SERIOUS consideration should be given to delaying the return of secondary schools in the new year.
That’s the view of the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr Clive Jones, following the announcement that Berkshire is to move into Tier 4 from Sunday, December 20.
As schools closed for the Christmas holidays, it was announced that only students in years sitting exams would return on January 4 as planned, with other secondary pupils home learning for a week.
This is to allow schools to launch lateral testing of pupils and staff in a bid to cut transmission of the coronavirus.
It is not currently clear who would be responsible for administering the tests.
However, Cllr Jones feels that a different approach is needed.
“Consideration now has to be given to delaying the opening of secondary schools in January – something I suggested the Wokingham Borough Council looked at last week when its leadership briefed the opposition about us moving from tier 2 to tier 3,” he said.
And Cllr Jones was scornful of the late announcement of the new Tier 4 restrictions.
“What an absolute shambles,” he said. “I heard Boris Johnson say they were aware of changes to the virus in early November. Today is Saturday, December 19.
“Why has it taken so long to do something?
“Only last week the Prime Minister was saying it’s too late to change the Christmas rules, yet he was aware of these latest changes to the virus when he and ministers made this decision.
“Many families will be very upset by these developments and I’m sure that many tears are being shed in the areas that have been put into Tier 4.”
He continued: “We have to do as the scientists say and not meet with other households in our homes. Our normal family Christmases in Wokingham have just been cancelled for many people in Wokingham.
“If we follow the advice of the scientists – and it’s a real shame that the government have been so slow to do this throughout the whole Covid-19 crisis – then we have a chance of a more normal Christmas next year.”