A SECOND York primary school will not be reopening for the majority of children this week.

Knavesmire Primary School  head Adam Cooper has informed parents today that he's had to make the decision to remain closed because of a shortage of staff. It's not yet known when they'll be able to reopen.

As is the case at Copmanthorpe School,  Knavesmire will only be open for children classed as vulnerable, or whose parents are Key Workers. All other pupils will receive online learning, in line with their regularly timetabled lessons.

The school is part of the South Bank Multi Academy Trust, which had aimed to open all primary schools on January 5. Knavesmire is unable to open to all pupils because of the number of staff who have submitted letters under Section 44 of the Workplace Safety Act 1996. These staff believe that the school is not safe to work in because of the new Covid variant.

Mr Cooper who is also Trust Principal of the South Bank Multi Academy Trust, said: "As a Trust, the safety of our pupils and staff is our highest priority. We liaise closely with other York schools and with Public Health England, and are currently following local PHE guidance that it is safe for primary schools to reopen. We have robust Risk Assessments in place to reduce the risk of Covid infections to staff and students, and these were shown to be effective in the autumn term. We will be working with staff and unions to address their concerns, so as to bring all the children back into school as soon as possible."

David Borlase, chairman of governors, said: "We really sympathise with parents who must be finding these last minute changes very difficult. It was fantastic to have pupils back in the Autumn, and look forward to them returning again as soon as possible."

Meanwhile some pupils at Huntington Academy have been asked to stay at home. 

And City of York Council is calling for more localised decision making on issues relating to schools reopening.

Cllr Keith Orrell, City of York Council’s executive member for children, young people and education, said only the Government is currently able to make a blanket order to close schools, "as we have seen from the recent legal case involving Greenwich Council."