Schools in Sheffield cancel assemblies to curb coronavirus spread, as they prepare for possibility of closure

Schools in Sheffield are cancelling assemblies due to coronavirus and preparing activity packs for pupils to take home in the case of a national closure.

Monday, 16th March 2020, 7:43 am
Updated Monday, 16th March 2020, 7:48 am

Primary schools in Burngreave and Waterthorpe are among those to have taken the precautionary measure, as speculation grows that the UK government will order all schools to close to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Letters written to Church of England schools in the Diocese of Sheffield Academies Trust (DSAT) advise parents of the steps being taken, which also include suspending large events like sports festivals.

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Pye Bank CE Primary School in Sheffield has written to parents advising them of the precautionary measures being taken due to coronavirus (pic: Google)

A letter from Emmanuel Junior Academy in Waterthorpe has been shared online, while Pye Bank CE Primary School in Burngreave published a letter on its website on Friday, March 13.

Both are members of the DSAT – which is responsible for 15 schools across the diocese, covering South Yorkshire and the southern parts of the East Riding of Yorkshire – and while the letters are not identical, the measures being introduced are very similar.

The letter from Pye Bank’s headteacher Maureen Andrews is headed ‘coronavirus – emergency planning’ and begins by thanking parents for continuing to bring their children to school ‘at this uncertain time’

As well as continuing to ensure children wash their hands regularly, it states that from Monday, March 16 assemblies and large group gatherings will be cancelled ‘until further notice’.

“We will be holding class assemblies instead of whole school assemblies,” it continues.

It adds: “Large events such as parent meetings, sports, discos and fayres will be cancelled until further notice.”

Should there be a government enforced schools closure, it says a test would be sent to parents ‘at the earliest opportunity’.

“We are preparing a pack of activities for children to take home with them. We will also be posting on our website activities regularly for children to access should we have to close,” it states.

The letter adds that the school is looking at arrangements for children entitle to Free School Meals, ‘based on government and council guidance’.