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Dr Allinson's statement on COVID-19 - 4 March 2021

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Thank you Chief Minister.

The increase in the number of cases is a cause for concern, and reemphasises why all of us have to take the current situation seriously and do the right thing.

Over the last twelve months we have always strived to keep school places available for vulnerable children and those of essential workers.

At the beginning of the first lockdown there were nearly 300 students attending the hub schools, this rose to 600 at the beginning of the January circuit breaker but by yesterday, there were approximately 800 students attending our schools.

This is putting extra pressure on our education service.

In order to keep our schools safe we have bought in a range of measures including the use of social distancing, masks, enhanced cleaning and pupils learning in bubbles.

But this time around the virus has entered our schools. We have seen whole year groups needing to be isolated and tested in several locations and with increasing numbers of children wanting places, the risk of more infections increases

With this is mind we feel it is vitally important to continue to act in the interest of safety for both students and staff.

The Council of Ministers met this morning and discussed a range of options to further protect education and our front line services. Changes will be made to the current entitlement for school places to ensure we can continue to provide remote learning and teaching in schools for those with no other option.

So from Monday schools are only accessible to vulnerable children and children of essential workers – only whilst the essential worker is out of their home working and only when there is no one else at home to look after your child.

In addition from Monday we will be removing the financial services sector from the essential workers list. 

We ask all those affected to discuss with their managers how they can switch to working from home. 

I am sorry we are having to bring in these extra measures, but hope that parents can appreciate the seriousness of the current situation and the need to protect our children and our education service. 

To reiterate, the safest place to be at the moment is at home. 

Thank you Chief Minister.