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Schools welcome more pupils as plans progress to make town and city centre hotspots ready to reopen

Published: Monday, 1st June 2020

Almost 50 schools have welcomed more pupils back into classrooms today (Monday), with dozens more to follow suit later this week and next, in line with national guidance to lift coronavirus restrictio

A total of 46 schools in the city had a combined 1,429 pupils in nursery, reception, year one and year six classes in the first day of the easing of restrictions. The total is around 18.5 per cent of the 7,741 pupils in those year groups in those schools across the city.

A number of schools have had inset days today (Monday), with a further 22 schools reopening for these age groups later this week, 12 more reopening for these age groups from June 8, five more schools from June 15, and a further school opening again from September.

Latest estimates from schools across the city suggest that around 35 per cent of pupils in those year groups across all 92 schools in the city will return over the next two weeks – around 5,401, out of a total of 15,215 pupils.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “The vast majority of our schools have been open throughout the coronavirus restrictions, for key worker families and vulnerable children, and alongside this, schools have been working incredibly hard to put in place every preparation and precaution for the safe return of more children.

“Schools have put in a wide range of safety measures, from one-way systems around school buildings, reducing the number of entrances to school sites, staggered drop-off and pick-up times, bringing school meals to classrooms, promoting handwashing and good hygiene and supporting small groups of children to learn in ‘bubbles’, with the same children and teachers. This work is being done while still maintaining online learning and additional home learning support for children.

“We have been really clear that the safety of children, school staff and parents is the priority. It is a decision for schools on how they choose to reopen, and they will be given every support with public health guidance. It is a decision for parents if they choose for their children to return to school. We know that it is an anxious time for families and we want to reassure them that they will not be fined for keeping their children learning at home at this time.”

Meanwhile council teams are visiting key town and city centre retail areas in preparation for the reopening of shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, electronics and other non-essential retail from June 15, in line with national guidance.

Councillor Brown said: “Our teams are identifying ‘hotspot’ areas, and are mapping floor spaces in these locations, including walking routes through main retail areas and looking at what measures can be put in place for social distancing and to support businesses.

“This work is ongoing, and some changes will start to be seen in the next few days, for example in the city centre bus station where work is taking place to review entrance barriers, social distancing posters and floor markings will be installed and some seating areas will be reduced.

“We are also planning for the phased return of our markets, with outdoor markets to open again from June 8, and indoor markets from June 15. It is important to remind residents that Stoke Indoor Market has remained open during the restrictions to provide essential retail items.”

Meanwhile, residents are being asked to consider their water usage in the warm weather. Residents spending more time at home may be using sprinklers, hosepipes, pressure washers and filling paddling pools more than they usually would. Severn Trent is experiencing a 20 per cent increase on demand, and water treatment works are putting an extra 300 million litres of water into the supply every day – to a total of 2.25 billion litres of water a day.

For more information and advice on coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit Public Health England:

https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated.

For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.

 

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For all media enquiries please contact Andrew Brunt in the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671.

www.stoke.gov.uk/news

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