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Sheffield City Council Advises Schools To Reopen

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Primary and Special Schools in Sheffield have been advised to reopen as planned on Monday 4 January.

Primary and Special Schools Advised to Reopen in Sheffield

Sheffield City Council has written to Primary and Special Schools across the city to advise them to open as planned on Monday 4 January.

Doubt had been cast on the opening of schools following the Christmas break as Coronavirus infection rates increased across the country.

Labour Leader Sir Kier Starmer has also called for a national lockdown to take place in the next 24 hours, which would see schools close if were to happen.

However, a letter sent to schools from Sheffield’s Director of Health Greg Fell states it is safe for them to reopen and urges them to do so.

❗️ NOTE: We’ve received a number of reports of schools rejecting the Council’s advice and remaining closed. Parents should check directly with their schools for the latest specific information.

Statement from Sheffield’s Director of Health, Greg Fell

“We are writing to all schools to outline our advice which is that primary and special schools should open, as usual from tomorrow (Monday 4 January 2021). We strongly believe this is vital for the emotional and educational wellbeing of children.

“We recognise we have to balance educational provision and safety of staff and pupils and have given careful consideration to this in offering the advice we have. Sheffield remains, at this time, in Tier 3 restrictions.

“Our latest case data up to 1 January 2021 tells us we have 175 positive COVID cases per 100,000 which is considerably lower than those in the South which as of 28 December 2020 showed, in London, a rate of 762 positive COVID cases per 100,000.  We have also considered the new variant of the virus which is no doubt more transmissible. However, There isn’t clear evidence to support that it is more transmissible in children nor that it is having a more significant impact on either children or adults.

“Having taken all of this into careful consideration, we believe that it is safe to allow primary and special schools to open. The Public Health team will continue to monitor and review the situation.”Greg Fell, Sheffield City Council Director of Health

Safety and wellbeing of children a priority for Sheffield City Council

In a further statement on the current situation, Councillor Abtisam Mohamed adds that the safety and wellbeing of children is a priority.

“Our first priority is the safety of our children and the hardworking and dedicated staff at our schools. These are the people who have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic to ensure our children continue to receive an education.

“This is why we believe it is important for primary and special schools to open as normal on Monday. We have made this decision after looking at the evidence, following advice from professionals. We will rigorously continue to press all schools on their legal duty to update risk assessments and put in place any necessary measures needed.”

“I understand the concerns that have been played out in the national media, but our priority  is ensuring, where it is safe and sensible to do so, that children receive the education they need and deserve.”Cllr Abtisam Mohamed, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Some Secondary School year groups to remain closed

Some Secondary School year groups will remain closed to some year groups.

This decision has been made to allow the planning and implementation of a school-based testing programme and the Council states it is not reflective of the transmission or case rates in Sheffield.

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