Primary school closures in Royston and South Cambs villages

Primary school

Some primary schools may be unable to open as planned this week due to COVID-19. - Credit: Archant

Bassingbourn Primary School has said they are unable to reopen safely to pupils as planned tomorrow.

The school in Brook Road tweeted yesterday evening that they had made the decision based on the high infection rate in the area.

The tweet read: "The difficult decision has been taken, with support from governors, that we are not able to reopen safely to all pupils on Tuesday.

"The local infection rate is very high."

Cambridgeshire County Council issued the following statement: "The county council believes that a blanket closure of schools is not the correct response when taking account of the overall national position and guidance and what is best for pupils. 

"As a result, it has taken the following stance:

"Where schools are unable to operate safely due to a lack of staff, all maintained schools will be fully supported to make decisions over either partial closure or full closure of the school.

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"Remote learning will be offered to any pupil whose bubble or school is closed.  This will be reviewed on a daily basis in line with the school’s individual risk assessment.

"The current COVID-19 situation will be monitored on a bi-weekly basis, at ward and school catchment area.  If we determine that there is a high and increasing trend in infection levels equivalent to that in other areas where there has been national direction to close schools, we will seek support from the Department for Education to close the school to all but vulnerable and key worker children. 

"This information will be shared with schools to inform their risk assessments."

Meanwhile a statement from Hertfordshire County Council said: "[The council] recognises that, where schools are not confident that they will be able to open and operate safely and effectively due to insufficient teaching staff on Monday, January 4, we will offer advice and guidance on a case-by-case basis and accept that for operational reasons the school may need to remain closed.

"We expect that children of critical workers will continue to attend school, and also vulnerable children.

 “Hertfordshire County Council notes the firm expectation of the Prime Minister and the Department of Education that schools will remain open wherever possible and is not advising schools to close on Monday as a matter of policy or infection control, unless located in an area identified by the Government's Contingency Framework.

 “We will expect schools to assess their positions on Monday in relation to staffing levels and then plan ahead for the rest of the week. We would anticipate that schools will use their normal communications to advise parents of the arrangements for their individual schools.

 “We fully appreciate that these are difficult and concerning times for people, however, we do need to consider the importance of education for children of all ages and the mental, behavioural and social benefits that come from being in a school environment.

"Our continued thanks to our school heads and all the school staff for their constant and incredible work in providing education for all our young people.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged parents to send their children to school, while the Department of Education has said that school closures should only be a "last resort".