Young people in Norfolk have praised their school's efforts to make them feel safe upon returning to the classroom.

Diss Mercury: Secondary school students and staff are advised to wear face coverings, including in the classroom.Secondary school students and staff are advised to wear face coverings, including in the classroom. (Image: PA)

Millions of children and young people returned to the classroom on Monday as part of the first phase of Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown.

Many parents in the county have been worried about their children returning during the pandemic, but pupils in Norfolk have praised their teacher's efforts to keep them safe.

Diss Mercury: Plamena Martinova Marinova. Picture: MAPPlamena Martinova Marinova. Picture: MAP (Image: MAP)

Plamena Mirinova, 17, from Diss, who attends Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form in Norwich, said last week she was nervous about returning, but on Monday it felt "very safe".

She said: "It was really great to have human contact instead of just speaking to people over the phone or Zoom.

"I think my school did really well managing our return, I was worried the rules and restrictions would take up lots of time, but it wasn't that long at all.

"It was the best of both worlds between being safe and learning.

"I had a little issue with my mask making my glasses fog up which felt really uncomfortable and made it difficult to concentrate. I'll figure it out!"

The Department for Education (DfE) has recommended secondary school students wear face coverings where social distancing cannot be maintained from March 8, but stopped short of making it "mandatory".

But for many Norfolk headteachers, their schools will be following the "guidance" as if they had no choice in the matter.

She added: "It was nice to properly interact with teachers and have anything didn't understand re-explained. With online learning and Zoom this can be really difficult but in person, you are actually able to explain.

"It was a bit strange only being able to have lunch with one person, but you get over it.

"Everybody is doing their best trying to give us the best education and keep us all safe at the same time."

Diss Mercury: Emiley Jones, 15, who attends Wymondham High SchoolEmiley Jones, 15, who attends Wymondham High School (Image: Emiley Jones)

Emiley Jones, 15, who attends Wymondham High School, said: "My first day back was okay as it wasn't too different to returning in September, so a lot of it felt quite normal except for everyone wearing masks.

"It was a bit of a shock though having the loud noise of people and not being able to use coping mechanisms that you develop in lockdown like fidgeting or chewing gum.

"I definitely felt safer than last time, but I think that's because now the pandemic has been going on for so long everyone has become desensitized.

"For those going back I would say to try and stay calm."