Schools ‘50% full’ in lockdown despite only being open to key workers’ kids

Key workers are being asked to reconsider sending their children to school amid reports some classrooms are at over 50 percent capacity despite the current lockdown.

Classrooms were closed last week for all except the children of key workers after spiralling Covid cases, hospitalisations and deaths provoked another lockdown.

Schools are expected to remain shut until at least mid-February, but some classrooms are still over half full despite a nationwide ban on sending kids to school – except for the children of key workers.

The Department of Education has now issued a plea for key workers to “consider the spirit of lockdown when making the decision” to send their kids to school.

The Sun reports memos and blog posts from the government body updated guidance to clarify that “children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school or college if required”.

While the update adds that these “parents and carers should keep their children at home if they can”.

Meanwhile, other experts have also expressed concern over busier than expected classrooms.

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Speaking to the Daily Mail, general secretary of the Association of School & College Leaders, Geoff Barton, said: “We are hearing reports that attendance in some primary schools is in excess of 50 per cent because of demand from critical workers and families with children classed as vulnerable under criteria which has been significantly widened.

“We are urgently seeking clarification about the maximum number who should be in school.

“Half of all pupils at Willerby Carr Lane Primary School in the East Riding of Yorkshire are still attending lessons.

“Some 187 children turned up for class on Wednesday in ‘super-size’ bubbles ranging in size from 25 to 32 pupils.

“Invicta Primary School in Deptford, south-east London, has five times as many pupils still attending compared to the last lockdown.”

Rules currently state if a child has one parent who is a key worker, they can attend schools in person.

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While other rules dictate that children can still go to class if they do not have access to relevant technology to be able to learn from home.

Health experts have insisted that schools should be closed to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus – with cases rising whenever school gates have been reopened.

While schools remained open to key worker’s children during the first lockdown last year, the scope of who qualifies as a “key worker” has since been expanded, potentially explaining the increase in children still attending schools.

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