Yorkshire schools draw up cautious plans and cancel trips to combat coronavirus

Cautious measures to combat coronavirus are being introduced to schools across the region, with some settings cancelling trips or readying for home working.

While there have been no school closures in Yorkshire, teachers are on alert to minimise the impact such a move may have on the region's young people.

Some school trips have already been cancelled, with other settings drawing up contingency plans to protect the most vulnerable students if schools were to shut their doors.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

And as charity leaders call on Government to make cash available for low-income families, there are warnings that many children are reliant on free school meals.

Some schools in Yorkshire are readying for the impact Coronavirus could have.

At least one school in Leeds, documents reveal, has drawn up a plan to deliver food hampers to families if they are struggling financially.

"Hopefully it won’t come to it," Parkland Primary School's headteacher Chris Dyson said as he took the extraordindary move of publishing the school's crisis plan on social media, drawn up in readiness in case settings are ordered to close their doors.

"The children will be fed daily and food hampers provided. Every child will be spoken to and have work set by their teachers. Together we will be strong."

Cancelled trips

On Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said closures now could do "more harm than good" but added that school trips abroad should be stopped.

Letters, seen by this newspaper, have now been sent to parents in Knaresborough over planned excursions from King James's School.

Trips had been planned to both Berlin and Iceland in early April, but headteacher Carl Sugden said the decision had been taken following careful consideration.

Under a rapidly changing situation, he wrote in the letter, it seemed "unwise" to undertake non-essential travel through airports, which could put pupils and staff at risk.

It was an "incredibly difficult" decision to make, the school's director of business services Justin Waters added, but it had to safeguard the wellbeing of students and staff.

As school leaders nationwide say it would be "unthinkable" for GCSEs not to go ahead this year, assurances have been sought from regulators over contingency plans for exams.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School & College Leaders (ASCL), said members were determined to keep schools open.

But regulators, he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, must cut through the "swirling rumours" as to whether exams could be brought forward or pushed back.

"What we know is they are scenario-planning on this and (they can) give some reassurance to youngsters that we are doing everything we can."