DISTANCE learning could be back on the agenda for schools amid growing concerns over the ‘new wave’ of Covid transmission rates in the next quarter, education officials have suggested.
Schools in Cumbria have experienced high Covid rates, low attendance due to positive tests and school leaders are facing ‘unbearable pressure’.
Speaking on measures to protect staff and students in the event of a new wave of Covid, Sue Sanderson, a member of the county council’s cabinet for schools and learning, said: “Distance learning is the only alternative.
“If you don’t have a staff, you can’t teach.
“Ventilation has been discussed as a problem by principals, but we don’t have the specific money for it. ”
Cllr Sanderson has said education council funds can only be used in certain areas and assures the public that they are working hard to deliver the best they can during the pandemic – something they are fighting over many fronts.
Questions have been raised around ventilation and possible measures to prevent rapid transmission of the Omicron variant of Covid, but Cllr Sanderson believes distance learning may be the only viable solution in the next term.
“We have weekly meetings with chiefs and directors from across the county,” said Cllr Sanderson.
EDUCATION: Sue Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning for Cumbria County Council
“Recently we have had schools whose staff are on leave with Covid.
“Staff are the main problem and it’s not just the fact that you can’t stock up on supplies now.
“If you have a DT teacher on leave, for example, it’s difficult to recruit someone with the same skills to come and teach for the program. ”
Along with that, the school also needs to handle vaccinations, distance learning, and deliver a program that students need to pass exams, Cllr Sanderson explained.
The problems schools are currently facing could eventually worsen, according to the National Union of Education secretary for the county.
Chris Brooksbank, Cumbria secretary for the NEU, said: “We already have schools coming back fully online, and bubbles and classes working from home.
“The government appears to be spending most of its energy threatening schools facing impossible situations when they simply cannot safely staff themselves. ”
NUMBER: Chris Brooksbank from NEU