys to 10 pupils in each year asking: ‘How do you feel about the removal of face masks within classrooms?’ and ‘How do you feel about break and lunch times returning to all year groups sharing break and lunchtimes?’.

He explained: “Masks are no longer mandatory in class but are still required when traversing halls or when not eating or drinking in social areas. Separated break and lunch times between younger and older year groups have been removed and the times returned to what they were before the restrictions. The report shows how pupils feel about the changes.”

The results reveal a positive reaction towards less required mask wearing. However the results also show an at least 90 per cent negative reaction to the changes to break and lunch times from S4 upwards.

Ben said: “The majority of senior students oppose the changes to break and lunch times. There are concerns around resultant overcrowding within social areas and in shops. Some respondents suggested extending the assembly hall social area and including more chairs and tables. Concerns around crowding in hallways were also highlighted.”

Numerous students were positive about no longer having to wear masks in class. However, concerns around the ‘new normal’ were also highlighted.

“Many were comfortable with the different break and lunch times,” said Ben. “They feel the changes are a shock and confusing.”

Members of staff were asked for anonymous opinion. One replied that masks should stay on in the classroom as Covid is still around, a view backed up by staff and pupil absence. Another said it was nice to be returning to how things were before the restrictions.

Ben concluded: “During restrictions there was a decrease in the number of students lining up to enter shops - the negative reaction could be down to preference in the times implemented. It’s possible that the times that seniors have are easier to avoid being hungry as break and lunch are only two periods apart. Integrating all year groups can make it harder for students to socialise due to not being able to access social areas. Some feel uncomfortable with larger amounts of people, especially younger students.

“Returning to normality is generally being taken well. But some would prefer separate break and lunch times.”

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