Schools open during lockdown need extra support

(04 November, 2020)

Comber Grove Primary is one of the school's struggling to help children self-isolating at home if they don't have laptops


In some good news the latest figures indicate that the steep rise in new COVID-19 cases in Southwark is slowing down.

The number of weekly cases has not shown the same sharp trend upwards – previously almost doubling in the first few weeks of October.

It also appears that the R number has dropped once more, hovering above one. Again, if sustained this would level new cases.

Although hospitals in London are currently well placed to respond to the toll of the virus, this will not be the case unless this early progress continues well beyond the next few weeks and we see a much sharper drop in cases. It is also not the case in other regions of the UK, where hospitals are close to being overwhelmed.

The announcement of the second lockdown will, no doubt, have been met with frustration from those in favour and against alike.

Many are united in believing that we collectively missed our chance to get a quick handle on the virus when the government rejected a half-term circuit breaker.

Data shows that schools are one key source of transmission. Keeping schools open, most would agree, is the right thing to do. But it comes with great risk to staff and families; that is as true in Southwark as it is anywhere else.

Figures showing just how prevalent the virus is are very worrying-  especially given the ongoing difficulties presented by learning from home.

Now, in the next lockdown, we are asking even more of our teachers, despite ongoing PPE issues, lack of laptops for home learning, and a lack of clarity around the risks presented and what support is available for staff who are particularly vulnerable.

Following the rules now – and maintaining the first signs of progress – will be even more important to protect all our key workers, including those working in environments where social distancing is just not possible.

Comber Grove primary is one of those still let down by a lack of support for its most disadvantaged pupils. Months after the peak of the pandemic it is still without the resources it needs and is desperately trying to raise enough money to buy laptops for unwell, quarantining or self-isolating pupils. It simply isn’t right that the school has these added financial worries on top of trying to keep everyone safe when most people will be working from home out of harm’s way. Can you help them?


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