Schools across the borough have put measures in place to stop the spread of coronavirus ahead of their wider reopening.

Barnet health chiefs are “pretty confident” that everything is in place to make schools “Covid secure”, according to director of public health Tamara Djuretic.

The Government has announced plans for all pupils to return to school full time from the beginning of the autumn term.

It has set out measures for schools designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including regular cleaning and handwashing, as well as social distancing arrangements.

At a meeting of Barnet’s health and wellbeing board on Thursday (July 23), Ms Djuretic said schools had been “phenomenal” in working with health officials.

The director of public health said: “Health and safety teams have developed an extensive risk assessment, which has been updated for September, and we receive all the assessments back. We look at all of them, and we are pretty confident that from the Covid-secure point of view, everything is in place.

“We do know, as we are meeting each other more, that we are more exposed to potential infection, and it is inevitable that incidents and outbreaks will happen.

“No-one is to blame for that. The main thing to know is to react very quickly and have everything in place to be able to suppress those incidents if and when they occur.

“It’s really important for kids to be in school. We’ve seen a number of adverse effects for children being at home and also those children potentially coming from a lower socio-economic background – they are less likely to progress and the gap between educational attainment can widen. The best thing is for kids to be in school.”

The comments came during a discussion of the borough’s outbreak control plan, which sets out how the council will respond to a Covid-19 outbreak.

Chris Munday, executive director of children’s services, said around 9,000 of the borough’s students, and 40 per cent of vulnerable children, are now back in school, which he said is a “big increase on where it was at the outset of the pandemic”.

He added: “The key issue for me is that parents need to feel confident. Our concerns are that more parents will chose to electively home educate, and I don’t think that would be the right thing for children and young people in Barnet.”