THE BUBBLE system in our schools during the pandemic has been a controversial measure since pupils returned to their desks.

With small groups of students and staff self-isolating for up to 14 days at any one time, most parents will have received a notification at least once in the past school year.

In the worst cases where staffing levels are too low or both pupils and teachers are affected, it has forced schools to shut their doors in a full closure.

But speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, education minister Gavin Williamson revealed changes from August 16.

He told MPs: “We recognise that the system of bubbles and isolation is causing disruption to many children’s education. That is why we’ll be ending bubbles and transferring contact tracing to the NHS Test and Trace system for early years settings, schools and colleges.”

Mr Williamson added: "Keeping children in consistent groups was essential to control the spread of the virus when our population was less vaccinated."

Face coverings and social distancing will no longer be advised while those under 18 will no longer need to isolate if they come into contact with a positive case. Instead children will be contacted by test and trace and advised to take a PCR test.

In addition to ending bubbles, schools will no longer have to stagger start and finishes.

And while the Secretary of State says it will allow pupils "to get back on with their education and lives", we wanted to ask how York parents are feeling about the move. 

Matthew Collins said: "The speed it goes round the bubbles in the one day an infected kid is in school before they realise (then 5 or 6 test positive while isolating due to the bubble burst), I dread to think how fast it will spread if they aren't sent home as a precaution."

Sharing similar caution, Lou Jones Gaskell said: "The bubble system has been incredibly effective in stopping the infection spreading across whole school populations.

"Keeping masks and social distancing in place where possible in corridors and other public spaces should be kept in place until the vaccination process is much further along, not just in schools but everywhere."

Lou added: "The new Delta variant is much more infectious than the previous variants. If we didn't have bubbles, what would stop more children and young people becoming infected? There are rapidly increasing numbers becoming infected, even with the bubble system and other protections in place; why would getting rid of these protections reduce infection rates?"

Other parents were happy to see that the system will be shut down with Gemma Richardson simply writing: "Very happy".

Another York resident Neil Marwood said it was "Long overdue".

Sophie Fraser said: "Absolutely pointless when they have siblings at home, attend sports and after school clubs never saw the point in them in the first place!"

Meanwhile Suzanne McCloud believes: "It’s time to live with Covid. I think the kids have been through enough and they need to be given the opportunity to enjoy normal school life again."

Some of us are still sitting on the fence. For Bee Louise Freeman, it's not as clear cut.

"Not sure," she said.

"I’m currently off with covid after my daughter caught covid in her bubble and a few more. It’s going round kids a lot at the minute. It’s a scary thought but we gotta get on with it at some point,the kids haven’t had normality for a long time."