Coronavirus: Latest list of South Tyneside school closures
School will be out across the UK from Friday in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus – but some have already had to close as staff levels drop.
On Wednesday, March 18 Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that on Friday, March 20 schools across the UK would close to all pupils except those of key workers in a bid to halt the spread of Covid-19.
GCSEs and A-levels in England and Wales will also be cancelled - although there are plans for students to receive the qualifications they need.
There have been no confirmed cases of Covid-19 linked to any school in South Tyneside but a number have already been forced to close as staffing levels drop due to an increase in teachers self-isolating.
On Monday, March 16, Mr Johnson told the public that anyone who is showing symptoms of persistent coughing or a high temperature should self-isolate for 14 days.
On Tuesday, March 17, St St Wilfrids RC College and St Joseph's RC Academy announced they would close and now a number of others are also struggling to put on lessons.
Here is a list of all South Tyneside school closures linked to the coronavirus pandemic (this will be updated whenever details change).
Whitburn Church of England Academy
The school on Rackly Way, Whitburn announced it would close for 14 days on Wednesday, March 18.
In a Facebook post a spokesperson said: “Unfortunately due to the need to ensure the safety of students and staff we have taken the difficult decision to close the school today for a period of 14 days. Further information, including how to students can access work can be found on the Academy website.”
Westoe Crown Primary School
Westoe Crown primary on Sea Winnings Way, South Shields, announced on its website on Wednesday, March 18 that the school would close until further notice. Headteacher Steve Price said: “We are a large school, and social distancing is causing us difficulty at the moment. The number of self-isolation, both staff and children, has increased significantly, since the change in Government advice on Monday and I now deem it is the right time to close the school in line with our business continuity plan.”
The school on Campbell Park Road in Hebburn has confirmed that it will close from the end of the school day on Wednesday, March 18. It is expected to reopen after the Easter break on Monday, April 20.
They commented: “Due to the need to protect your children and the staff in school we will be closing our school today at 3.15. We have tried to limit risk to pupils, staff and other adults for as long as possible. We now have a very high level of pupils and staff absent from school and feel we can no longer keep everyone safe and well.
“We have not taken the decision lightly as we understand families have challenges of their own when children are unable to attend school.”
The nurseries on Clervaux Terrace, Jarrow will be closed from 18.10pm on Wednesday, March 18 until further notice.
A post on the nursery’s Facebook page said: “As of tonight we are closing until further notice, this is not a decision we have made lightly however feel it is necessary for the safety of children, families and staff. We appreciate your support.”
Helen Gibson Nursery
The nursery on North Road, East Boldon is also closed.
Miss Parker wrote on Facebook: “As of tonight we are closing until further notice, this is not a decision we have made lightly however feel it is necessary for the safety of children, families and staff. We appreciate your support.”
it is expected to be closed until Monday, April 20.
Stanhope Primary School Nursery Unit
The nursery only is expected to be closed until at least after the Easter break (Monday, April 20).
A letter to parents said: “We now have no other option but to close the nursery due to staff shortages.
“This does not affect the rest of the school. Reception and Years 1-6 will remain open until we hear otherwise from the government or if further staffing shortages affect our running of the school.”
St Joseph's RC Academy
The school on Mill Lane, Hebburn is currently closed and is expected to re-open on Wednesday, April 1.
The closure was announced in a letter to parents dated March 17.
It said: “School leaders have been analysing current staffing levels as a result of the updated government guidance that anyone with Coronavirus symptoms including their families / housemates should self-isolate for 14 days and that those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) are to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.
“This group includes those who are pregnant, those who have an underlying health condition and those who are over the age of 70. As a result of this, the school has a significantly reduced staffing level and does not have the required number of staff available to teach, support and supervise students safely.
“It has therefore been decided that it is necessary to close St Joseph’s Catholic Academy from a safety perspective for a minimum of 14 days in line with government guidance and Public Health England have been informed.
“We will review this position in a timely manner. The school website, social media and text messaging service will be updated with the latest position.”
St Wilfrid’s RC College
The South Shields school on Temple Park Road announced it was closing for 14 days in a letter to parents dated March 17.
The letter said: “School leaders have been analysing current staffing levels as a result of the updated government guidance that anyone with coronavirus symptoms including their families/housemates should self-isolate for 14 days those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) are to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.
"As a result of the number of staff members who fall into these categories now working from home, the school has a significantly reduced staffing level and does not have the required number of staff available to teach, support and supervise students safely.
“In conjunction with Public Health England it has been decided therefore that it is necessary to close St Wilfrid's RC College school from a safety perspective for a minimum of 14 days in line with government guidance.
“We will review this position in a timely manner.”
Whitburn Church of England Academy - closed for a minimum of 14 days
In a letter to parents, principal John Crowe said: “This is very much unchartered territory for us all and I do not want our students, parents and carers to worry unnecessarily.
“We have ensured that our students will not be disadvantaged and will continue to have access to learning materials and educational resources.
“Students must continue to have good learning routines on the days that they are not at school and complete all of the work set by their teachers.”
Year 11 students studying Geography are due to be issued with their Paper 3 pre-release tomorrow; this will still go ahead. Year 11 Geographers – who will need to sign for their prerelease – should go in school between 12-1pm tomorrow, Thursday, March 19.
Year 13 students ONLY will also be allowed to attend the Sixth Form block at this time (12-1pm) to empty lockers. No other students should be on site at this time.