Coronavirus in Doncaster: What to expect when schools close in battle against Covid-19

Schools are preparing to close tomorrow in the fight against coronavirus, which has claimed over 100 lives in the UK so far.

Thursday, 19th March 2020, 12:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th March 2020, 12:55 pm
Ridgewood School in Doncaster partially closed earlier this week due to coronavirus

Some schools will only remain open for the parents of ‘key workers,’ which includes those in the NHS, emergency services, delivery drivers and social care sector, who are needed as part of the national response to Covid-19.

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Vulnerable children, including those who have a social worker and those with Education, Health and Care Plans, can also still attend school.

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Where schools are unable to look after these children, local authorities will work with the Department for Education’s regional teams to find an alternative option is available in the same area.

Ofsted is to cease all inspections of schools and colleges with immediate effect and GCSE and A-level exams this summer are cancelled.

It has not yet been announced how students will be graded but performance tables will also not be published for this academic year.

To support children eligible for free school meals, schools will be able to purchase meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops.

The government has also confirmed that the total value of vouchers offered to each eligible child per week will exceed the rate it pays to schools for free school meals, recognising that families will not be buying food in bulk and may therefore incur higher costs.

Effective immediately, schools will be able to order vouchers directly from supermarkets or shops in their communities to be emailed or printed and posted to families, and they will have their costs covered by the Department for Education.

The government is urging parents not to ask grandparents or other elderly residents to care for their children while they are off school, reminding families that the elderly are in a high risk group for contracting coronavirus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also stressing the importance of social distancing.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Fighting Coronavirus and protecting the vulnerable and our NHS are the Government’s top priorities right now. That’s why we are asking schools, nurseries and colleges to close.

“We are facing increasingly extraordinary circumstances.”