City of Wolverhampton Council has today raised “serious concerns” about primary schools opening safely next week – and urged the Government to support a move to online learning.

Cases of coronavirus in Wolverhampton have continued to rise in recent days amid concerns the new highly contagious variant of the virus could now be circulating in the city.

Primary, nursery and special schools are due to reopen on Monday after secondary schools were told to remain closed until later this month.

Leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield said: “As always, the safety of our pupils, teachers and school staff is paramount.

“Unfortunately, the infection rate in Wolverhampton now stands at 530 people per 100,000 – the highest in the region. We are also seeing a very high positive test rate of 23% - similar to many areas of London and the South East.

“As a result of this, based purely on the latest epidemiology and public health advice, we have had no choice but to escalate matters and have written to the Secretary of State for Education to express our concerns.

“We have serious concerns about schools reopening safely and are seeking Government support on all primary, nursery and special schools in Wolverhampton moving to remote learning next week, other than for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

“As we await a formal response, we will continue to focus on testing arrangements for school staff and support schools in updating their risk assessments and operation plans.

“Our schools have worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic and we thank them for continued dedication to supporting education, wellbeing and safety of pupils and staff.”

Earlier this week Wolverhampton was moved to Tier 4 of the Government’s local Covid restrictions. The ‘Stay Home’ measures were imposed on the city following a sharp rise in the number of cases in the Wolverhampton in recent weeks.