02:02PM, Friday 26 February 2021
The Government should implement a ‘tiers’ system for schools when they reopen to all students next month to eliminate confusion dealing with potential coronavirus cases, the council’s health lead has said.
Councillor Stuart Carroll (Con, Boyn Hill), the cabinet member for health, has written a letter to health secretary Gavin Williamson asking for specific guidelines to be created for when schools return on Monday, March 8.
Many schools struggled when they returned from the summer holidays in September, with uncertainty over whether to close down the school, send classes home or just isolate close contacts if a student or staff member tested positive for the virus.
After speaking with school staff, parents and guardians across the borough, Cllr Carroll has called on the Government to introduce a formal criterion which all schools can follow if staff or students test positive for coronavirus after they reopen in March.
He said: “I have spoken with officials at the Department for Education about some things I think need to be looked at.
“I do think some kind of criteria needs to be put together, similar to the tier system we had before lockdown, to say when a school should be open or closed.
“Of course, we hope that won’t happen but we have to be realistic, even with the support of the vaccine programme, there needs to be proper criteria there that enable decisions to be made on an evidence basis.”
Cllr Carroll added that he would like to see the Government create more online resources for teachers and home-schooling parents and guardians to use while students are still home learning.
He also expressed a desire for a five-year plan to help support students when the country emerges from the COVID-19 crisis and returns to normal life.
The Department For Education has been approached for comment.