Concerned parent criticises decision to keep Dacorum primary schools open

The county council will offer advice and guidance on a case-by-case basis as it accepts that more schools may remain closed as cases continue to rise in Hertfordshire

By Holly Patel
Monday, 4th January 2021, 3:37 pm
Updated Monday, 4th January 2021, 3:50 pm

A concerned parent has criticised the decision to keep primary schools in Dacorum open as cases continues to rise in the borough.

Over the weekend Dacorum recorded 267 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, but many children will return to the classrooms this week as primary schools in Dacorum were given the go-ahead to open by the Government despite the borough falling under Tier four.

Primary schools in Broxbourne, Hertsmere, Three Rivers and Watford will remain shut to most pupils but they will be open for children of key workers and vulnerable pupils.

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School stock photo

According to Public Health England, in the seven days ending December 30:

- Dacorum recorded 945 cases, the incidence rate is 610.6 per 100,000 population

- Broxbourne recorded 1,249 cases, the incidence rate is 1,283.9 per 100,000 population

- Hertsmetre recorded 1,040 cases, the incidence rate is 991.2 per 100,000 population

- Three Rivers recorded 872 cases, the incidence rate is 934.4 per 100,000 population

- Watford recorded 899 cases, the incidence rate is 930.9 per 100,000 population.

A concerned parent said: "I am hoping you can help me make some sense of the decision made to keep Dacorum primary schools open, our numbers are rising as fast as Watfords, in fact if you consider the size of Dacorum compared to Watford our rate is probably higher at present.

"Why are our smaller children, who let's face it don't apply the hands face and space at school (4 - 11 year old) safer than teenagers who should know better than to forget themselves in excitement of seeing their friends again after Christmas

"The schools are trying their best but they're small children, who play through touch, the smallest children (nursery and reception) all share and mix in facilities that's a bubble of 60 children plus six adults, how is that safe when we are not allowed to be inside with anyone?"

Hertfordshire County Council will offer advice and guidance on a case-by-case basis as it accepts that more schools may remain closed as cases continue to rise in the county.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council, said: “Hertfordshire County Council recognises that, where schools are not confident that they will be able to open and operate safely and effectively due to insufficient teaching staff on Monday 4th January, we will offer advice and guidance on a case-by-case basis and accept that for operational reasons the school may need to remain closed.

"We expect that children of critical workers will continue to attend school, and also vulnerable children.

“Hertfordshire County Council notes the firm expectation of the Prime Minister and the Department of Education that schools will remain open wherever possible and is not advising schools to close on Monday as a matter of policy or infection control, unless located in an area identified by the Government's Contingency Framework.

“We will expect schools to assess their positions on Monday in relation to staffing levels and then plan ahead for the rest of the week. We would anticipate that schools will use their normal communications to advise parents of the arrangements for their individual schools.

“We fully appreciate that these are difficult and concerning times for people, however, we do need to consider the importance of education for children of all ages and the mental, behavioural and social benefits that come from being in a school environment.

"Our continued thanks to our school Heads and all the school staff for their constant and incredible work in providing education for all our young people.”