Leeds parents call for Covid rule changes due to "massive" bubble collapsing issue

Leeds parents are calling for a change to Covid isolation rules for their children as school and nursery bubbles bursting has become a "massive" issue.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 5:44 pm
School bubbles have been collapsing in Leeds (photo: PA).
School bubbles have been collapsing in Leeds (photo: PA).

Bubbles - small groups of pupils who learn together to try to stop the spread of Covid - have been collapsing more frequently, particularly in areas hit hard by infection rate rises, such as Hyde Park and Headingley.

Just last week, a bubble in every year group of St Mary's Primary Academy in Hunslet collapsed after a positive Covid test at school.

Other schools affected recently include Leeds West Academy's year eight bubble, Lawnswood School, Ireland Wood primary school and Leeds East Academy.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

That means busy parents have been forced to homeschool their children more for the 10 day period.

It comes as the Department for Education (DfE) said school isolation rules in England could be brought to an end this autumn, and potentially be replaced with regular testing.

Gavin Williamson also told MPs on Wednesay he believes pupils “would not be facing” bubble arrangements in September.

Figures show that around one in 20 (5.1 per cent) state school pupils in England did not attend class for Covid-19-related reasons on June 24, up from 3.3 per cent on June 17 and 1.2 per cent on June 10.

Elizabeth Callaghan told the YEP it was a "massive issue which needs addressing as soon as possible".

Her finances have been hit as her children keep getting sent home from nursery.

She said: "Every time my child has a slight sniffle, I have to leave work and pick them up.

"They then can't go back to nursery until they have a negative result, which is totally understandable.

"But my issue is - having to pay full price for a nursery place and before-school club place full prices while the Covid results come in.

"I've now paid around £600 to keep nursery places open while having to wait for test results which have all come back negative."

She added: "This isn't just an isolated incident, it's happening a lot at the minute.

"I don't feel the support Is there for your average middle class working person.

"Gaps in social class are forever getting bigger, and the pandemic has added massively to that."

Kirkstall Valley Primary School headteacher Phil Robertson said on social media that he was "losing so many staff to self-isolation".

He added: "The Covid rates in our local area are going through the roof again.

"To enable schools to safely remain open - in terms of being able to staff them - the government needs to understand the pressure we are once again under and support us with up to date strategies."

Another mum, Charlotte Field, said one of her children's bubbles had collapsed for the second time in six weeks.

She added: "It's a big pressure on us as we are both keyworkers and are expected to keep working whilst juggling home schooling of autistic disabled son."

Another mum said: "Three of my children had their bubbles collapse all at once - it took out nursery, reception, year one and year two.

"But my other daughter didn’t have to shield despite the others needing to isolate.

"It doesn’t make sense - if there's a risk surly everyone should shield?"

While another added: "Between my two children, bubbles have closed five times now.

"I'm self-employed so zero pay - I'm getting beyond sick of it."

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United. With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe