05:39PM, Sunday 03 January 2021
Slough Borough Council has said it supports local primary schools to make whatever individual decisions they must make on whether to open this coming week.
Due to the increased spread of COVID-19 and the more infectious new strain, the Government announced on New Year's Day that some primary schools in tier 4 areas will be closing.
The Government has advised that primary schools in Slough can reopen this week - but some Slough schools have decided against reopening, due to their individual circumstances. These schools will be contacting parents directly.
Slough Borough Council said in a statement:
"With covid case rates high locally and in our surrounding areas, concerns over covid safety of both children and staff, and many staff, families and children stricken with this virus, isolating or living with those who are vulnerable, schools will be making difficult decisions on how they can best operate in very testing circumstances.
"As a council we strongly support our head teachers in any changes they feel they need to make to protect the operational viability of their school and so they can continue to provide the best service to children.
"We have been in contact with our head teachers throughout the weekend and they are dedicated to finding the best solution for your children; no one knows their school, their staff, their families better than our head teachers and they have our support, operationally and morally."
Councillor Martin Carter, lead member for children and schools, said: “We completely understand the turmoil parents are going through and we have requested an urgent meeting with the Department for Education to stress the need for consistent and transparent decision making around the opening of schools including the criteria they used to close schools in London but leave areas with high rates just outside the M25 open as usual.
“That decision has sown confusion across the board and left our schools in a very difficult position.
“However, one thing is clear; both we, and all our schools, want what is best for Slough children and any decisions will be made with the health and wellbeing of children at the forefront of schools’ minds.”
He added: “Parents of children who may be vulnerable will need to make individual decisions based on their own children and their own family circumstances.
"We understand this will be difficult, however we do ask any parent with concerns to speak to their child’s school to discuss safety measures in place before keeping their child at home when the school is open to them.”
There are currently 28 primary schools in Slough, educating more than 15,000 children.
Current COVID-19 rates in Slough are 781.1 per 100,000 of the population. There were 252 new cases reported on January 2, according to latest figures.
Slough Borough Council added that it does not have the power to close a school - only the schools themselves or the Government can order a closure.
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