Alan Brookes, Kent Association of Headteachers
Of the 685 schools in Kent and Medway, 157 reported cases to local authorities. School leaders are not required to report cases, so the number, which includes academies, SENs and student guidance units, could be much higher.
In Medway, 33 of the cities’ 101 schools reported cases until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 11. It is 33.2%. As of 1 p.m. Friday, November 6, 124 of 584 establishments in the rest of Kent had informed Kent County Council of positive cases, but a dozen more were reported on KentOnline last week.
When a case is reported, the students in this bubble must isolate themselves. But five schools have now decided to close all students for two weeks.
This includes schools in Sittingbourne, Fulston Manor, which has reported 22 cases, and Oaks Infant School, both of which announced closures yesterday.
Leaders of Thistle Hill Academy on the Isle of Sheppey, Orchard School in Canterbury and Dartford Science and Technology College have already announced closures for two weeks and on Friday parents of primary school children in Sholden received a text to pick up the children as soon as possible for health reasons. and security.
Alan Brookes, executive director of Fulston Manor School, who is also president of the Kent Association for Headteachers, had previously called for more support for schools before the decision to close.
He said: “The government says schools are a top priority, but it doesn’t seem to demonstrate it with attention to detail or with the support that we believe is essential if we are to move forward successfully.
It reads: “Returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their well-being. Time spent out of school is detrimental to children’s cognitive and academic development, especially for disadvantaged children.
Westlands school was among the hardest hit with 19 cases last Tuesday.
But principal Simon Cox thinks shutting down schools completely should be an absolute last resort. He said: “There is no doubt that the upsurge in cases in Sittingbourne is reflected in our schools and causing anxiety in our community.
“However, we are still significantly below some other parts of the country, so we need to keep things in perspective and take advice from Public Health England.
“For children, even those with underlying health conditions, Covid rarely poses a significant health threat. Schools provide structure and routine for children which generally benefit their well-being.
“Parents who work to support our key services and our economy need their children in school and for these reasons, along with the more obvious fact that children will miss their learning, I think it is important that schools remain open, although with modifications and protection of the most vulnerable.
“Here at Westlands School, we believe that total school closures should be an absolute last resort.
The need to stay open is echoed by the director of Langton Boys in Canterbury who says you can’t secure a Covid school and it costs thousands of pounds to try.
In an opinion piece for KentOnline, Ken Moffat said: “I am strongly in favor of keeping schools open, but I am very much aware that we have to do things very differently to make it happen safely.
“We estimate the total cost of introducing new measures to keep our community safe, as directed by the government, is around £ 20,000 and the government, at the moment, is not prepared to us repay a penny of this amount.
“Ultimately, the fact that we’ve only had four confirmed cases of Covid in school since the start of the pandemic suggests that what we have put in place is worth it and is as robust as it gets. ”
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