I am writing to you to ensure that you know Jarrow Cross’ position on school closures.
The Government now instructs that the child care that schools provide from Monday should be a last resort as children are safer to remain at home.
The guidance the Government released yesterday contains the following expectations:
“The most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they SHOULD, to limit the chance of the virus spreading."
That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.
The fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.
Schools, and all childcare providers, are therefore being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.
Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. And every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.
If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
● Schools are not providing education, they are providing child care
● Children should only come into school if parents have absolutely no other option
● Children should not come in because they or parents would prefer it to staying at home
● Children should not come in because they want to be with their friends
● Children should not come in because they will get bored at home
● Children will not be taught when they are in.
I want to ensure that we are able to provide a safe environment for the children of Key Workers who have no other option but to rely on the school provision. Please note there is no requirement for these children to attend school each day. Their attendance can be worked around parents shift patterns rotas etc.
As well as this, I must ensure I fulfil my duty of care to the available staff.
I am concerned that, due to misleading information in the media, more children than absolutely necessary will be in schools, putting the health of other children and school staff at unnecessary risk.
In a nutshell, we should not have any child in school unless absolutely necessary.
The government slogan is
Stay at home
Protect the NHS
As Boris Johnson said on Saturday,
“The numbers of deaths are stark, and accelerating. As a country we are dealing with unprecedented challenges for the NHS”
Today, he said.
‘‘The time has come to shield the vulnerable. We must all make sacrifices’’
"The reason we are taking these unprecedented steps... is of course that we want to save thousands of lives.’’
At Jarrow Cross we want to protect the NHS and we want to save lives. I am pleading with you, if you can, please stay at home.
This unprecedented situation will pass; we can do something now to reduce suffering in our school, our families and our wider community.
I have no doubt that as a community we will continue to support each other throughout this challenging time.