Last day at school for most, as coronavirus cases rise in Dorset Council area

Schools across Swanage, along with the rest of the UK, are closing their buildings for all but the most vulnerable children and those of key workers. From Friday 20th March 2020, children will continue their education from home, using online resources provided by their schools, to limit the chance of coronavirus spreading.

This comes as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Dorset Council area, which includes Swanage, rises from two to seven. This brings the total across Dorset to 16, when including the nine cases in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council area.

Number infected is much higher

This is the number of confirmed cases, where testing has taken place. It’s widely agreed that the number of people in Dorset who have been infected is much higher, it’s just that they haven’t been tested. Recent UK Government guidance has meant that most people with mild symptoms have been asked to self-isolate and not been offered a test.

Explaining its decision to close schools and other educational settings to most children, the government says:

“The fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.”

Dorset Council has pledged to support schools as best it can. It said:

“On Monday, we’ll see how many children we have in school and what their needs are. From there, we will look at how we can best arrange schools and transport, where necessary, for all the children who are in each area.

“We intend to support teachers to keep schools open. We are increasing the number of staff supporting schools. This includes council employees who may be able to stand down from existing roles to provide community coordination and support to schools.” 

All exams in England in May and June have been cancelled and pupils will be given grades estimated by their teachers. It’s not known when the schools are expected to reopen to all children.

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