In a rapidly developing situation, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, Councillor Suzy Horton released a statement today in addition to the one she had made earlier on social media. This as of 8 pm Sunday, January 3rd 2021.
"As a Tier 4 area, we share the concerns of heads, teachers and parents regarding the government holding their line that all primary schools should re-open to all pupils tomorrow before we have any evidence to show that our infection rates are declining due to the new restrictions. As of today, they are still continuing to rise.
The Government is refusing to discuss this with either the unions or headteachers, many of whom are raising valid concerns about safety and the need to limit the spread of the virus at this critical stage.
Throughout the pandemic, Portsmouth City Council has worked very closely with all local schools and know that they have made huge efforts to ensure that they are as Covid Safe as possible and we will continue to do so. We firmly believe that schools will do what is best for their staff and pupils.
Over the last 24 hours, it has become very clear that a number of local schools will not be re-opening to everyone tomorrow. They will not have sufficient staff to do so safely. Schools will, of course, prioritise on-site provision for vulnerable children and children of key workers, as has been the case since the spring.
Every individual school must make its own decision, as is completely right and proper and we will support them in that decision.
We advise all parents to check their usual channels of communication with their school for up to date messages or their school's website."
Councillor Suzy Horton
Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education