The head teacher of St George’s school in Broadstairs says covid has resulted in staffing levels reaching ‘tipping point.’#
Adam Mirams has written an end of term letter to parents and expressed concerns at more disruption with work from home advice being implemented from Monday due to a rise in Omicron variant cases across the country.
He says staffing shortages have been an issue for more than a month with the last couple of days being particularly difficult at the primary school site.
He has alerted parents to the possibility of class or year groups being closed and reverting to home learning if the situation worsens before the end of term.
‘Significant staffing issues’
He said: “Unfortunately we are continuing to see significant staffing issues across the school on a daily basis and like many other institutions across the county these are related to Covid, other seasonal illnesses and the impact of childcare issues given the rising number of Covid cases.
“New guidance with the Omicron variant, positive Covid tests, normal winter illnesses and childcare issues do mean that there will be further disruption from Monday. This is impacting on most year groups and it has become critical in Year 2 where a member of staff has tested positive and due to new regulations will no longer be teaching from Monday.
“I am therefore alerting parents at both schools that I have been in discussions with the Local Authority over the last two days and if there is a further issue with staffing I may have to take the decision to shut some classes or year groups and move to remote learning prior to the end of term. “We find ourselves in a most unenviable position once again and daily we are making decisions in school from very early in the morning to ensure that we can meet all Health and Safety requirements. Please be aware that such decisions are not taken lightly and that you will be informed as early as possible if this is the case.”
In the letter Mr Mirams says over the last couple of days there has been an increasing number of pupils and staff going for PCR tests either due to symptoms or as directed by NHS Track and Trace.
However, efforts are being made to keep up the Christmas spirit with the schools naughty elves being spotted around the building and all five nativities being performed Primary parents.
Mr Mirams added: “We are working towards Celebration Worships across both schools on the last day but there will be no Whole School Celebration at Secondary for obvious reasons (Extremely disappointed once again).”
On returning to school in January, secondary pupils will need to attend for a covid test before coming back for classes, although Mr Mirams said: “It is almost impossible to predict where we will be in January at this point and I believe anything is possible with very short notice on guidance.”
He added: “The aim across both schools is to get to the end of term in the best way we can and to enjoy the build up to Christmas. I hope and pray that all in our community get an opportunity to get together with family and enjoy the festive break despite the uncertainties currently.”
The issues are not isolated to St George’s with other primary and secondary schools, including Sandwich Tech and Drapers Mills, also working through shortages.
Kent County Council has also scaled back its full council meeting and postponed its Invicta Award and Honorary Alderman awards until the New Year.
Interim Director of Public Health for Kent Dr Allison Duggal said: “We continue to keep a careful eye on the implications of COVID-19 and the new omicron variant for the county and have seen a rapid rise in cases in recent weeks.
“Given it is not possible to socially distance adequately at larger council meetings, and it is impractical to ventilate buildings to the required degree, I have advised we need to revert to alternative ways of holding these meetings at least until we see infection rates fall and we have better understanding of omicron.”