Elementary schools across England are about to close, although local recommendations are recommending opening them as teachers tell school principals that they will not be teaching full classes.
An elementary school in Tier 3 Leeds was forced to close indefinitely for most children after 16 employees signed a letter saying they were “exercising their right not to teach full classes”.
A number of schools in the area said they are considering their situation, despite local authorities assuring parents and staff that elementary schools can be opened safely – especially as coronavirus case rates in Yorkshire are much lower than in the south of England.
In a letter to parents on Sunday evening, Caroline Hoyle, Headmistress of Gildersome Primary School in Leeds said: “This morning I received an email from 16 staff members, most of whom are teachers, saying they are exercising their rights Make use of not teaching full classes from tomorrow. “
Ms. Hoyle said the school was closed to all children on Monday as key worker families and vulnerable children were identified.
She said, “Children who have not been assigned a place in school are not allowed to attend school and will have to study remotely from Tuesday, January 5th until further notice.
“As I write this letter, I know that this will create anxiety, stress and potential financial loss for families, and I cannot apologize enough for this and the delay in notification.
“With a very heavy heart, I currently have no choice but to carry out the above measures. I’ll keep you updated as soon as I know more and get in touch with the local authority to find a way forward. “
Kate McNulty, principal of Hugh Gaitskell Primary School in Leeds, wrote to parents that the school will be closed for two weeks “due to staff shortages” for all weeks except for vulnerable children and key worker families.
In Doncaster, Public Health Director Rupert Suckling wrote to parents that all elementary and special schools in the area would close on Monday for a “Covid Planning Day” so school principals can take stock and plan.
Mr Suckling said the city had seen a slight increase in the number of cases, with the overall rate for Doncaster at 240.5 infections per 100,000 people in the seven days ending December 28.
He said the rates for young people are: 0-4 years, 72 infections per 100,000; 5-9 years, 61.6; 10-14 years, 109; 15-19 years, 291.
In Sheffield, Public Health Director Greg Fell wrote to all elementary and special schools on Sunday evening to recommend that they reopen.
Mr. Fell says: “We are writing to all schools to outline our advice that primary and special schools should be open as usual from tomorrow (Monday). We strongly believe that this is vital to the emotional and educational wellbeing of children. “
Mr Fell said the latest data from Sheffield as of Jan. 1 showed the city had 175 positive cases per 100,000, “which is significantly lower than the south.”
He said: “We also considered the new variant of the virus, which is undoubtedly more transmissible.
“However, there is no clear evidence that it is more communicable in children or that it has any greater effects in children or adults.”
“With that said, we believe it is safe to open elementary and special schools.”