Some Burnley primary schools closed due to Covid concerns but most reopen
A number of Burnley schools have not reopened this week while others have welcomed pupils back after the Christmas break.
Official Lancashire County Council and Government guidance is for schools to reopen as normal, depsite rising coronavirus case numbers across the county and nationally.
A number of teaching unions including the UK’s largest teaching union, the NEU, advised teachers on Saturday not to return to their classrooms on Monday over safety fears.
The NEU informed its members that it is not safe for them to return to school until mid-January at the earliest.
Across Burnley, most schools will reopen either today or tomorrow.
Heasandford Primary School has said it will be closed until further notice, apart from the children of key workers.
St Mary's RC Primary School said on its Facebook page that "after much consideration and discussions with staff, governors and union representatives, we have made the decision to keep school closed for all children (except those of key workers and vulnerable who came in previously) until Monday 18th January. Online learning will be available from Tuesday."
Reedley Primary School is closed today due to snow and ice, but is holding a governors meeting at 4pm today to discuss whether it is safe to reopen regarding the current levels of Covid.
Coun. Phillippa Williamson, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said that the county council was not advocating a blanket closure of primary schools.
Coun. Williamson said: "Since the pandemic began, schools and early years settings across Lancashire have done a remarkable job, continuing to teach young people either remotely or in person in safe, Covid-secure environments.
"Throughout they ensured that the children's needs come first, with special attention being given to those from the most vulnerable families and from families of key workers.
"Clearly the best place for children is in school, not just for their education but for their social, mental and physical wellbeing. Having looked at the infection rates in Lancashire and following advice from our public health experts, we are not advocating a blanket closure of primary schools across Lancashire at this time.
"The ultimate decision on whether to open remains with each individual school. Each of those schools knows their own circumstances best, and we will support them to help make the right decision for their pupils and staff."
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health and Wellbeing, added: "Although infection rates are on the rise in Lancashire, we are not in the same situation as London and the South East of England where the new variant has really taken hold.
"That means that we can and should encourage schools to stay open where they can. Clearly this is a fast-moving situation and must be kept under constant review, both locally and by government."