Close schools tonight to stop Covid, says London mayor

Sadiq Khan wants all schools in the capital to be closed for Christmas by tomorrow to combat the growth of the coronavirus
14th December 2020, 7:47am
William Stewart

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Close schools tonight to stop Covid, says London mayor

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/close-schools-tonight-stop-covid-says-london-mayor
Sadiq Khan Call For Covid School Closures

London's mayor has added to the pressure on the government to allow schools in Covid hotspots to move online, with a call for all schools in the capital to close from tonight.

Sadiq Khan's spokesperson told the Daily Telegraph last night: "The mayor is backing the early closure of schools and would like the government to consider shutting schools from Tuesday.

"He wants tomorrow (today) to be the last day at school." 

The department said that its strong expectation is that all schools enable full-time attendance until the end of term. 


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His call came after one London borough defied education secretary Gavin Williamson by calling on all its schools to close from the end of today.

Royal Greenwich Council leader Dan Thorpe said last night that the authority had no choice after seeing "exponential growth" in cases in the area.

The move comes amid controversy over the Department for Education's insistence that schools remain until the end of the term.

The DfE said last night that it was aware of Greenwich Council's position and was working with them.

The department said that its strong expectation is that all schools enable full-time attendance until the end of term. 

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union, said: "Sadiq Khan is a politician who is reading the science and standing up for education and protecting communities. He also calls for secondary pupils to have regular asymptomatic testing to keep down transmission in schools. These would be important steps forward. 

He added: "We strongly welcome the decision by Greenwich Council to urge all of its schools to close from Monday evening, to all except vulnerable children and the children of key workers. We urge other councils to take the same decision. 

"The government should have been planning for this weeks ago. They have now started to recognise the blindingly obvious fact that transmission is happening in schools and that this can spread to families.

"But the government now needs to act. Much more is needed to control the virus in schools and to protect communities."

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