Parents urged to follow government guidance keep their children at home where possible

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We're working with partners across the education sector to enable schools to stay open for vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers.

The government has advised that parents should keep their children at home and schools should remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

Suffolk County Council (SCC) believes that there needs to be a greater clarity of the definition of the term "key workers" and has asked the Department for Education for further information on behalf of school leaders in Suffolk. The current definition of a key worker can be found on GOV.UK.

Even if you are classed as a key worker, if you are in a position to keep your child at home then SCC would ask that you do so. This will enable schools to free up their resources and provides them with the opportunity to focus on the key children who need their help. 

The fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society. Schools that are able to open should continue to follow Public Health England Advice with regards to cleanliness and infection control.

SCC have launched a helpline for parents which will assist them if their usual school is not open or has been unable to make alternate arrangements for pupils. If parents are classed as a key worker or have a child that is classed as vulnerable they are able to call this line and SCC will liaise with schools to find them a place. The helpline number is; 01473 263985

Councillor Mary Evans, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills said;

“I understand that this is a very unsettling time for parents and I would like to thank parents who are undertaking to educate their children from home, this includes a large number of parents who are classed as key workers. I would like to echo the government’s advice and say please only take your children to school if this is absolutely necessary and other childcare arrangements cannot be made, this allows schools to focus their resources on key children and lowers the risk of the virus spreading.

“Most importantly, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to school leaders and staff including early years settings, who are working so hard in these challenging times to enable schools and settings across Suffolk to open their doors today. I would also like to thank partners from across the education sector who are working together to find the best solutions for all pupils, especially the most vulnerable.

“We will continue to provide regular updates, particularly regarding any changes to schooling.”

You can find more information on school closures on suffolk.gov.uk. 

There is also guidance for parents on GOV.UK.