Covid chaos as more than 100 Norfolk schools stay closed
- Credit: Brittany Woodman
Scores of schools across Norfolk have kept their doors closed this morning after concerns were raised over the safety of children, staff and families.
The government said on December 30 that all primary schools would reopen from today, while secondary schools and colleges would undergo a phased reopening as rising Covid-19 rates and a new variant of the virus continues to sweep across the UK.
But after the National Education Union (NEU) advised its members that it would not be safe to return to classrooms today, many schools across the county have chosen not to reopen straight away after the Christmas break.
Not all are closed because of low staffing levels – some continue to have heating issues amid freezing temperatures, while others have decided to take an emergency inset day in order to carry out risk assessments and plan for the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, others will close for the wider pupil population, but will open their doors for vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers.
According to the Suffolk County Council website, there are no affected schools in Suffolk.
A message on Norfolk County Council's website says: "Primary schools may need to stagger the return of children to school from Monday 4 January 2021. Your school will let you know if they cannot open for your child from Monday.
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"The rate of COVID infection increased in Norfolk over the Christmas break. This may mean that some Norfolk schools do not know if they have enough staff to open safely.
"It is a headteacher's decision, with their governing body /trust, as to whether they can open safely. The council will support any school leader who makes a decision not to open for the majority of pupils on 4 January 2021. Each school will be responsible for this decision.
"Parents and carers should check their school communications to see if their school is closed on Monday 4 January.
"Children of critical workers and vulnerable children will be invited to attend as soon as possible. Contact your school to confirm your place in school from Monday 4 January - every school must open for those children, from the first day of term if they possibly can.
"It may take schools a day or two, or more, to decide whether they have enough staff to reopen to all children as soon as possible. Keep looking out for messages from your child's school to see when your child can go back to school. Children will be given some remote learning if they are at home. As Norfolk is in Tier 4 many parents and carers are expected to work from home if they can."