My car hasn’t been driven for a couple of weeks. It’s just parked up outside the house looking all forlorn.

So I thought it was time to take it for a bit of a ride, warm up the engine, get the surface rust of the brake discs and give the satnav the chance to tell me where I was going wrong.

The obvious thing to do was to go for a drive with a purpose which meant combining the road trip with a visit to some pleasant open space where I could have a bit of a walk.

Taking a circuitous route to make sure the car was fully warmed up, we arrived in Widnes and parked near to Victoria Park.

Regular readers of this column may recall that I ‘discovered’ Victoria Park during the first lockdown. It’s big so you can socially distance easily and it’s very well cared for. A circuit of the park’s perimeter is just about the right distance for a leisurely walk.

Anyway, back to last week. Because it’s popular, finding a parking spot can be a little problematic and we ended up parking quite close to the Birchfield Road entrance. Anyone familiar with the area will know this is also quite close to Wade Deacon High School.

In life, as with comedy, timing is everything and we had got our timing completely and utterly wrong.

Just as we were about to get out of the car, a rough approximation of the Golden Horde appeared. Actually, it was school home time and hundreds of schoolchildren were suddenly everywhere.

You have to keep in mind that we have been extreme social distancers since March and the sight of all those youngsters in close proximity was like something from Dante’s Inferno or a zombie herd in The Walking Dead. There was no semblance of social distancing going on. Kids being kids, they were laughing, jostling, sharing smartphone screens and walking in big groups.

I can’t begin to explain the level of threat and anxiety I felt. We didn’t even get out of the car. Instead we hunkered down, locked the doors and drove back to Warrington.

This got me thinking. Why, I wondered, hadn’t I seen those large numbers of kids on the streets at home time in Warrington?

Please remember I don’t have any school-age children at home any more so many of you will know the answer to this already.

Very sensibly, in my opinion, Warrington Council has issued guidance to ensure schools in the town provide as much of a Covid-secure environment as possible. And as part of that guidance, the advice is to stagger school start and finish times to ensure social distancing, as well as staggering lunch and break.

This seems like such a good idea – no mass home-time hordes. I wonder why our neighbours in Halton haven’t done the same.

Not unreasonably, the government has insisted that schools should stay open to minimise the effects on children’s education and much has also been made of children not being coronavirus super-spreaders. Even the World Health Organization’s (WHO) advice says the role of children in transmission is not yet fully understood.

The WHO also says children and adolescents represent about 8 per cent of reported cases and mild and asymptomatic infections in children are more common and may be under-reported.

Perhaps that’s about to change. All pupils, their families and teachers in some area down south are being asked to take a Covid test, as a mass testing scheme is put in place for secondary schools.

Extra mobile testing units will be sent out after east London and parts of Kent and Essex became some of England's major coronavirus hotspots.

Cases in these areas have risen fast, especially among 11 to 18-year-olds.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying: "I urge every student, parent and teacher in these areas to step forward for testing – irrespective of whether they have symptoms. While Covid-19 may be lower risk to children and young people, it still poses a significant risk to their families and communities."

This, of course, puts teachers and other school staff firmly in the front line and at significant risk of being exposed to the virus. I don’t envy them.