EVERY state secondary school in York is set to reopen to pupils on Monday (March 8) bucking national trends.

As the first measure taking the country out of the third national coronavirus lockdown, schools are allowed to reopen fully from Monday, but many across England have needed to stagger start dates because of the enormity of the task of swab testing thousands of pupils.

It comes after last month, the Department for Education announced that all secondary pupils should be offered a test for Covid-19 before setting foot back in school. The government said that a staggered start to term was permitted, so that schools could test pupils, year group by year group over the first week back.

In York however the chairman of the city’s Schools and Academies Board, John Tomsett, said there will be no need for a staggered start at any of the nine state secondaries.

Pupils at All Saints RC , Archbishop Holgate’s CE, Fulford, Huntington, Joseph Rowntree, Manor CE Academy, Millthorpe,Vale of York Academy and York High are all back in class on Monday.

This is because school staff, parents and pupils have been supported by City of York Council’s education department and Public Health York to set up a full testing programme over the past week.

Mr Tomsett said that, while testing is voluntary, across the city a high number of pupils have been tested already. The city’s community testing sites have been heavily booked while schools have set up their own testing centres.

This huge effort has enabled all York pupils to go back to school together on Monday, rather than staggering the full reopening over the whole week.

Mr Tomsett said: “York’s secondaries just wanted to see all their pupils back in school as soon as possible. Staff went out of their way to set up school testing stations and parents and pupils have been hugely cooperative. The city council’s community testing sites have been invaluable in helping offer all our pupils tests. Public Health York colleagues have been tremendously supportive. Thanks to a monumental citywide effort, we are set to begin teaching all our pupils from Monday, something that has not been possible in many Local Authorities across the country.”