Hounslow Council’s Director of Public Health, Kelly O’Neill
“Around one in thirty people in London are currently infected with COVID-19. In Hounslow, where 49 people died with COVID-19 in December alone, the picture is just as stark and the number of deaths due to the increased numbers of cases of infection and people requiring hospital care will increase in January. This current very high rate of infection in our borough is increasing fast- as the Prime Minister said when announcing their closure - schools can act as vectors for the virus. Right now, we need to keep doing everything we can to stop the virus from spreading. We agree with the Government’s decision to close schools and for schools to only stay open for those pupils who are in the greatest need; this emergency measure will help schools to maintain a safe environment for children and staff.
“As the Government's guidance has made clear, where people can keep their child/children at home for remote learning, they should. The simple truth is that if schools become overused, the lockdown will fail. If schools become overused, the demands on teachers will mean schools cannot operate safely. We are appealing to schools to limit as far as possible the extent to which they offer emergency childcare on site, and to maximise take-up of online learning at home. We appeal too to families to keep their child or children learning at home.
“Without the continued support of everybody, this lockdown will not work. If you need more help, please speak to your school. Thank you.”
For more information, please visit: https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/coronavirus
Councillor Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Youth Services
“As a Cabinet Member, parent and teacher myself, I recognise the enormous pressure parents and schools are under, especially while staff are teaching not just in schools, but also online. The quality of online learning provision is very high, and I am confident that - in exceptionally tough circumstances - our children are getting the best possible home education. I urge parents; keep children at home and learning, rather than in schools' emergency childcare.”
Video Message from Kely O'Neil