A decision on whether schools and nurseries can take in more children is due on Monday (8 June).Advertisement
Lancashire County Council have given an update on when they are next advising schools.
During May the county council had said it was up to headteachers and nursery managers on whether they would reopen to early-years, reception, year one and year six pupils as requested by the government in England from Monday 1 June.
But last week the county council’s director of public health said he believed the risk of an increase in infections and a lack of PPE meant primary schools and nurseries in Preston and Lancashire should not re-open.
The county council says Dr Sakthi Karunaithi, the director of public health, will review his advice during Monday 8 June.
Read more: County council issue further statement about the decision not to reopen schools
If he decides the county council can meet the five tests for schools taking in more pupils then it will encourage schools to reopen on Monday 15 June. However, if Dr Karunaithi says schools should not reopen they will continue to review the advice each Monday.
The decision on whether to reopen is taken by each headteacher or nursery operator.
Many schools and nurseries have remained open throughout the coronavirus lockdown to ensure children of key workers remained looked after and also vulnerable children too.
He said: “I appreciate this advice has caused concern to some people. We all want to see children back in school as quickly as possible, but we must make sure we safeguard the health and wellbeing of children, families and staff.
“Having reviewed the statistics which showed there had been an increase in confirmed positive cases of coronavirus at a time when the NHS Track and Trace system had launched, but was not fully operational, my professional opinion was that it was not yet safe for schools to open to more children
“As we work across Lancashire and with our partners in the NHS and Public Health England to build a responsive and effective track and trace system, I will be reviewing this advice and updating guidance to schools and parents as appropriate.”
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Cabinet member for children, young people and schools, county councillor Phillipa Williamson, said: “Our schools have been doing a magnificent job throughout this crisis to remain open to the children of key workers and vulnerable children. They have also been in regular contact with parents and pupils to ensure that during this extraordinary time they do all they can to ensure that no child is left behind.
“We all want to see children back in school as soon as possible, but that must be done in a safe way and by following the advice we have been given. By regularly reviewing this advice, and giving parents and schools the time to plan their lives as schools return, we can be confident that we are all doing the best for Lancashire’s children.”
The Labour opposition group, trade unions, and the leaders of Labour-led borough and district councils across Lancashire, including Preston City Council, had signed a letter calling for the county council to ignore the government’s urging to reopen schools and instead to delay the reopening.
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What do you think of the approach the county council is taking? Let us know your views in the comments below