Manchester Council has said it is ‘highly unlikely’ schools in the region will be reopened on June 1st – and across the country it’s expected that around 1,500 schools will defy the government’s plans to reopen.
Robert Buckland, the Justice Secretary, said today that he was not expecting everyone to be back by the date announced by the government, with at least 18 councils vowing to go against the government’s plans.
Government officials announced that schools should prepare to open on June 1st, bringing reception, year one and year six back to schools in reduced class sizes if it is safe to do so.
The government has issued a detailed plan on how to make sure classrooms are safe for both students and teachers. The plan includes offering a maximum class size of 15, keeping desks far apart and ensuring soap is in every toilet.
However, the plan experienced fierce backlash with many unions warning teachers not to go. Councils across the country have said they will not enforce the reopening of schools.
Manchester Council and Salford Council have both said that it is ‘highly unlikely’ that schools in the region will reopen inline with the government’s plan next month.
Elsewhere in Greater Manchester, Stockport Council confirmed its school wouldn’t open until June 10th at the earliest, while Rochdale said they won’t reopen them until it’s safe for kids and staff.
In Bury, the council announced they would not reopen schools ‘while high levels of Covid-19 remain’ in the region.
In a statement, Manchester Council said: “We’re very clear that in any plan the safety of pupils and staff must be absolutely paramount.
“For this reason, in our primary schools it is highly unlikely that children in the government identified priority year groups will be able to attend school full-time from June 1, and may also mean that some schools have to prioritise certain year groups, and not make an offer to them all.”
Manchester’s council executive member for children and schools, Councillor Garry Bridges, said that the announcement from the Prime Minister last week ‘raised more questions than answers’.
He said: “The government guidance is unworkable and it’s highly unlikely schools in Manchester will be open for all children in the prescribed year groups from 1 June as they suggest.
“Most of our schools have in fact been open since the lockdown was enforced to key groups of children, as well as providing home learning and welfare checks. This has included throughout school holidays and in many cases even bank holidays.
“However, rather than follow the government guidance and suddenly increasing the numbers in school to meet arbitrary dates, we’re working with our schools on individual risk assessments to understand how they can safely and gradually over time increase the number of children attending.”
He added: “The government message that ‘schools are reopening on 1 June’ is unhelpful. Manchester parents should only consider sending their child into school from this date if they are contacted directly by their school with the direct offer of a place back in the classroom for their child from then.
“Like all of us I’m worried about the impact on children and young people from not being in school and we all want to see more children back in as soon as they can be, but this needs to be done in a safe, planned, and controlled way.
“We’re in active and positive discussions with our schools and the unions on all of this and will be meeting regularly with them over the coming weeks as their return to school plans are worked through.”
Mr Buckland insisted that the government is ‘working towards’ a June 1st opening date but admitted it was not looking good.
He said: “We always said the 1st of June was conditional, not just on the R-rate but the need to make places of work safe. I am hearing what’s being said by our union representatives and brilliant teachers.
“We have to accept the fact that councils are employers and decisions have to be made collectively.”
There is evidence to suggest that ‘the risk to individual children from Covid-19 is extremely small’, according to the British Medical Association (BMA).
The chairman of the BMA’s Public Health Medicine Committee said: “The BMA wants schools to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so and the evidence allows – this could be before June 1 or after. A zero-risk approach is not possible. This is about ‘safe’ being an acceptable level of risk.”
The government said each school’s circumstances are individual and if a headteacher felt unable to open next month they should ‘discuss options’ with their local authority or trust.
Supermarkets are reintroducing limits on some products to stop panic buying
Rationing on essential items in supermarkets has begun again.
In attempts to avoid a part two of the Lockdown Toilet Roll Fiasco we’re all still mentally scarred from, some supermarkets have reintroduced rationing on a number of products in England.
Tesco is now limiting purchasing on flour, dried pasta, toilet roll, baby wipes and anti-bacterial wipes to a maximum of three per customer.
There are additional limits on items such as rice and tinned goods online.
A spokesperson for Tesco told Mirror Money: “We have good availability, with plenty of stock to go round, and we would encourage our customers to shop as normal.
“To ensure that everyone can keep buying what they need, we have introduced bulk-buy limits on a small number of products.”
Morrisons became the first of the supermarket chains to reinstate rationing earlier this week, placing a purchase limit of three on essentials.
Toilet roll, hand sanitiser, soap, most cleaning products, kitchen roll and Calpol all currently have purchase limits on them.
Aldi’s chief executive has also released a statement to customers stating: “There is no need to buy more than you usually would. I would like to reassure you that our stores remain fully stocked and ask that you continue to shop considerately.”
Head of Retail at the law firm Gordons, Andy Brian, told the Guardian: “Hopefully, shoppers will adopt a calmer approach than earlier in the year, and continue to shop as normal.”
Blackpool Zoo celebrates after endangered species is born there
Blackpool Zoo is celebrating the birth of a baby Gibbon – one of Europe’s second-largest group of endangered species.
Gibbons are usually found in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, however, a paired-for-life duo living at Blackpool Zoo are keeping the population alive as the only two breeding pairs found at the zoo. Gibbons also only breed every two or three years so this is extra amazing news for the species!
The clearing of vast amounts of trees for farming or replantation of commercial plants has caused problems for many of Asia’s primates, including Pileated Gibbons.
Parents Ivy and Chamoa welcomed the new arrival in August making them a happy family of five.
Keepers are hoping for a girl, however, it’s not yet known the sex of the baby Gibbon.
Charlotte Pennie, Senior Primate Keeper at Blackpool Zoo, said: “Ivy is doing a fantastic job of caring for the youngster, which she will carry on her chest for around six months before it starts to explore its surroundings.
She added: “Ivy is 31 and has been with us for 26 years. We almost lost her ten years ago when she became very ill, so for her to recover and go onto have three healthy babies is just wonderful.”
Gibbons form monogamous breeding pairs and have a diet consisting of sweet fruits, leaves, flowers and insects. At Blackpool Zoo they also get carrots, seeds, fruit and vegetables with rice, boiled eggs and cheese as treats.
Local chef raises £35,000 after his food truck is burned down in ‘racist attack’
This is disgusting.
A huge fundraiser has been launched to help David Kamson get his food truck back following a ‘racist’ arson attack.
Jolus Lutete, who has never met David, set up a GoFundMe account to raise money so David can get a new van following the horrific attack.
David Olalekan Kamson shared the story on Instagram, saying he’d suffered racist attacks from a man in his local neighbourhood in Moston.
According to David, the man originally stole his van – which David operates Moston Suya from – a few weeks ago, causing more than £5,000 in damages before the police located it.
The police attempted to arrest the man, but said they didn’t have ‘good enough reasons’ to why the van was in his possession so couldn’t.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of it.
Two days ago, on September 21st, ‘the man in question drove past David hurling racial abuse and stating that David and immigrants have no business building businesses in his area’.
On September 23rd, David found his fan to be subject of an arson attack, leaving him not only heartbroken but his business literally in ashes.
In the Instagram post, David wrote: “I am a Descendant of Noble Kings .. I Humble myself and Serve My Community … I worked Hard 3 years 9 months.. I saved money .. no social – bought a catering Trailer for £3000 pounds.
“Spent £438 pounds to bring down from Canterbury Kent to Manchester . So I can serve food in a decent In a decent environment for my community.
“Some Racist Thief in Moston Named Craig Don’t like the idea of a Black Man Doing Such Business in Moston.
“So he stole the Catering trailer .. sold equipments over £5000 and damage the inside for Fun.
“One Month Later it was found with Him in Blackley Charles town Road.
“Police tried to arrest him , he lied he bought it and couldn’t provide any proof who sold it to him ..
“He was not charged or disturbed.
“I see him around and I just ignore him.
“I’m a community Lad … known for Hustle and funny vibes.
“2 days ago on Hartley street this same Craig guy drove pass me and say to me fucking black immigrants come in Moston to do business like they own it.. he went ahead to tell me that trailer should have been his and his boys eyes are on it.
“That was 2 days ago.
“This morning I woke up late at about 10am and I went into the post office where the cashier was telling me oh my God what happened to your trailer , I said nothing is wrong with it it’s fine .. the council loves it and I have just fixed it back and bought back tools in it …
“He screen nooooo , it’s burnt down to ashes .. I said no , maybe people burn things beside it
“He said no , I didn’t even mind him because I started laughing.
“So I went to check on £3000 trailer with £2200 worth of equipment Gone in ashes with some things missing … which means it was robbed before burnt.
“This Act of Hate should not be allowed in Moston . This is hateful and sad … All the kids that gets chicken from me , all the street homeless and beggars I give food to Most are not black , I have no colour black or white … I am a community man and should be treated as one , I kept trying to feed myself and shelter my soul .. Someone is hating in Corner.
“I leave this to God , That trailer was God’s gift to me to get out of Hunger . Somebody burn it. #SayNotoRacism“