A matter of days after schools welcomed back pupils, 15 schools in Greater Manchester have had to tell students to stay home and quarantine for 14 days.
Students are put into bubbles as part of the new safety measures, which means that any children within the bubbles need to isolate too.
Bubbles in primary schools where classes are around 30 are a lot smaller than those in high schools, where whole years were set up as bubbles, affecting as many as 200 children, the Manchester Evening News reports.
The worst affected school is Co-op Academy in Swinton, with positive cases in both Year 7 and Year 10, meaning both year groups were sent home on Monday.
Initially this meant siblings also had to remain off, but parents have since been told otherwise. But if the child who is isolating gains symptoms, other members of the household should face the same restrictions.
However, this has worried parents who are dependent on children going back to school so they can return to work. Many are now concerned children will be in and out of school throughout the year.
A parent of a child at the school in Swinton has said her child would be better off at home.
She told the MEN: “What’s the rules if we just want to keep our children off for the foreseeable? This is just going to continue and they’re going to just keep getting sent home.
“Day three and it’s happened. It’s going to be a weekly occurrence. I am not putting my child at risk, she has severe asthma. So I don’t want her going back.”
Newall Green Primary School in Wythenshawe had a confirmed positive case on Monday morning and told year 1 and 2 to stay at home.
They have since reduced this to one class in year 1.
Executive headteacher Sarah Rudd said: “We were alerted first thing this morning before school started to a confirmed case within the school. We took the decision in the interests of keeping all children and staff safe to err on the side of caution and ask two year groups to remain at home today, pending further advice from health officials. No other year groups were affected.
“Since then we’ve had detailed discussions with health colleagues who have advised that just one class of pupils and teachers will need to isolate and stay away from school for the next 14 days, whilst the rest of the classes in the two year groups and their teachers can return to school tomorrow.
“School already has all the required safety measures in place, however as an extra precaution all the classrooms in the two affected year groups are also in the process of being deep cleaned in preparation for pupils’ return.”
The whole of year seven is remaining off until September 18th at Buile Hill Academy in Salford, due to a positive case.
The MEN has confirmed that more than a dozen schools throughout Greater Manchester are in the same situation.
They added the below list confirming the schools where pupils are self-isolating:
- Buile Hill Academy, Salford – (Year 7)
- Co-op Academy Swinton – (Year 7 and Year 10)
- Dean Trust Wigan – (Year 8)
- Manchester High School for Girls – (Year 5 Prep)
- Newall Green Primary School, Wythenshawe – (One class in Year 1)
- Yew Tree Community School, Chadderton – (Class 4 Red)
- Middleton Parish Church School
- Bowlee Park Community School, Middleton – (Year 1 Class 3 and Year 1 Class 4)
- St Stephen’s RC Primary School, Droylsden – (Confirmed case in Key Stage 2)
- St Anne’s Primary School, Denton – (One class in Year 5)
- Old Hall Drive Academy, Gorton – (Year 6)
- Old Moat Primary School, Withington – (Year 6)
- Gorse Hill Primary School, Stretford – (Year 1)
- Brooklands Primary School, Sale
- Seymour Park Community Primary, Old Trafford
Schools have confirmed they are following the guidance set out by Public Health England and Department for Education inspite of the frustration felt by parents.
Greater Manchester’s national executive member for the teachers’ union NASUWT, Jac Casson, explains that the number of pupils in isolation is no surprise.
She added: “Sadly, as the infection rate appears to be growing in many areas of Greater Manchester, it is likely that this will happen in more than the handful of schools already affected only days into the new school term.
“We know that leadership teams, teachers and other staff are working hard to provide a safe learning environment for pupils and they will, understandably, feel concerned about these confirmed cases of Covid-19 in schools across Greater Manchester and the country as a whole.
“The NASUWT is supportive of, and committed to, the aim of pupils being in school and having the benefit of being taught by their teachers. However, it is essential that everything that needs to be done is done, to ensure the safety of staff and pupils and to protect the health of the local community.”
Wigan Council’s director for public health said: “The return to schools will inevitably see a rise in cases across the country, but it is important to note that all the relevant and necessary safety measures are in place and being followed strictly.
“We are supporting the school with advice and guidance at this time. The school remains open and it is not necessary for any other child to self-isolate, stay away from school or to be tested, unless they develop symptoms of Covid-19.”
A spokesperson for Trafford Council added: “Our Public Health Team is working closely with three Trafford primary schools where a small number of pupils have tested positive for Covid 19. The schools involved are Seymour Park Primary, Brooklands Primary and Gorse Hill Primary.
“The schools have informed all parents and the children and staff in the affected classes have been asked to self-isolate for two weeks in line with government guidance.
“The schools in question will remain open to other pupils during this time and the affected areas will be deep cleaned. The health and safety of pupils and staff at all our schools remains our number one priority and our Public Health Team will continue to work closely with school leaders to provide them with the necessary support.”
School bus overturns with motorway closed in both directions
Emergency services, including air ambulance, are in attendance
A coach carrying children from two separate schools has been left on its side following a crash on a major motorway this morning.
The school bus was carrying pupils from Calday Grange Grammar School and West Kirby School for Girls when the incident happened at around 8am on Friday, September 29th.
A section of the M53 has been closed off in both directions between J5 at Hooton, Cheshire, to J4 at Clatterbridge, in Merseyside. It is believed the bus had struck a reservation on Junction 5 of the motorway.
Calday Grange Grammar School released a statement on its social media page saying: “We are aware of a situation involving one of our school buses on the motorway earlier today.
“We’re actively gathering details and assisting affected students and their families.”
North West Ambulance Service has now declared a major incident, saying in a statement: “North West Ambulance Service has declared a major incident following a road traffic collision between a coach and a car on the M53 northbound at approximately 8.30 this morning.
“The trust dispatched a large number of resources to the scene, including ambulances, advances paramedics, our Hazardous Area Response team and a HEMS doctor.
“So far, one female patient has been taken to the hospital, suffering major trauma-related injuries. There are also nearly 50 other patietns being assessed at the scene. We are working closely with our incident partners to convey people away from the scene as quickly as possible.”
Local Councillor Sherin Akhtar, also confirmed the news and said she was ‘aware children are being taken to hospital as a precaution’.
She wrote in a Tweet: “I can confirm and am aware of an accident on the M53 this morning going towards the Wirral/ Birkenhead.
“It involves a Carvers coach ( W3) travelling to Calday Grange Grammar School and West Kirby Grammar school for girls.
“Whilst this is a live situation, I would like to assure residents that I am working on their behalf and offer support and will endeavour to update, as soon as possible. I am aware that children are being taken to Arrowe Park as precautionary.”
Merseyside Police said in a statement: “We can confirm that emergency services are on the M53 in Hooton following a collision involving a bus on the motorway.
“Just after 8am we received a report that a bus had struck a reservation on Junction 5 of the M53. Junctions 3-5 of the M53 are closed in both directions.
“Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service is currently ensuring the safe removal of passengers and the driver, and North West Ambulance Service are at the scene attending to anyone requiring treatment.
“Motorists are advised to avoid the area and find alternative routes, and we advise people to remain patient while the incident is ongoing. Enquiries are ongoing and updates will be issued as soon as possible.
“Please note this incident is ongoing and we are urging people to refrain from speculating or publishing any sensitive information that could be distressing online or via social media platforms.”
Tributes pour in after body of ‘lovely’ missing man found by police
People have been posting their tributes to Charlie online
Heartfelt tributes have been flooding in across social media platforms after the body of a 26-year-old man from Stockport was discovered by police.
Charlie Johnson, 26, was last seen at around 11.30pm in the Cheadle Hulme area of Stockport on Thursday, September 21st.
Greater Manchester Police launched an appeal to the public to help find him but sadly, officers confirmed they had discovered a body on Tuesday, September 26th during the search.
His next of kin have been informed and a file was passed on to the coroner.
Detective Inspector Michael Jimenez, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “Our thoughts remain with Charlie’s family at this difficult time, and we have specialist officers in place to support them. Thank you to those who shared our appeals.”
Following the tragic news, tributes have been paid online to honour the life of the ‘superb sportsman’ described by those who knew him as ‘a lovely lad’.
AFC Stockport, who Charlie briefly played for last season, posted on Facebook: “It is with sad news that today we say RIP to Charlie Johnson who briefly played for the club last season.
“Charlie netted 9 goals in 7 appearances for our Rangers team. RIP Charlie – Our thoughts are with your family and friends.”
And Bosden Farm FC, based in Stockport, wrote on their Twitter page: “It is with great sadness we report the news on the passing of Charlie he was a huge part of Bosden Farm and was loved by everyone who met him.
“We will miss him so much. We send our condolences to his friends and family and ask that you respect their privacy at this moment in time.”
Upon hearing the sad news, Mary Brooks-Davies wrote: “Heartbroken. Charlie was such a lovely lad, remember him well when he was at primary school with my daughter. Love and gentlest hugs to his family xxxx.”
In a tribute to Charlie, Badhrul Islam wrote: “Taught him as a lad. Can genuinely say none of my colleagues had a bad word to say.
“PE teachers remember him being a superb sportsman with a great attitude. Really well liked all round. Worked with his dad who was a thoroughly nice man. This is desperately sad news.”
Rachel Taylor wrote: “Thinking of all your family and friends at this sad time, RIP Charlie xx.”
And Callum Lawson wrote: “R.I.P Charlie.”
Three Wilko stores in Greater Manchester reopening as Poundland this weekend
Three out of the 10 stores set to reopen this weekend are in Greater Manchester
This weekend, three former Wilko stores will reopen as Poundlands in Greater Manchester.
Following the collapse of Wilko last month, 10 stores are set to reopen as Poundland outlets this weekend, after being bought out by the budget retailer.
Poundland owner Pepco agreed to purchase 71 Wilko stores from administrators PwC earlier this month.
The company plans to rebrand and open them under its own by the end of the year.
Another rival retailer, B&M, bought 51 Wilko stores in a deal of around £5 million, and plans to also reopen them under its own brand.
In Greater Manchester, the three Wilko locations which will be reopening as new Poundland sites are at The Mall on Church Street in Eccles, The Peel Centre, on Great Portwood Street in Stockport, and on Lord Street, in Leigh.
The seven other sites set to reopen this weekend are across Stafford, Nelson, Barking, Southport, Maidenhead, Jarrow and Scunthorpe.
Family-owned company Wilko ran 400 shops and employed around 12,500 staff when it brought in administrators PwC last month. The company, which was founded in 1930, folded under the pressure of cuts in consumer spending, due to the cost-of-living crisis, and debts owed to suppliers.
All Wilko stores will close resulting in thousands of staff redundancies, as its remaining shops shut on October 8th.
Poundland has encouraged Wilko staff to apply for new job roles with its chain and have assured them they will be made a priority.