Schools and nurseries in Preston and Lancashire are continuing to be urged to remain closed.Advertisement
Primary schools in England are being urged by the government to reopen for early years, reception, year one and year six pupils.
But Lancashire County Council say their latest review of coronavirus death and infection rates in the county means schools and nurseries should not take in more pupils.
Schools and nurseries have continued operating to provide schooling and care for the children of key workers and also the city and county’s most vulnerable children.
During May the county council had said they ‘would support whatever decision each headteacher made’ but in late May they changed their guidance and urged schools not to reopen on June 1 and to delay reopening.
Director of public health for the county council, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, is reviewing his advice to schools each week.
Read more: R rate in the North West passes one, says new study
His latest review on Monday (8 June) states his advice that schools should delay reopening remains unchanged.
Dr Karunanithi said: “I have carefully considered all of the information and data and, for now, my advice remains unchanged. Although there are significantly fewer numbers of cases currently, I am concerned about the high level of infections in the county when compared with others parts of England. The death rates are not sustainably decreasing in the county, and reports that the R value is above 1 in the North West should be an early warning sign. It is important to stress that the R value is only one part of the overall picture, it appears to be rising in most parts of Lancashire.
“We still need better information sharing from national colleagues to help us unlock a successful test and track programme, although agencies are working well locally.
“Ultimately we all have a role to play in this – we must follow social distancing rules, practise good hand hygiene, and stay at home if we have a cough, fever, loss of smell or taste or when asked to do so by the contact tracing programme. If we all play our part – national government, local partners and the public – we can contain this virus.”
The director of public health will next review the guidance on Monday 15 June and issue his next update to headteachers and nursery managers.
Cabinet member for children, young people and schools, county councillor Phillippa Williamson, said: “Everyone wants to see children back in school as soon as it is safe for this to happen and, although we are seeing some progress, we must support the professional judgement of our public health experts.
“Throughout this crisis our schools have been open to the children of key workers and vulnerable children and have also done a fantastic job in keeping in contact with parents and pupils and providing high quality online learning tools.”
Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines
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