Tameside Council is advising against the wholesale closure of primary schools but say their position is ‘under constant review’ as Covid-19 rates continue to rise locally.
Cllr Brenda Warrington, Tameside Council executive leader, and Cllr Leanne Feeley, executive member for lifelong learning, equalities, culture and heritage, have issued the following statement.
“We know that the best place for our children to be, whenever possible, is in school. Our schools have responded amazingly to the challenges the pandemic has presented.
“In view of the current rates of infection in the borough, the effectiveness of the track and trace model in our schools and the risk posed to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children by not being in school, we are not advising the wholesale closure of primary schools.
“We have always supported schools to make safe and sensible decisions that are right for their community, this will continue to be our position and approach.
“We are keeping the situation under constant review balancing the need to keep children in face-to-face education wherever possible with the need to slow community transmission of the Covid-19 virus.
“We know that children suffer greatly from missing education and that being in school is good for the emotional and mental wellbeing for our children, particularly those most vulnerable.
“Our current infection rate places Tameside 129th in the country and ninth (of 10) in Greater Manchester. We are acutely aware that rates are increasing locally and we will keep this position under constant review.
“We know our schools have done an amazing job of managing transmission and keeping our children and school staff as safe as possible in recent months and will continue to do so.
“In Tameside, infection rates were much higher throughout the autumn term than they are currently, and our schools used effective risk management and support from our public health teams to remain open throughout.
“We will work closely with the director of public health, schools and trade union representatives to support head teachers in taking the decisions which are right for their schools.
“We will monitor the impact of the new strain and give parents and carers as much notice as possible should the transmission rates lead to a change in our position.”