Harpenden and St Albans pupils snapped breaching social distancing rules

PUBLISHED: 13:09 15 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:14 15 September 2020

Pupils from St Albans School are being urged to maintain social distancing when visiting the city centre.

Pupils from St Albans School are being urged to maintain social distancing when visiting the city centre.

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Are our schoolchildren doing enough to promote social distancing?

Social distancing is not in place with some school students in the district. These are Roundwood Park students. Picture: SuppliedSocial distancing is not in place with some school students in the district. These are Roundwood Park students. Picture: Supplied

Roundwood Park in Harpenden and St Albans School have both been in the spotlight after pupils were seen ignoring the government guidelines.

Crowds of students from St Albans School have been reported coalescing in French Row at lunchtime, ignoring oncoming pedestrians and filling the footpath.

Headmaster Jonathan Gillespie said: “The school recognises and is robustly advocating the importance of social distancing rules at this time, given the vital role they play to help reduce the spread of the COVID virus.

“We have proactively communicated with our parents, pupils and staff regarding the importance of social distancing and permitted group sizes and we have clearly stated how we expect pupils to conduct themselves when in the city centre. A member of the Senior Leadership Team is on duty in town each lunchtime to monitor our pupils and to ensure that these expectations are being met.

“Monday was the first day of newly-announced government requirements. The school has already made changes to its lunchtime rules for older pupils since the beginning of term and will continue to do so as necessary, in light of experience and the changing government legislation, together with reminders about being mindful of other members of public in the busy city centre.”

Meanwhile Roundwood Park pupils were seen congregating en masse outside the Tesco Metro in the town.

A reader who contacted us with photos of the breaches said: “I am not sure what the distancing rules are within Roundwood School but they certainly do not seem to have any outside of school.”

Headteacher Alan Henshall replied: “We were concerned to see the photos and we will work with Tesco and our students to make sure that they maintain social distancing in the community.”

The breaches come in the wake of a warning by Herts director of public health Jim McManus that private parties must stop – or schools may have to close.

He has written to all schools in Herts with a strong and clear message to parents and carers of children: stop house parties and private events or face enforcement action of up to a £10,000 fine.

Mr McManus was speaking before the “Rule of Six” was introduced this week: “The recent rise in cases of COVID-19 in young people under 20, has seen several outbreaks linked to young people who have attended house parties where people from more than one household have mixed and, as a result, have spread the virus.

“If the current spread continues, it is likely that we will need to close schools with high numbers of cases for a period of time, and this risks causing disruption at a time when we wish to avoid this.”


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