Islington primary schools move to online learning next week to help tackle coronavirus

Islington’s primary schools will move to online learning from Monday (4th January) to help tackle surging coronavirus cases in London.

Islington faces a public health emergency because coronavirus is spreading fast through our communities, bringing a serious risk of ill health and death.

To help stop the deadly virus spreading, Islington Council supports a move to online learning for primary schools. Tonight the Government has announced this will happen from Monday, reversing an earlier Government decision that primary schools in Islington would have to open next week.

Islington primary schools will now move to online learning from the week of 4th January until Monday 18th January, when the situation will be reviewed.

Schools will remain open to vulnerable pupils and children of key workers.

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, said: “Coronavirus is spreading fast in Islington and across London, and the more the virus spreads in our communities, the more serious illness and death we will see.

“It’s absolutely right that Islington primary schools will move to online learning from next week, to help tackle the spread of this very dangerous disease.  We will do everything we can to support Islington’s schools, head teachers, teachers, teaching assistants and support staff as they make new arrangements over the weekend.

“However it’s unacceptable that the Government has waited until Friday night on New Year’s Day, with just a weekend before pupils were due to go back, to make a decision that should have been made weeks ago, as the public health situation became clear.

“The Government has taken the right decision only after previously threatening schools with legal action if they did not reopen in January, after Islington and other councils advised last month that this had to be done, following public health advice.  The Government has left schools and parents with very little time to prepare and make arrangements.

“Usually school is absolutely the best place for all pupils to be.  However we are in dangerous times, with a deadly disease surging through our communities. Online learning is the best option for primary schools for now.  It’s vital we all keep doing everything we can to urgently tackle the surging coronavirus cases, to keep everyone in our community safe at this dangerous time.”

The Government had already announced secondary school and college students in exam years will return to school in the week of Monday 11th January, a week later than planned. Secondary school and college students not in exam years will return to school in the week of Monday 18th January, a week later than planned.

Notes to editors

We can all help stop the virus spreading, and protect our loved ones.

We all need to stay at home as much as possible to help stop the virus spreading. Wherever we can, we must avoid crowded places.

We must not meet other people indoors, unless we live with them or they are part of our existing support bubble. 

London is in Tier 4: Stay at Home.  For full guidance see gov.uk

  1. Make space – stay 2 metres apart from people who aren’t in your household or bubble - this helps stop the virus spreading between people
  1. Wash your hands - regularly and for at least 20 seconds, especially when you get home– this washes virus off your hands and helps stop it spreading
  1. Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth to stop the virus spreading - in public places, including in shops or public transport

Know the symptoms of Covid-19 - a high temperature, or a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste and get tested if you have any of the three symptoms

Testing is quick, easy and free – Islington has two testing sites for people with any of the symptoms, which the council made sure were opened to help our residents.  Getting a test is free and simple – nhs,uk/coronavirus or call 119  

We can support you if you have to self-isolate: phone We Are Islington on 020 7527 8222 to find out more – help with emergency food deliveries, shopping, financial support, benefits.

Media contact information

If you are a member of the media and would like more information please contact:

Islington Council media team – media@islington.gov.uk or 020 7527 2307.  Out of hours: 07769 163303

If you are a member of the public with a general question about the council please contact:

Contact Islington – www.islington.gov.uk/contact-us or 020 7527 2000