Connect with us
https://propermanchester.com.temp.link/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/secret-suppers-advert.jpg

News

1,500 schools expected to defy government advice on reopening

Just in…

Published

on

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. 

Credit: CDC / Unsplash

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.

Credit: Astronomy & Society Group / Flickr

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.”

Credit: Andrew Ebrahim / Unsplash

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.”

Credit: Element5 Digital / Unsplash

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. 

News

New Covid-19 Rules: Everything you need to know as masks become compulsory in shops and on transport

The new rules will come into place tomorrow at 4

Published

on

Mika Baumeister / Unsplash & Nickolay Romensky / Flickr

From tomorrow, November 30th, the use of face masks and coverings will once again be compulsory in shops and on public transport.

The government made the decision as part of its response to the new Omicron variant, which is said to be ‘more transmissible and have more mutations which could weaken the effect of vaccines and natural immunity.’ 

The change in rules was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson after cases of the new variant were detected at several locations across the UK. The Health Secretary Sajid Javid gave more detail yesterday, November 28th, saying the masks rule would apply from 4am on Tuesday

Here’s everything you need to know:

Where will face masks be compulsory after November 30th? 

Face masks and coverings will be mandatory in all shops and on all forms of public transport.

A statement from the Government says: “From 4am Tuesday November 30th, face coverings will be compulsory in shops and other settings such as banks, post offices and hairdressers, as well as on public transport unless individuals are exempt from doing so.”

However, all hospitality will be exempt from the rule change, with the Prime Minister saying further details would be outlined by the Health Secretary ‘in the course of the next day or so’. 

Will face masks be compulsory in schools?

While staff and secondary school students are being ‘strongly advised’ to wear face masks in communal areas from Monday, the rule won’t be mandatory in schools

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi recommends that staff, visitors and pupils in Year 7 and above should wear masks in communal areas in schools, colleges and universities such as corridors, canteens and halls.

@arturorey / Unsplash

What other measures are being brought in?

Passengers arriving into the UK from Tuesday will have to take a PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result. PCR tests must be purchased from private providers as free NHS tests are not valid for this purpose.

All close contacts of anyone who has tested positive for the Omicron variant must also self-isolate for ten days regardless of their vaccination status.

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty also said during Saturday’s press conference that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will consider extending boosters from the over-40s to the over-18s.

Will more restrictions be brought in?

The Health Secretary said during Saturday’s press conference that it was ‘nowhere near’ the time to reintroduce social distancing rules and work-from-home guidance, and was hopeful the mask mandate would be removed ‘within weeks’.

Also speaking on Saturday, Boris Johnson added that the measures are simply a ‘precaution’ and are in place to ‘buy time for scientists’ while more is learned about the Omicron variant.

Continue Reading

News

Iceland boss says shoppers won’t be forced to wear face masks

‘We need to continue to encourage people to shop in stores if they feel comfortable’

Published

on

Pixnio

Iceland supermarkets across the country won’t be forcing shoppers to wear face masks, despite new Covid rules being introduced this week.

The supermarket chain’s managing director Richard Walker has announced that he won’t be asking staff to enforce the new restrictions as they focus on the ‘long-term recovery of the high street.’

Walker told The Daily Mail: “We fully support the reintroduction of compulsory face masks in shops, however, we won’t be asking our store colleagues to police it.

Adcro / Wikimedia Commons

“Our store teams, alongside all retail workers, have shown heroic efforts in terms of ensuring safety for customers and building back consumer confidence and it’s crucial that we stay focused on the long-term recovery of the high street.

“We need to continue to encourage people to shop in stores if they feel comfortable, and I’m hopeful that the latest guidelines won’t discourage customers from doing so.”

Supermarket giant Co-op has also said that they would not be enforcing face coverings in their stores – nor would they refuse to serve a customer without one.

The British Retail Consortium has said it’s down to the police to enforce the measure, saying, as per The Sun: “Customers are asked to respect the rules and be considerate to their fellow shoppers and to hard-working shop staff.”

@arturorey / Unsplash

This comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the return of face masks and self-isolation in a bid to tackle the new Omicron variant. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed yesterday that face masks will be once again made compulsory in shops and on public transport from tomorrow, Tuesday November 30th

While appearing on The Andrew Marr Show, Javid confirmed that people who refuse to wear masks will be hit with new sanctions, saying: “Yes, it will be a legal requirement by government regulations to wear masks in shops and public transport.”

Continue Reading

News

The key symptoms of the new Omicron Covid variant have been revealed

Here’s what we know so far…

Published

on

Annie Spratt / Unsplash & Nickolay Romensky / Flickr

As new measures are put in place to combat the new Omicron variant of Covid-19, speculation surrounding its symptoms are rife.

While little is still known about the latest variant of Covid-19, it is said to be ‘more transmissible and have more mutations which could weaken the effect of vaccines and natural immunity,’ and has already been detected in a handful of locations across the UK. 

Measures have been introduced to combat the new strain, which is believed to have originated in South Africa, such as making face masks compulsory once again in shops and on public transport. 

But what exactly are the Omicron symptoms, and how do they differ from regular Coronavirus?

Dr. Angelique Coetzee, who spotted the variant when patients arrived at her practice in Pretoria, South Africa, says the new variant has presented some young people with intense fatigue and a six-year-old child with a high pulse rate.

Dr. Coetzee said symptoms didn’t include a sore throat, but more of a ‘scratchy’ throat, and a mild headache. She added there was also no cough.

The thirty-three-year-old GP also pointed out that none of the patients had the loss of sense of taste or smell which has become a common indicator of Covid-19.

Nickolay Romensky / Flickr

Dr Coetzee, who also chairs South Africa’s Medical Association, said: “Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before.”

She added that most of the patients she has seen so far are healthy men who are ‘feeling so tired’. 

As of 4am tomorrow, November 30th, face masks will be compulsory in all shops and on public transport. A statement from the Government says: “From 4am Tuesday November 30th, face coverings will be compulsory in shops and other settings such as banks, post offices and hairdressers, as well as on public transport unless individuals are exempt from doing so.”

Find out more here.

Continue Reading

Receive our latest news, events & unique stories

Privacy and data policy

We may earn a commission when you use one of our links to make a purchase

Copyright © 2019 Proper Manchester