Wolverhampton's education chief has paid tribute to everyone working in the city's schools and other settings for their sterling efforts which have enabled children and young people to continue their learning journey during the current Covid-19 lockdown.
They have remained open to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers throughout the last half-term – and provided a comprehensive remote learning offer to the vast majority of students who have not been able to attend school.
That has meant staff preparing and delivering lessons to children face-to-face in school and, online, to those at home. And with rapid testing being rolled out in a number of schools, particularly secondaries, many staff have also been playing a key role in the test and trace process which is helping to prevent the spread of the virus.
Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "Everyone involved in our city's education system has been working incredibly hard throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, but particularly so over the last few weeks.
"I know it has not always been easy but our senior leaders, teachers and support staff have done their absolute best to ensure that our children and young people continue their education and are cared for in this difficult time.
"The quality of the remote learning offer has improved significantly from the previous lockdown, and more children have been able to physically attend school this time around.
"Meanwhile, many staff have had to carry out substantially different roles this half-term, for instance supporting the testing and tracing efforts which are crucial to keeping track of this terrible virus and managing cases when they are confirmed involving a member of the school community. Many have had to work incredibly long hours just to get everything done.
"For all of this and more, I would like to say a big thank you. Your commitment and flexibility are greatly appreciated, and you've done your city proud."
He added: "I would also like to pay tribute to parents and carers who have helped their children continue their learning journey at home over the last few weeks.
"We fully appreciate that remote learning is not an easy task for families, especially for those parents who have other work or caring responsibilities, and I would like to thank you all for your incredible efforts in juggling everything.
"I hope that everyone – staff, parents and children alike – can have a well-earned rest during the half-term holidays, and I look forward to the possibility of the wider opening of schools in the near future.”
The city's schools are closed to all children this week. They will reopen to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers from Monday 22 February. All other pupils will continue to receive high quality remote education at home, with the Government indicating that the earliest that more pupils will be able to return to school will be Monday 8 March.
The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus. Information about the vaccine can be found at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/covidvaccine. Further details of the lockdown restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/covidalert.