Sefton Council believes the time is now “appropriate” for parents to send their children back to some schools, starting from next week.
Schools in areas such as Southport, Formby, Crosby and Bootle had been due to welcome more pupils back on Monday this week. But the council postponed their return due to fears over reports that the R rate of infection for Coronavirus in the North West had risen above 1.
In a letter to parents, they said: “We believe it is now appropriate to recommend that schools do progress to wider opening for children and young people in Nursery, Reception, Year 1, Year 6, Year 10 and Year 12 from June 22, 2020 for the following reasons:
“The available evidence is that the R is below 1 both Nationally and in the North West.
“All schools have carried out risk assessments and taken the necessary steps to safely progress to wider opening.
“There is sufficient PPE available locally and all schools have been provided with a ‘starter’ pack.
“We realise all school circumstances are different and, therefore, not every school will be able to open for pupils other than vulnerable children and key worker children as at the start of lockdown.”
Schools across the borough have already been teaching children of NHS staff, emergency workers and other key workers since the Coronavirus outbreak began in March.
But debates have taken place since then over when more children should return to class.
In the letter, Sefton Council chief executive Dwayne Johnson and director of children’s social care and education Vicky Buchanan said the ‘R’ rate of coronavirus infections was believed to below one, citing this as one of the reasons why it would be “appropriate” to reopen schools.
They said: “As numbers grow and space is limited due to the two metre social distancing then schools will need to prioritise the key workers’ children as defined by government and vulnerable children.
“We continue to appreciate all the work that has been undertaken by the headteachers and staff in support of our children and families whether they are in school or receiving home learning. “Our schools will continue to enable children who remain at home through a wide range of learning opportunities.
“We thank you again for all your support throughout the pandemic in working with the schools and local authority to support your children.”
The definition of key workers remains the same as at the start of lockdown: health and social care; education and childcare; key public services; local and national government; food and other necessary goods; public safety and national security; transport; utilities, communication and financial services.
Further guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educationalprovision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
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