In the light of the recent announcement that the R number in the North West had risen above 1, Sefton Council is recommending that schools delay wider opening for Nursery, Reception and Years 1, 6, 10 and 12 until Monday 22nd June.
The significant publicity about the R number over the weekend has created considerable uncertainty among parents, pupils and staff about the safety of any opening of schools beyond the current arrangements.
Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council said: “Sefton Council’s approach has been to work with headteachers and staff focusing on making safe and sensible decisions and maintaining, wherever possible a collective approach to the re-opening of our schools. This has resulted in excellent preparatory work undertaking and completing risk assessments and we were intending to open all our schools from Monday 15th June to Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils in line with government guidance.
“However, the news about the R number in our region means we are undertaking more work on this locally and has led us to review our local position.
“We appreciate all the work that has been undertaken aimed at achieving a Monday 15th June opening date but feel sure everyone involved will understand that with safety remaining paramount, we have to respond to new information as it becomes available.”
Cllr Maher went on to thank headteachers, staff, school governors and childcare providers for their fantastic work in supporting children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cllr Maher added: “All settings will continue to remain open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers as they have been since the start of the national lockdown.
“We will review the public health information we receive and will communicate our updated position next week.”
This was to allow for time for appropriate risk assessment, including staff availability and to ensure tests set out by the Government and Trade Unions were met.
Since 23rd March many schools in Sefton have remained open to children of key workers and vulnerable children. Teachers and support staff have ensured children have been supported during this challenging period.