REMOTE learning in Southend's schools is "almost inevitable", as headteachers prepare for Covid restrictions once again amid a huge spike in Covid cases.

Coronavirus cases in the town among teenagers are skyrocketing, with the rate of transmission almost three times more than that of the general population, while across the county, the rate among teenagers is almost five times the rolling average.

In response, directors of public health have issued a desperate plea for children and parents to get tested, alongside receiving their jab.

While schools are ramping up preparations to move to remote learning and implementing school bubbles or mask wearing.

However, director of public health for Southend, Krishna Ramkhelawon, exclusively told the Echo he will not consider a blanket approach to asking schools to implement new Covid rules.

As it stands, schools are reporting a similar level of cases, and for mask wearing or bubbles to be introduced, it would be on a "school-by-school" basis, dependant on individual Covid outbreaks.

Mr Ramkhelawon, said: "People aren't testing, and parents aren't checking them.

"We're not sure how they're going to run remote learning alongside usual school running.

"If 50 per cent of the class is self-isolating or unwell, they should move to remote learning.

"We don't want any days lost within education, but if we need to move to remote learning then we should."

As of Friday, the Covid rate among 11-18-year-olds in Southend sat at 840 per 100,000.

The rolling average sits at 268 per 100,000.

While across Essex, the rate among the 11-18-year-olds is at a whopping 1,100 per 100,000, compared to the average of 288 among the rest of the population.

Dr Robin Bevan, headteacher at Southend High School for Boys, said: "We have had a consistently low number of positive cases.

"The individual pupils have been supported in their studies at home. We are actively promoting regular home-testing.

"Our school timetable has been expertly designed to limit pupil mixing.

"If Covid case numbers do rise, we are well-placed to introduce additional mitigations up to and including remote learning. This would only be implemented in consultation with Public Health, as a necessary precaution.”

This comes as Dr Mike Gogarty, public health director for Essex County Council, urged parents to get tested.

He added: "We are kind of reintroducing bubbles.

"Not as a way of stopping children going to school but saying ‘this child has been infected, these are all the contacts and then writing to all the parents to say there is a case, please make sure you child has a test’.

“We tried that with secondary schools but the groups are too big.

“So we are struggling with getting the most effective way of doing that.

“If there is a reasonable number of children we might ask them all to get tested. They can still go to school.

“But using national test and trace and relying on parents to identify in timely fashion potential contacts is not an effective mechanism."