Primary schools in Covid-19 hotspots across England are to remain closed temporarily to help regain control of coronavirus, affecting hundreds of thousands of children across south London.
It was announced yesterday that secondary schools across most of England are to remain closed for an extra two weeks for most pupils, but primary schools in south London boroughs where Covid-19 rates are surging will also close.
The government is implementing a “contingency framework” in areas with very high rates of incidence or transmission of the virus – in many London boroughs and across Essex, East Sussex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Kent.
The list of affected areas includes Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Merton, Wandsworth, Sutton and Richmond upon Thames.
The list also includes Dartford and Southwark, but Greenwich and Lewisham have been left of the list despite surging virus cases, causing outrage at the former’s council.
The closure of primary schools will be reviewed after 13 January and by 18 January, Boris Johnson has said.
Children of key workers will still be able to attend, and early years provision will continue, but the framework says where primary schools need to, they should use remote education and online learning.
According to Sky News analysis, the affected London schools alone have more than half a million pupils. The schools in Essex, Kent, and the other counties may have as many as 300,000 more.
The full list of affected areas is as follows:
Barking and Dagenham
Hammersmith and Fulham
Kensington and Chelsea
Southend on Sea
Tonbridge and Malling