Teachers and pupils have tentatively returned back to school this week across Scotland. As a GP and a mum, I have had mixed feelings over the decision to reopen schools.

I have been reviewing the trends and have felt reassured by the statistics thus far that were showing that the overall COVID related cases and deaths has been reducing in Scotland.

Objectively therefore, the return back to school was met with relief and gratitude.

It has been a long five months and worries about the future of our childrens’ education has been real. Homeschooling, for many parents, was an ordeal so handing them over to the experts this week felt like Christmas had come early. All we want is for some normality to be restored. However, as I walked my son into school, it was a far cry from normal.

Despite the fact that our school was fully prepared and transparent about all the necessary changes, there was an air of overwhelming anxiety at the school gates. From parents wearing face coverings, children being collected from the playground in groups to being unable to stay and talk to fellow parents, the usual first day buzz was absent.

Whilst I have full confidence in the measures our school has put in place and I believe my son is safe to be back, playing at the back of my mind is the recent reintroduction of lockdown in Aberdeen. It has been hard to ignore the cluster of cases which originated in a pub; a stark reminder for us all that the virus is very much still a threat and so close to home too. Even footballers – who should have known better – broke the rules which has sent messages to young people that this behaviour is acceptable. We are all supposed to be in this together yet personal responsibility does not appear to feature high up on some people’s agenda and as a result, the remaining public suffers.

Today we heard of a Glasgow school that was closed due to a cluster of cases thought to be secondary to a house party. I want to ask, where were the adults who should have been supervising their kids? Why was this house party allowed to happen? It comes back to all of us accepting personal responsibility.

These clusters make me very upset because whilst the majority are following the guidance, some people are simply not taking it seriously.

If these types of behaviours continue, we are going to no doubt see local lockdowns on a more extensive scale. I fully anticipate there being a rise in cases with schools returning. Typically when schools go back, we always see a spike in viral infections and coughs and colds. Flu season is also upon us. However this year COVID is adding another dimension to how the winter will play out.

I urge everyone to take their role in helping the fight against COVID seriously. Everyone has a duty of care to protect themselves and each other. Coronavirus, for the foreseeable future, is here to stay.