Published: 10:34, 08 December 2020
| Updated: 15:08, 08 December 2020
Both secondary schools in Faversham have "reached tipping point" and decided to fully close due to staff shortages brought about by Covid.
The Abbey School and Queen Elizabeth's Grammar have shut their doors to all year groups as of today.
Both have confirmed they will remain shut until the new year to ensure pupils "do not pose a risk to families over the festive period".
A letter sent home to parents from head teacher at the Abbey, Dr Rowland Speller, states: "We have unfortunately reached a tipping point with nearly 40 staff currently diagnosed, awaiting test results, self isolating, or without childcare.
"I have had a lengthy conversation with David Anderson, head teacher of QE, who is in a parallel situation and we both believe this is the safest decision we can make at this stage.
"We believe that it is the safest step to extend this arrangement until the end of term.
"With students isolated from any risks at school over the next nine days, they can approach the Christmas holidays safe in the knowledge they do not pose a risk to families over the festive period, a point which many of you have been making over the last few days.
"The decision has been made in full consultation with the local authority and I have also informed the chair of governors."
QE meanwhile has 22 teaching staff and seven support staff in isolation. The grammar will also be closed until the new year.
The double closure for the Faversham schools comes as Swale continues to remain one of the UK's most infected areas.
Behind Medway, it has the second highest rate at 575.7 per 100,000 and despite falling slightly during the past week, has started increasing again.
Virtual learning will now come into force at both of the secondary schools.
Both will remain open for the children of key workers and vulnerable students should they still need to attend.