Covid: Council asks schools to close by end of Monday

A London council leader says the authority has no choice but to ask schools to close doors as coronavirus rates in the area see "exponential growth"
13th December 2020, 6:14pm
John Roberts

Share

Covid: Council asks schools to close by end of Monday

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/covid-council-asks-schools-close-end-monday
Coronavirus: The Dfe Has Announced New Contingency Measures To Keep Schools Open

A London council is asking all of its schools to move to online learning from the end of Monday for everyone except vulnerable children and those of key workers after a surge in Covid cases.

Royal Greenwich Council leader Dan Thorpe said on Sunday evening 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 tonight that it 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. 


CovidRapid testing for secondary aged students in hotspot areas of the South 

Wales: All secondary schools move to online learning

Heads: Unions join forces in joint call for a move to remote lessons


 

Over the past few days, infections have continued to rise & now the highest at any time since March. @PHE_uk have told me we are in an exponential growth that demands immediate action. Therefore, I'm writing to all schools in @Royal_Greenwich today with a series of immediate asks pic.twitter.com/FIiX3MyZTJ

- Dan Thorpe (@DanLThorpe) December 13, 2020

In a post on Twitter today Councillor Thorpe said: "Over the past few days, infections have continued to rise and now the highest at any time since March.

"Public Health England have told me we are in an exponential growth that demands immediate action. Therefore, I'm writing to all schools in Royal Greenwich today with a series of immediate asks.

"I'm asking all schools in Royal Greenwich to close from the end of the day tomorrow and move to online learning for the remainder of the term, with the exception of key worker children and vulnerable children, the same arrangements with the first lockdown.

"We are well underway to distribute 8,000 breakfast bags and financial payments for children on free school meals. We will continue to sort this and will provide more details soon. 

"I recognise this isn't the end of term anyone wanted but we don't have any choice given the scale of the challenge we are facing, we don't have any other option."

He also posted a copy of a letter he has sent to parents explaining the decision.

Following my earlier statement, here is an open letter to families across @Royal_Greenwich asking schools to close their premises from tomorrow across #greenwich. As a teacher myself, I know how valuable education is but our rates are rising too quickly & action is needed. pic.twitter.com/VClICoCoLQ

- Dan Thorpe (@DanLThorpe) December 13, 2020

The announcement comes as the heads of the two major school leadership unions called on the government to allow schools in Covid hotspot areas to be allowed to move lessons online while rapid testing is carried out.

There has also been controversy over the DfE raising the prospect of using legal action to ensure schools and trusts do not decide to close their doors early this term because of Covid concerns.

A DfE spokesperson said: "It is a national priority to keep education settings open full time and it is vital that children remain in school until the end of the term.

 "Schools, colleges and early years settings across the country have worked tremendously hard to put protective measures in place that are helping reduce the risk of the virus being transmitted and our regional school commissioner teams continue to support local authorities and school trusts to remain open and help resolve any operational issues."

 

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Register for free to read more

You can read two more articles on Tes for free this month if you register using the button below.

Alternatively, you can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters

Already registered? Log in

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Subscribe to read more

You can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters