Dear Parents and Carers,
Happy New Year. Not the start to the year that I wanted but I am very sorry to have to inform you that school will be closed to all children except Key worker children for the next two weeks. This is due to staff acing on advice given by their unions. They have been advised that it is unsafe to return to work teaching full classes on Monday. The unions have called on all primary schools to move to remote learning for the first two weeks of January except to vulnerable children and the children of key workers. Unions have written to employers, urging them to look at the advice of SAGE, the Government’s scientific advisory group, and are urging their members, on the basis of that science, to tell their head teacher that it is unsafe for them to be in school – in crowded buildings with no/limited social distancing, no PPE and inadequate ventilation.
I wanted to give you as much notice as possible hence this e-mail on a Sunday afternoon! I will write to you all again tomorrow to give details of remote learning etc. Please note we will be open from Tuesday to the children that accessed Key worker places in the summer term. If you require a place please let me know by contacting me on firstname.lastname@example.org at school tomorrow stating the name of your child/ren and the days you require. You may be asked to provide proof that you are a key worker. Your understanding and support with this matter is greatly appreciated.
The Local Authority have issued the following statement from Councillor Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council.
In light of the Government’s decision to keep primary schools in London and parts of the south east closed, we are concerned about the safety of the schools in Gateshead.
Obviously we are now also in tier 4, figures in the borough, along with the rest of the region, have risen significantly (Gateshead is up from 107 cases per 100,000 on 14 December to 397 per 100,000 of the population as of 1 January), and along with the impact of the new variant, the safety of our residents is paramount.
Our schools have been amazing throughout the pandemic, showing incredible resilience and all of our school staff have done everything they can to protect our young people and their families.
The national position may change once again, however if it does not and any Gateshead primary school feels unable to open, then we, as a Council, will fully support their decision to move to online learning.
Schools where possible will remain open to support vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers.
We understand that this is a very difficult time for our parents, carers and school staff as well as all of our young people, but if we all work together we can help to reduce the infection rates in Gateshead.
We would ask that you check your individual school’s website for the latest information and any updates relating to closures.