Councillor Hannah Clare, Chair of the Children, Young People & Skills Committee said:
“As a council, we want all schools to be fully open. However, we need to keep children, school staff and the wider community as safe as possible.
“Therefore, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty as Leader of the Council, has today written to Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education to ask him to include primary schools in Brighton & Hove in the list of schools that have moved to remote learning.
“Because of this belief, we have also written to primary schools in our city to advise them that we believe they should move to remote learning until Monday 18 January.
“Our published data - up to 27 December - shows that the rate the rate in Brighton & Hove has increased by more than 500 per cent since we came out of lock down at the beginning of December. It is currently 388 per 100,000.
“However, the early indications are that this sharp increase is continuing and we will approach rates of approximately 500 per 100,000 in the next few days. This rapid increase is mirrored in the rates in our children and young people. The city’s all ages pattern is similar to that previously seen in urban areas of Kent and East Sussex.
“We therefore must do this to protect our NHS from being overwhelmed and ensure that our city’s children, school staff and the wider community are kept as safe as possible.
“We know that there will be sacrifices that have to be made as a result of this and that many families will now face challenges in finding the right childcare on a short time frame. We are sorry this is the case.
“The government has left us to make this decision that it is not brave enough to face and we hope to see a change of heart from them for primary schools across the south east.
“Until then, we will work with our city’s primary schools to ensure they are supported in providing remote learning, while remaining open to the children of key workers, and vulnerable children.
“In the next two weeks, we will use this time to seek urgent clarity from government on how it will ensure that school staff are vaccinated as a priority.”