Take extra care at the gates parents urged, as safe return to school campaign launched

Take extra care at the gates parents told, as council mounts campaign for safe return of children to schools this week.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 7:00 am
Parents welcomed safety measures as schools set to return this week

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Ahead of all pupils resuming in-school learning from Tuesday (20 April), posters, leaflets and social media posts are urging parents to wear face coverings, stay two metres apart and to stick to one adult when dropping off and picking up children.

Families are also asked not to car share and neighbouring households urged to make sure hedges are cut back to give extra space.

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The council is launching it’s ‘spaces for schools’ campaign in a bid to limit the potential spread of COVID and make sure schools and childcare settings can remain open.

A raft of changes have been put in place, including road closures, prohibition of cars, widened footpaths and better signage, as well as the removal of guardrails and new access gates to aid one-way systems.

In February the council also introduced a temporary ‘Quiet Connection’ between Greenbank and the Meadows, providing a safer route for children travelling to nearby schools.

Some parents say traffic measures introduced under the controversial Spaces for People programme is causing frustration, while others said it has made school run safer.

Christine, a singe parent in Leith said: “I think the lack of flexibility is a problem when you have more than one child to drop off and pick up, particularly in different locations. Shutting the roads outside schools at all times is very frustrating as the problem could be dealt with by prohibiting parking outside of school gates only. I have to drive as it’s tight to get my two children to their designated drop offs only 15 minutes apart, so only possible by car in that time frame.”

Jayne Sprought, a Carrick Knowe mum, said: “SfP measures have greatly improved our twice daily pick up and drop off routine. It is much easier to give other adults space and makes it safer to cross roads thanks to significantly fewer cars. Priority traffic filtration have made roads easier to cross. Once the kids are dropped off I appreciate the safety of segregated cycle lines en route to my job as an essential worker.”

But parents agreed that efforts to promote safety as schools go back were important. Emma, a Leith mum said: “It can get crowded near gates, so wearing masks makes sense. Staggered start and finish times has helped too. We’ve had two positive cases in the year at my daughter’s school and thankfully it didn’t spread, but all precautions seem wise. I think it’s too early to relax other measures.”

Councillor Karen Doran, Transport and Environment Vice Convener, said: “I’m sure children and young people across the city will be looking forward to the return to school and a sense of normality, and the chance to interact with their classmates.

“While this is a positive step in the lifting of lockdown restrictions, we must continue to observe guidance and take care when mixing with other people. Over the last year we’ve been working hard to introduce measures outside of every school to help children and carers walk, cycle and wheel safely and easily while physically distancing.

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