Your coronavirus update: Schools update, staying safe and looking to a brighter 2021

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Leader of the Council Clare Coghill green background

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update 

Walthom Forest

Yesterday, the government announced that schools in Waltham Forest will not be reopening as normal next week. Primary schools will not open on the 4 January for face-to-face teaching except for vulnerable children and children of critical workers. This will be in place until at least 18 January when it will be reviewed. 

From the 4 January, secondary schools will be providing face-to-face teaching only to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. For students in Years 11 and 13, remote learning will be provided until they return to face-to-face teaching on the 11 January. Remote education will be given to all other students where resources allow. 

Early years and childcare, including nurseries, can continue but is not compulsory and alternative provision and special schools will reopen flexibly from Monday 4 January. Please visit our website for more information.

The decision on schools is to try and stem the spread of the virus and with 2,500 residents testing positive in Waltham Forest in the past week alone, we all have to play our part. We all know that the health service is struggling with the increased infection rates and with the amount of new cases each day in Waltham Forest and across the country these pressures won’t reduce anytime soon. Please do follow the advice and do not meet with people outside of your households like you normally would on New Years Eve.

As we approach 2021, I'd like to take a moment to thank the people of Waltham Forest. This year has been the most challenging year we have ever had, however the community spirit seen across the borough has been outstanding. Thank you to every volunteer who has helped us support vulnerable residents, every business who has adapted their service to make it Covid-19 safe and to every resident who has ordered a free face mask, taking preventative measures to keep each other safe.

And thank you to our NHS, emergency services, teachers and key workers, who have continued to work their hardest through the pandemic, keeping us safe and Waltham Forest going. 

Together, let's look to a brighter 2021. Happy New Year to you and your families and please stay safe. 

Please stay safe for New Years Eve

Test and Trace

We know it's disappointing to not be able to meet with friends and family for New Years, however it is vital that you follow the rules. 

The risk of infection is very high at the moment, so please do not risk your loved ones' health. 

Being in Tier 4 for New Year means: 

  • You must not socialise indoors with people you do not live with (apart from existing support bubble)
  • You must only leave home for essential reasons (work, food, medicine) 
  • Only two people can meet up in outdoor public spaces 
  • You must not socialise in private gardens with people you do not live with or who are not part of your support bubble 

Following the rules will keep your family safe. 

Tier 4 rules 

Your mental health is important

mental health

This year has been extremely challenging for all of us.

The impacts of Covid-19 can cause stress, low moods, and loneliness more likely, especially when you are self-isolating, ill, or recovering from the virus. 

If you need support for your mental health and well-being, it's really important that you reach out. 

Mental health support

Christmas tree collections


Taking down the decorations? Please don't burn your Christmas tree. This damages the environment and can cause issues for residents who have respiratory illnesses. 

We're offering a free collection service for real Christmas trees from Monday 4 January.

If you live in a house with two wheeled bins, please leave your Christmas tree by your bins on your collection day.  If you live in a flat with communal bins, please book your collection below. 

Book your collection 

Council services over Christmas


We have created a dedicated webpage with information on changes to our services over the Christmas and New Year period.

Info on council services

Testing is available every day in Waltham Forest

Test and Trace

We've made sure that Covid-19 tests are available everyday for residents.

Around 1 in 3 of us won't have symptoms, but might still be spreading without realising. 

Getting tested can help us stop the spread: 

Friday 1 January: 

9am - 3pm: 

  • Stanley Road car park, Leyton E10 7EQ
  • Linford Road car park, Walthamstow E17 3LS
  • Richmond Road car park, Chingford, E4 7BN
  • Church Lane car park, Leytonstone, E11 1HG

9am - 3.30pm: 

  • Drive-in at The Score Card car park, at 100 Oliver Rd, Leyton

Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 January: 

9am - 3pm: 

  • Richmond Road car park, Chingford, E4 7BN
  • Church Lane car park, Leytonstone, E11 1HG

8am - 8pm: 

  • Stanley Road car park, Leyton E10 7EQ
  • Linford Road car park, Walthamstow E17 3LS

Test centre information

Support is available to you

Test and Trace

We know this festive time can be extremely stressful for many, even more so with stricter restrictions at the moment.

Our priority is to make sure families can access the support they need throughout winter.

So whether you need help to access food or medicine, or further support for your family, we're here to help. 

Visit the below webpage for more information on the services and support that are available to you. 

Get support 

Worried about your finances?

Financial Support

We know that Covid-19 has negatively impacted many residents, and we're making sure the right support is available to you. 

If you are feeling stressed or worried about your finances as we move into 2021, then please do reach out and get support or advice. 

There are different options and support available depending on what situation you are in, whether that be severe financial hardship or you are concerned about your business. 

We also have information and advice available for those who are concerned about their housing situation. 

Financial support 

Test and Trace

Information and advice regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing quickly and its important you keep up to date with those changes. The Council will be using email newsletters to keep residents and businesses up to date.

If residents have questions please visit our website, and use live chat to talk to one of our team, it's quicker than phoning.


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