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'Impossible' to social distance in schools in Scotland, pupil claims
18 August 2020, 07:29
A student has claimed it is "impossible" to social distance in schools, and says the return to school after months of lockdown has been "overwhelming".
Dylan, a 16-year-old from West Lothian, told LBC News he has found it "unsettling" how little social distancing rules are being enforced.
Students in Scotland began returning to schools last week, after they were closed in March to stem the spread of the virus.
But despite rules on masks and social distancing being commonplace across the country, students have claimed these measures are not being enforced.
Current guidance by the Scottish government states: "Secondary schools should encourage distancing where possible between young people particularly in the senior phase."
Dylan said it thinks social distancing is a "reasonable suggestion", and added: "It's what we've been doing for the past seven months, and when I met up with my friends we were very careful about staying apart just because it was the right thing to do."
"But at school I think it would be impossible to social distance with everyone at school. It wouldn't be possible to social distance without splitting up the classes somehow.
"1,200 students at my school get busses, so the amount of busses we would need to social distance would be ridiculous.
"Then in all the classes I'm sitting beside a person which is right beside me shoulder to shoulder for most lessons and then in the hallways everyone is moving around in a circle, it just does not work."
He added there hasn't been "any push" for students to social distance within their year groups, and within classes teachers haven't mentioned anything about class mates to remain apart.
Dylan said: "It's impossible because of where the desks are. There has been talk and people are careful not to go too close to teachers but that gets broken a lot.
"They do have a little taped off section at the front of the room which they try and stay in but that's the only social distancing that's really been enforced or talked about.
"The only things we've had are the one-way system and hand sanitiser when we enter a room but even that isn't really enforced."
And the return to school hasn't been plain sailing either, with Dylan calling the experience of going back to school after so long at home "overwhelming".
He said: "I've been zoning out by lunchtime because there's so much going on that it's hard to take in and keep going.
"I don't think anyone talked nearly enough about mental transition because you can't really go from five months at home to such a high-speed schedule."
Additional reporting by Fraser Knight.