Worried students and teachers have all had to overcome their Covid-19 fears and make the big step to return to the classroom.

After months of isolation and huge restrictions, some year groups have been able to attend school – but there have been some changes to the way they are able to work and to move around the building.

Many schools have introduced one-way systems and hand-sanitising points at every classroom, and youngsters must also now answer questions about their health before they are able to start the day.

Among those working non-stop to help keep lessons running in the new digital format is Daniel Gee, deputy head at Beacon Hill School in Aspatria, who said: “Teachers are back in the building, but have never stopped working. Many have not had a break since February half term, working significantly longer hours than before the closure.

“Staff have adjusted well to online teaching, created thousands of new resources, worked hard manning the Hub school in order to ensure provision to both the children of key workers and some of the most vulnerable students.

“This is not unique to Beacon Hill – as a profession we should be very proud. Many parents have written to the school expressing their appreciation.”

Over the last few months students at Beacon Hill have been sharing their lockdown diaries – and now they have shared their return-to-school diaries describing their fears and excitement.

Year 10 student Kaylee Snell is preparing for her GCSEs. She wrote: “I had to go school today. I was kind of looking forward to it, seeing my friends again, getting back on track with my work and concentrating.

“As soon as I got to the door we had to sanitise our hands and a teacher asked three questions about our health. Do you have a temperature? Do you have a cough? And have you lost any sense of smell and taste?

“The tables were separated, two metres apart, and there were only up to four people in the room.

“I hadn’t seen my friends in so long – I was so excited to see them.

“There are sanitisers at every door and warning signs all over the school. There are yellow lines all over to make sure we are keeping our two metres’ distance. As we were walking out we noticed the main toilet doors had been taken off.

“We asked Mr Gee about it and he explained that when you go to the toilet to wash your hands, that is when they are dirty. So does everyone else. You touch the door handle, wash your hands, but then touch the door handle again. So does everyone else.

“This would be a hotspot for germs so they’ve decided to take the main door off and not cause anything to spread.

“It was nice to see friends again and get back into school – I guess I kind of missed the place.

“We’ve had three months being worried at home, but it seems like school has been made into the safest place around. I think we’re all happy to be back.”

Another student who has shared her diary is Jemma Lambert. She said: “After getting the news about our school closing due to Covid-19 and everyone having to be in lockdown, my first thought was ‘wow, this is going to be amazing having to not go into school’.

“But after a week of getting work sent for all seven lessons of the day, I was finding it hard trying to get all of it finished.

“Then weekly projects got introduced and it was becoming easier to cope with the amount of work that was getting sent home.

“After a while everyone got a letter sent to our homes saying how our school was going to give students the opportunity to come into school to get taught some lessons.

“With this letter was a home school agreement form that had to be signed by both students and parents/carers, which was to make sure that all students understood that they had to follow all the strict rules with social distancing. washing hands and using hand sanitizer, so our school could be as clean and hygienic as possible for all the students.

“For us Year 10s it seemed such a good idea – I especially thought this was an excellent idea as I don’t want to lose time from my lessons which might affect my GCSEs.

“Each student had been told a specific day and time they could come to school for one hour to catch up on either their English, maths and science.

“The first day getting ready to walk up I had to follow orders: these had been given so I knew what I had to do between getting to school and leaving and making sure I kept two metres apart at all times.

“Walking up the street, I felt a slight anxious and nervous feeling, knowing that it would be weird not being able to be close to my friends when I see them for the first time in three months.

“On the way to the room I noticed all the cleaning supplies outside the toilets and around the school, the toilets had their doors taken off so nobody would need to touch the handles so it was more hygienic for everybody.

“When I arrived in the class there was four tables, all separated with markings to show where we could go and a box where our teacher would have their own personal space to teach us.

“Personally, I think it was a good idea going in for some of our main subjects. It was nice to see some of my teachers as well as my friends who I haven’t been able to see in person.”

“If I had to compare it to home learning, I would say that it’s so much better, firstly because I can have a sibling free place to learn and I can properly learn things without getting confused because it’s getting explained to me in person.”

Getting back into a routine, Caitlyn Simpson is another student happy to be back. She said: “About three months ago was what felt like the best day I had had in ages – we got the news that we weren’t going to be in school until further notice.

“Keeping in mind everyone was gossiping about school shutting for about a week before this, but all the teachers said it probably wouldn’t.

“The day we got the news, we were in seventh lesson, the last lesson of the day, so we were already excited. Mrs Schafer – the Executive Head Teacher – and Mr Gee – the Head of School – came into our classroom, which was really unusual because they rarely come in together unless it is important.

“ They gave us all some work on paper and spoke for a while and said that school was officially closing and we were going to have work sent home.

“I was buzzing. Little did I know what the future held.

“All I thought was that I wouldn’t be doing much work, I would be getting to sleep in, and stay up late, go out with my mates, and I could just sit on my Xbox.

“When it actually came to it, it was nothing like that. “I spent two-and-a-half months stressing, working. I got the lie-ins, but all the time I had off I wished I was just back in school.

“When I got a call from school saying I was going back, I kid you not that was the best news I have heard in what feels like forever.

“I was actually excited to go back, even though before coronavirus, I was always complaining about school and wished I wasn’t in, but after being off for so long, it was actually so nice being back and seeing all the teachers again. And I especially couldn’t wait to get out from my house, finally.

The day went like this. I woke up around 2 hours before I set off, just because I was so ecstatic and wanted to be ready on time. And I got ready and walked up. When I arrived at school, I saw all this yellow tape on the floor. Now before Covid-19 and lockdown, I wouldn’t have known what it was for, but after being in a few shops, I know exactly what it was. Markings every 2 metres so we were social distancing. I was walking up to the main entrance, and there was my teacher (Miss Laithwaite, my favourite! (sorry Mr Gee)).

We exchanged hellos and I just thought how long it had actually been since I saw her. Then she had to follow protocol and ask me questions like whether I had a temperature and have I lost my sense of taste/ smell and whether I had a cough etc. These are symptoms of the coronavirus and they were just seeing if I had it basically, which I luckily don’t. Then I went into the classroom and did some maths. It literally felt like I had been in there 2 minutes, but a whole hour had actually gone by. I couldn’t believe it when Miss said that that was the lesson over. But even though it felt like I was on the TV and someone had pressed fast forward, I had a really good time seeing my mates and the teachers again after a long time.” “

“I honestly can’t wait to go back full time, when our lives finally go back to normal. I have a whole different perspective on everything and not have such a bad attitude towards school, I’m just enjoy the little time I have left and do my best.”