SCHOOLS are prepared for a return to remote learning in the new year but the emphasis is still on face-to-face learning, according to Barnsley Council.

While national Covid rates soar as a result of the new Omicron variant, Barnsley’s average has remained consistent since a spike in early October.

But the Chronicle understands schools and ruling trusts - amid speculation of a return to more stringent lockdown measures - have contacted parents and staff over the festive break to make them aware of procedures for the return in January.

A council spokesperson said a move to remote learning would follow instruction from the Department for Education, which hasn’t given any such order but has contacted schools to review and update contingency plans.

“There is an expectation that in the event of any staff, classes or children having to isolate, then remote learning is always instigated by all settings,” added the spokesperson.

“All schools and multi-academy trusts already have their remote learning offers in place and can switch over when necessary.

“There is still very much an emphasis on ensuring face-to-face provisions are in place wherever possible.”