A primary school in Southway has announced to parents and carers in a last-minute email this evening that it will be remaining shut to all pupils on Monday.
In an email, seen by PlymouthLive, the school has announced it will be delaying its reopening after the Christmas break after mounting pressure from leading teaching Unions for teachers to stay at home and provide remote learning for students.
Schools were due to reopen as normal on Monday, January 4, but more and more are considering opening later as teaching unions urge schools to close for the next two weeks.
The email sent out this evening by Oakwood Primary Academy in Pendeen Crescent says: “Please accept my sincere apologies for the lateness of this email but following a communication from staff late this afternoon a significant number of staff have followed union advice and are not attending work to support full classes at Oakwood.
“The trustees have taken the difficult decision to close the school to all pupils on Monday, January 4 but aim to re-open on Tuesday, January 5 to children of key workers and vulnerable children.
“Once again sincere apologies for the short notice and we hope that we are able to review this situation at the earliest opportunity.”
The school is the first of many across the UK and Devon and Cornwall to announce its temporary closure and move to online learning. See our full list of school’s reopening and schools staying closed in Plymouth here.
A parent at Oakwood, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “Every school is different at the moment and it’s so difficult for parents, isn’t it?
“I feel bad for those who are working or those whose children need extra support and have been told they’re going back tomorrow, just to be confused when they say, ‘Sorry, we don’t know when you’re going back’.
“We don’t have any information about online learning. Nothing to help support the parents. Just ‘Sorry, school is closed until we decide when’.
“There have been no cases at Oakwood and now this.”
The parent added: “I understand the dangers of Covid-19 and people’s fears. However, kids need a life, they need to learn and be around their peers. But schools have been open months. Why now? Why the lack of communication?”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this morning that parents should send primary-age children back to schools that are open this week. Mr Johnson added that he has “no doubt” that classrooms are safe and that the risk to young people was “very, very small”.
Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning, the Prime Minister said: “Schools are safe. It is very, very important to stress that.
“I would advise all parents thinking about want to do, look at where your area is, overwhelmingly you’ll be in a part of the country where primary schools tomorrow will be open.”