Mingling at the school gates is the main concern for parents sending kids back to school in England today (8 March), according to new research.
More than one in five parents said that their primary worry about the return to classrooms is large groups congregating before and after school officially starts.
A survey of more than 3,000 parents carried out through the parent survey app, Parent Ping, found that 22 per cent of parents were worried about the potential for Covid-19 to spread among large groups mingling at pick up and drop off times.
What other concerns did parents have about the return to schools?
The survey also found that reduced lesson time, social distancing and masks were prompting concern among parents.
While masks are not legally required in secondary or primary schools, secondary students will be heavily encouraged to use them while inside to reduce the spread of the Covid.
The survey also found that 13 per cent of parents were concerned about social distancing in the classroom, and 10 per cent outside the classroom.
More than one in five parents at both secondary and primary level said they were worried about their children missing out on lesson time due to catching up or Covid restrictions.
But, overall, around 40 per cent of parents said they had no concerns about their children returning to school.
While a majority of children will return to school today, in line with government policy, there will be many around the country who are still unable to return to the classroom, including many disabled children who are clinically vulnerable.
Speaking to the Times, Dr Kathy Weston, a parenting expert, said: “If you are feeling good, the chances are your children will too. Parental anxiety is highly correlated with children’s anxiety. Instead of emphasising all the things that will be different on school return, instead let’s remind our children of everything that will stay the same.”