Schools impose their own ‘circuit breakers’ as parents fear return to online learning

Parents fear the return of distance education as the Christmas holidays approach as schools begin to impose their own “circuit breakers.”

Official guidelines from the Department of Education (DfE) state that schools should send large groups of children home only in “extreme cases” and as a “last resort”.

The Telegraph has learned that some schools have already started to close, citing an increase in cases. St Mary’s Church of England Primary School in Credenhill, Hereford, has announced to parents that there will be a “full breaker shutdown” of the school for seven days, which began on Tuesday and will end on November 29.

Bernadette Davies, the school’s executive director, wrote to the families explaining that the decision was made “in collaboration with our local authority” and follows a “significant increase” in Covid cases at the school.

She explained that the school has “worked tirelessly” to keep children safe during the pandemic, but added that “despite our best efforts to reduce the risk of transmission at school,” the one-week closure is the “next course of action”.

Ms Davies said the school has already implemented a deep cleansing regimen, increased hand washing and sanitizing, introduced the use of PPE, separate age groups and staggered recess and lunch .

“The purpose of this break is to act as a ‘kill switch’ and stop the transmission of COVID-19 throughout the school,” she said.

The school will be closed to all students – including the most vulnerable and the children of key workers – and they will instead be taught at a distance. In previous national closures, these groups of children have been allowed to continue going to school.

Arabella Skinner of the parent campaign group UsForThem, said distance learning was a “failed experiment” and “not an experiment we should repeat in the context of a nearly fully vaccinated adult population.”

She added: “As the experience of last year shows, these isolated cases of school closures do not remain isolated for long. The concern is that as Christmas approaches we will see more examples of this. How long are we going to ask our children to remain second-class citizens? “


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