“Social distancing is really bad”, Pupil of Cults Academy raises concerns about the return to school

A pupil at Cults Academy wants to see better social distancing after schools reopened.

S4 pupil at Cults Academy Sophie Bentley said she would like to see better social distancing in school and that there was very little being done to keep to distance in corridors.

Ms Bentley said: “I would like to see better social distancing because right now it’s really bad. In the hallways there’s nothing that says you have to stay to the side. We’re all just muddled together.”

-Aberdeen City Council respond to claims distancing in school is “really bad”

Ms Bentley also raised concern about the level of distancing in class.

Ms Bentley said: “In a classroom there’s a line of four of us sat right next to each other, then the seats behind us are just a couple of feet and that’s another row. Also we all sit next to each other, which I don’t understand.”

A pupil has raised concerns about social distancing in Cults Academy, particularly in corridors

Relief to be back in school after finding it hard to concentrate at home

When schools reopened for all pupils in the middle of August, S4 student at Cults Academy Sophie Bentley said she was nervous about going back to class, but pleased not to have to study at home anymore.

Ms Bentley said: “Being at home you could be in your bed or on the couch and that didn’t give you any motivation to actually do your work, and there were so many other distractions. You had your phone and your TV. It was hard to get motivated and stay concentrated on your work.”

Cults Academy’s new school is 18744m2 according to the school’s Icelandic architects Vaarkitektar

Stiff upper lip needed in returning to class

The implementation of a return to school was even more risky for teachers, with growing scientific evidence indicating coronavirus is far more dangerous for older people.

But students can still be carriers of the virus, acting as a vehicle that passes the disease to more vulnerable sections of society.

For Kent Walter, who’s been teaching at the International School Aberdeen since 2001, the first thing he wanted to convey was a sense of reassurance.

Mr Walter said: “I do feel safe. I have to say that right up front. We are extremely lucky at ISA that we have the facilities to accommodate social distancing.”

Mr Kent Walter has taught music at the ISA since 2001

Mr Walter, who teaches music at elementary school and instrumental music and theatre tech at middle and high school, described how he was nervous about returning, but feels everyone has to get on with it right now.

Mr Walter said: “When it was announced we were coming back with teachers I had to admit I was nervous. But then again, in situations like this, you gotta have a stiff upper lip, make it happen and do what they’re telling you to do.”

One thing Mr Walter is sure of is that kids need to be in school.

Mr Walter said: “Should children be back? Yes. They need some kind of face to face contact, not with their teachers, but with their classmates. They learn more from their classmates than they do the online learning.”

-“Deal with it”: tough talking music teacher at the International School describes return

Music tuition in class has been a point of contention since the academic year restarted with a ban on playing wind producing instruments over concerns they could admit the virus.

Mr Walter says he’s getting to teach a lot of “wonderful” theory as tuition techniques have been turned upside down by covid.

Mr Walter explained: “We’re doing some percussion work if we can get instruments cleaned between things.

“Students are playing (from home) and sending in recordings that I help to assess and put together, hopefully with a view to having some concerts by the end of the first term.

“Doors and windows must be open at all times to allow circulation of fresh air – so students have been told to make sure they have plenty of layers on – and we have a deep clean of the school every night.”

To send your child to the ISA can set you back over £13,000 a year

When asked if she feels safe Ms Bentley pauses then eventually says, “yeah”.

The newly entered S4 pupil reaffirms this by saying: “They could do things better, like better social distancing, but I do feel safe.”

Mr Walter says things are very different now and we all just have to adjust.

“I’m feeling overwhelmed, but I think we just have to get into the flow of it.”

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