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Two schools in Suffolk shut early due to Omicron

One primary school and one secondary school in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk have shut early following public health advice.

Geoff Barton, a general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, confirmed the schools have shut early due to public health advice.

He explained to BBC’s Radio 4 Today: ‘I think it’s important to say that this decision was not at the whim of a headteacher.

‘It wasn’t someone saying “actually, we’re going to close the school so Christmas can come early.”‘

‘But on the ground – in particular areas such as Bury St Edmunds – public health are saying that because of the infection rates, young people should move to remote learning.’

boy in green sweater writing on white paper

Mr Barton added that schools are seeing ‘very severe low attendance,’ as a result of the Omicron variant spreading across the UK.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘Listening to the speculation and the news, and certainly the emails I’ve been getting from members, you are getting some pockets of very severe low attendance, partly young people, partly staff.

‘One (school) has emailed me this morning saying 25% of staff have been off for three weeks, you can imagine if you can’t then get supply teachers that becomes very difficult to maintain the quality of education.’

This comes in recent news as Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, on Monday, stopped short of guaranteeing that no schools would be forced to close because of the new variant.

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