Pupils being sent home with laptops at Christmas in case Omicron closes schools

Kids at two east London primary schools are being sent home with laptops for the Christmas break in case they’re not able to return next term due to Covid measures

Schoolchildren at two east London primary schools are being sent home for Christmas with their laptops in case they can't return in the new year
Schoolchildren at two east London primary schools are being sent home for Christmas with their laptops in case they can’t return in the new year

Brit schoolchildren are being sent home with laptops in case they’re not asked to return to in-person lessons after the Christmas break.

Thirty local authorities also announced schools in their regions will be holding classes online, it has been reported.

Despite the government promising to keep schools open in January, educators are already drafting emergency plans should it be unsafe for kids to return in the new year.

Schools have been advised to open next term but to continue following current guidance.

The contingency plans include online learning, teaching in “bubbles”, and staggering start and home time by year.

Currently, it is estimated 235,600 are absent from school due to Covid.

Kids at two Letta Trust-managed primary schools in east London are taking their laptops home for the Christmas break as a precaution in case they can’t come back in 2022.

Thirty local authorities said schools in their region will be holding classes online

Head of the trust, Jo Franklin, told the BBC that they’ve been able to keep all classes open.

But she added they are having to adapt daily amid a surge in staff cases.

She said: “This picture is changing on a daily basis. We’ve had seven new staff cases so far this week.

“Teachers are making sure that everything they plan to teach in the first week of the new term can be taught remotely if it needs to be,” she said.

Other ideas for safe teaching include “bubbles” – where kids stay in the same classroom for every lesson.

Ms Franklin shared her concerns about staff sickness and said the trust might be forced to stop teaching for safety reasons.

Among measures are “bubbles” and staggered start and finish times

She said: “Some people are telling us that they are having problems booking a booster, with no appointments available until mid-January.

“There will come a point when we cannot safely keep classes open.”

In Kingston upon Thames, vulnerable students are also being given laptops before term ends, while in five Welsh regions, schools have already moved to online teaching.

Many local councils said online learning was being implemented due to a lack of supply teachers and staff being sick .

Some schools have recorded 25 per cent staff absence this week, Association of School and College Leaders general secretary Geoff Barton told the BBC.

Some schools have seen 25 per cent staff absence this week

After having to adapt to changing Covid measures over the past two years, many schools are well equipped with contingency plans for next year, local authorities told the broadcaster.

Councils in some areas will meet with head teachers before January to discuss measures.

A spokesperson for Southampton City Council said some educators were delaying return dates by one or two days to “ensure a thorough testing programme is in place to enable them to welcome students back safely”.

She added: “The situation is under constant review, and we are on stand-by to support schools in implementing any new guidance.”

Powys County Council plan to implement “bubbles” with staggered start and finish times if necessary. They added that “blended learning” is their last resort.

Schools in North Lanarkshire have contingency plans prepared and will use online learning if necessary.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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