Sadiq Khan calls for all secondary schools and colleges in London to close

14 December 2020, 10:08 | Updated: 14 December 2020, 10:09

The mayor of London has urged secondary schools to close
The mayor of London has urged secondary schools to close. Picture: PA Images/Getty Images

The mayor has also told the government the city needs increased testing for students.

Sadiq Khan is urging the government to consider asking London's schools and colleges to close early because of ‘concerning’ coronavirus outbreaks among teenagers.

In a letter to the prime minister, the mayor of London has suggested they reopen later in January among fears the capital is heading into Tier 3 this week.

He said: "I want to see regular asymptomatic testing extended to all those unable to work from home and to students and staff at London’s secondary schools, sixth-form college and FE colleges.

"With significant outbreaks among 10 to 19-year-olds, the Government must consider asking schools and colleges to close early and re-open later in January, with extra resource provided to support online learning."

Sadiq Khan has urged schools to be closed in London
Sadiq Khan has urged schools to be closed in London. Picture: PA Images

It's understood the mayor is only referencing secondary schools and wants them to shut as early as today.

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But Labour's shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves has said the government is unlikely to take the advice, telling Sky News they should be the "last thing to close after everything else".

It comes as schools across Greenwich in southeast London were forced to close and move classes online.

In a letter to parents over the weekend, Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe said the east London borough was experiencing a period of "exponential growth" in Covid-19 cases.

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Meanwhile, Mr Khan also asked for a compensation scheme to be put in place for businesses ahead of any further restrictions in the city.

He warned that moving London from Tier 2 into Tier 3 would have a ‘catastrophic’ impact on businesses and put ‘hundreds of thousands of livelihoods at stake’.

The mayor wrote: “Should the government decide to move London to further restrictions, current support is insufficient to keep many businesses and the self-employed afloat.

“The Christmas and new year period provides a huge part of annual takings for the hospitality, culture and events industries, and the period this year was likely to be the difference between businesses surviving the pandemic and failing.”

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He later added: "Time is running out to get the virus under control in our city which is why I urge the Government to heed my call and provide us with the extra support we desperately need."

This comes after it was revealed that the seven-day case rate in the capital had risen in 32 local authority areas compared to the week before.

There were also 17 boroughs where the seven-day rate has risen to more then 200 cases per 100,000 people.

The borough of Havering is the worst-hit as it reported 1,314 new cases in the seven days to 9 December.

The Government will review all tiers in England on December 16.

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