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Schools To Close Early For Christmas

Officials have confirmed that Guernsey students will be allowed to break for Christmas early, in response to the Omicron variant.

This Friday 17 December will be the last day of term for all pupils at States-run schools.

Less than a week ago, education officials said that the date would not be brought forward as it had been for children from Sark and Alderney.

Parents and guardians who still have to attend work and have no childcare arrangements can still send their kids to school as usual on Monday 20, Tuesday 21 and the morning of Wednesday 22.

ESC President Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen says it is a 'sensible decision'.

"Having considered the current challenges in keeping schools fully operational due to staff and student absences, the impact the last 10 weeks of term have had on school staff and young people, and importantly the upcoming Christmas holidays where we of course want to limit the risk of families having their special time severely impacted by Covid-19, we have taken what we believe is a sensible decision at this point.

We certainly did not take this decision lightly and importantly schools will remain open on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning next week so that, the children of any parent who simply cannot find alternative arrangement and those invited by the school, can continue to attend.

We expect student numbers in settings will drop significantly and this will reduce the serious pressure that our workforce has experienced in recent weeks, where they have really been on the frontline.

I would like to extend, my deep and heartfelt gratitude to all staff across education for their efforts in helping to keep our children safe and in school during this really challenging time."

Education director Nick Hynes says the decision should support staff as well as the community.

‘I think it is fair to say that over the last few weeks education has quite rightly been described as being on the frontline with regards to the challenges associated with tackling Covid across our community.

Whilst teachers and school-based staff are by no means the only sector in our island who have been working in difficult circumstances, having spent a lot of time in our schools in recent weeks, I would say that they have been one of the most affected staff groups where we have seen high rates of absence not just because of Covid but because of symptoms associated with Covid.

These absences have caused challenges in planning the day to day delivery of education. Likewise the attendance of young people across all settings has been significantly affected which has consequently had an impact upon many parents and carers across the community.

I don’t want to understate how difficult it has been in all schools and settings since September and would again thank all staff across all areas of education for their commitment to ensuring we have continued to deliver high-quality education for our young people."

It has not been announced whether this change will affect private schools in the island.

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