Coronavirus takes toll on Garstang Academy staff forcing it to shut

Untenable staffing levels caused by coronavirus have forced another school to close its doors to all but a smattering of pupils.

By Sonja Astbury
Tuesday, 17th March 2020, 2:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th March 2020, 2:41 pm
Garstang Academy is to shut due to coronavirus
Garstang Academy is to shut due to coronavirus

Garstang Academy is so short of staff that headteacher Alasdair Ashcroft says it is unsafe to remain open a day longer.

In a moving letter to parents he says: " Due to coronavirus our staff absence has reached an untenable level, and from tomorrow (18/3/20) school will only be open for year seven and year 11.

"This decision has not been arrived at easily, but we are no longer able to provide a safe educational environment for all students and I feel that year seven are potentially our most socially vulnerable children, and year 11 have the most pressing need for formal education for as long as we are able to provide it."

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He says the Bowgreave school will continue, for as long as it can, to provide a supervised learning area, and food, for students on Free School Meals as well as children whose parents/carers work for the NHS.

Work for students not in school, or attending the supervised provision, will be set online.

Mr Ashcroft adds that staff will do their best to set suitable work but said the onus is onus is on parents " to monitor Show My Homework, and the completion of work".

He says: "I am directing staff to avoid personal 1:1 communication with students in almost all cases." and adds: "If children have an urgent safeguarding or child protection problem, they should, as always, follow the ‘Keep Me Safe’ link on the school website or contact appropriate authorities."