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Schools thanked for their work during coronavirus restrictions, and residents asked for patience should council services be impacted

Published: Thursday, 22nd July 2021

Schools and families have been thanked for their hard work and dedication in minimising the disruption to teaching during an academic year impacted by the coronavirus.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council leaders have praised the more than 100 nursery, primary, secondary, special schools and colleges in the city, and higher education establishments, including maintained and academy schools, for their work during the year.

It comes as the latest seven-day rate of coronavirus cases in the city is now 592.9 per 100,000 people, for the week 8 July – 14 July 2021. There continues to be a significant rise in cases in the city, with an increase of 38.7 per cent on the previous seven days. The percentage of people who have had a test and tested positive is 12.9 per cent. Cases are widespread across the city, with hotspot areas in the Ford Green and Smallthorne, and Abbey Hulton and Townsend wards.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “It has been a year like no other, and schools have been under immense pressure dealing with the impact of the coronavirus. I have two school-aged children myself and know first-hand how schools have adapted to often quickly-changing guidance and restrictions. Yet through it all they have continued to put the health and wellbeing of staff and students first, and have worked incredibly hard to ensure our city’s children and young people still receive the best education possible.

“Regular testing, class bubbles, suppling work virtually for children who are self-isolating and staggered arrival and leave times are just a few of the measures schools have implemented and reacted to throughout the year.

“I also want to thank school pupils and their parents and guardians. The past 18 months have affected children and young people tremendously. Many have experienced periods of isolation, they have had to adjust to a new school environment and some have missed out on school events and day trips. I am extremely proud of the children and young people in our city.

“Parents have followed government guidance and tested themselves regularly and we thank them for this. They have worked with schools to ensure their children haven’t missed out on learning while self-isolating. We encourage families to keep getting tested throughout the summer holidays, as case rates continue to rise.”

Meanwhile residents are asked for their patience should council services be impacted by staff needing to self-isolate. This had resulted in residents in some streets unfortunately not having their bin collected on time earlier in the week, but crews have been working to catch-up.

Councillor Brown said: “The vast majority of our workers are residents in the city and are continuing to work hard to provide services that are important to communities. Our binmen do a fantastic job, and if it is that we aren’t able to collect your bin on your usual day in the coming weeks, please do bear with us, leave your bin out and our crews will come for it. We may find that some of our services are impacted should staff need to self-isolate, but we will be working hard to ensure that any disruption is kept to a minimum. We ask for residents’ patience and understanding as our whole city continues to work through this challenging time.”

Pop-up enhanced community testing took place today (Wednesday) at Westport Lake, with staff from Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust and council Covid stewards on site. Teams offered lateral flow testing to visitors, gave out home testing kits and advised residents on how to use the test kits themselves.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing, said: “We are targeting testing in locations convenient to residents, and during the warm summer weather, we will be looking to pay more visits to parks and open spaces. The teams today helped a resident who was showing early positive symptoms of the coronavirus and so quickly gave them the right advice, supporting them to isolate for 10 days and complete a PCR test. By doing this, and by residents acting so responsibly, we’re taking the coronavirus out of circulation.

“Getting tested remains vitally important. One of the best barometers we have of the ‘pressure’ in the system is the positivity rate, which is currently at 12.9 per cent. It hit 14.2 per cent at the peak earlier in the year and fell to as low as 0.2 per cent a couple of months ago. That is telling us that the pressure in the community is still extremely high and we really need to drive that down – we will do so by more people getting tested and being able to contact trace and isolate positive cases.”

Residents are also reminded that three walk-in vaccination clinics are to take place in venues across the city. The next clinics are:

  • 2-4pm, Thursday, 22 July at Prima Care Surgeries, Hanley Health Centre, Upper Huntbach Street, ST1 2BN. The clinic will administer the Pfizer vaccine for first and second doses.
  • 1-4pm, and 4.30pm-7pm, Thursday, 22 July at Hartshill Medical Centre, Ashwell Road, Hartshill ST4 6AT. The clinic will administer the Pfizer vaccine for first and second doses, and the Astra Zeneca vaccine for first and second doses.

1-4pm, and 4.30pm-7pm, Thursday, 29 July at Hartshill Medical Centre, Ashwell Road, Hartshill ST4 6AT. The clinic will administer the Pfizer vaccine for first and second doses, and the Astra Zeneca vaccine for first and second doses.