Schools across the Royal Borough of Greenwich in southeast London are being forced to close from the end of Monday and moving classes online, amid the “exponential growth” of the pandemic.

In an open letter published Sunday evening, Council Chairman Danny Thorpe warned that “the situation in Greenwich is about Covid-19 It is now escalating very quickly. “

Thorpe continued: “Today colleagues from Public Health England told me that the epidemic in Greenwich is now showing signs that we are in a period of rapid growth that requires immediate action.”

He said Greenwich is seeing the highest rates Corona Virus More infections than at any time since March.

“For these reasons, I have requested that all schools in Greenwich close their buildings starting Monday evening and switch to online learning for the duration of the term,” added Mr. Thorpe.

He said that, as in the first closure, exceptions will remain for children of key workers and those with special needs.

In another message to families, Mr. Thorpe stressed: “It is absolutely essential that everyone understands that this is not an opportunity to extend the Christmas celebrations in any way, and I request that this happen to reduce the risk of transmission.”

He apologized for the disruption that school closures could have caused in family life, adding: “I will not ask for it unless the danger is severe, but with the numbers rising very quickly it is clear that action is needed.”

The data shows that 715 cases of novel coronavirus infection were recorded in Greenwich in the seven days through December 9 – equivalent to 248.3 cases per 100,000 people.

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That’s up from the 158.0 average in the seven days to December 2.

The numbers were calculated by the Palestinian Authority News Agency, based on public health data in England published on December 13 on the government’s Coronavirus Dashboard.

The move comes as schools in England are warned that they may face legal action if they allow pupils to learn at home in the run-up to Christmas.

Through the new Coronavirus Act, the government has the authority to issue “directives” to school principals on providing education during a pandemic.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson can apply for an injunction from the Supreme Court forcing schools to remain open if they do not comply.

The Ministry of Education said that keeping schools open remains a “national priority”, adding that it is “vital” that children remain in school until the end of the semester.

Meanwhile, high schools and colleges in Wales will move to online learning from Monday after the Welsh Chief Medical Officer warned that the public health situation is “deteriorating”.