Dear Parent / Carer,
I am writing to you to confirm and clarify the school’s position regarding a wider re-opening. The position is the same as announced to parents on Friday 22nd May. There are NO changes to our plan, despite the prime minister’s broadcast yesterday.
Children in school prior to the half term break, will continue to access this service, when the school re-opens, on Thursday 4th June.
A wider range of children from vulnerable families will begin accessing provision in school from Monday 8th June, by invitation, but on a rota basis, two days per week.
The return of the Year 6 cohort will take place no earlier than Monday 15th June.
The return of the Year1/Reception cohorts will take place no earlier than Monday 22nd June.
We have heard repeated announcements from the government, over the last couple of months, that decisions will be “guided by the science”. There has been much discussion over this.
I offer the following with regard to this issue:
- The Director of Public Health for Lancashire County Council, Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, announced on Wednesday 27th May that schools should not open more widely. The statement reads, ”The safety and wellbeing of Lancashire’s children, families and school staff are of paramount importance to us. We have carefully assessed the five tests the government has set for the easing of the lockdown measures and, at this stage, we cannot say with confidence that all of them are being met in Lancashire. Therefore, we are advising schools that they should NOT reopen to more pupils from 1st June.”
- Within Lancashire, Chorley, South Ribble and West Lancashire are among the areas with the highest number of Covid-19 infections in the north west.
- In the Education Select Committee meeting on Wednesday 27th May, schools minister, Nick Gibb, conceded that, “another important factor in schools reopening, was whether their parents can return to work.” It appears this is outweighing the scientific argument.
- The Independent Sage findings, published yesterday, Thursday 28th May, states that the most recent estimates for the UK are that the R value (rate of transmissions) is between 0.7 and 1.0. They go on to state that the reopening of primary schools could increase the spread of the virus by up to 0.3 on the R value. That would produce an increase in the number of infections.
- Modelling by Independent Sage group, based on the most recent national- level data, shows delaying school reopening by 2 weeks, approximately halves the risk that a child will be infected.
I hope this clarifies our situation. Obviously, we are keeping the situation under review and we will inform you if our published plan is to be changed.
Duke Street Primary School