By Tara O’Connor, local democracy reporter
The founder of a schools trust has called on the government to change coronavirus guidance for schools before September as he warned roughly 3,000 children were off school and self-isolating.
The Oasis academy trust runs 52 schools across the country with 14 in London and the South East, of which five are in Croydon including Arena and Shirley Park.
The academy chain’s founder, Steve Chalke, wants to see a change to the Covid-19 guidance before the summer holidays.
Pupils are put into “bubbles” so when one person tests positive for Covid-19 the whole group is sent home.
He told Radio 4’s Today programme that at the moment, 10 per cent of Oasis pupils, around 3,000 children, are currently off school and isolating at home.
On the show, he said: “It’s been in and out, up and down and of course the impact of this on many children is absolutely huge in terms of their development, their social and mental health so we should be doing something now.”
The founder also tweeted that, with three weeks left of term and activities planned for the holidays, the government should not wait until September to make changes to the rules.
“Don’t wait till September. Change the Covid guidance for schools now!” he tweeted. “There are three more weeks of term & then the six long weeks of holidays that Oasis schools, along with many others, are planning to fill with activities for children, just as govt asked us to do so recently!”
Nick Gibb, schools minister for England, told Radio 4: “We are trialling daily contact testing, where somebody who has come into contact with someone with Covid, instead of self isolating, takes a test every day and if they’re negative they can go to school.”
This trial is set to be completed this week and ministers are not expected to make a decision until results of the trial are available.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service has contacted Oasis Academy and the Department of Education for further comment.
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