Sheffield City Council to ensure children return safely to schools amid rising Covid cases

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Sheffield City Council will ensure that children will return safely to schools this autumn after it was revealed that one in seven pupils across the city had missed school due to Covid before the holidays.

According to the data provided by the Department for Education, up to 14.9 per cent of children were absent from school for reasons linked to Covid-19 on July 15.

Around 13.6 percent of children were self-isolating due to possible contact with a Covid-19 case, while the rest had a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus, or were off as a result of Covid-related school closures.

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Parents and unions had criticised the Government for its rules around "bubbles" in schools, complaining the system caused further disruption to children's education, as pupils already missed out on so much in-person teaching due to the lockdowns.

Councillor Jayne DunnCouncillor Jayne Dunn
Councillor Jayne Dunn

Sheffield Councillor Jayne Dunn who is the executive member for Education, Children and Families, said the council is “working hard to ensure that all children and staff can return safely in September”.

She said: “As Covid-19 cases were on the rise nationally due to the transmission of the Delta variant, our schools managed their attendance under the guidance of our Public Health teams to ensure that children, staff and schools remained as safe as possible.

“Where schools were closed to year groups this was either based on an outbreak management decision in discussion with Public Health England to reduce transmission risk or due to business continuity issues where a school did not have sufficient staff to deliver face to face learning.

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“Schools are without doubt the best place for our children to be and looking forward to the new school year we are working hard to ensure that all children and staff can return safely in September.

“Schools are doing everything they can to make sure children catch up on any missed learning and that plans are in place to give children the best possible education and school experience.”

Current rules say children have to self-isolate for 10 days if another pupil in their bubble – which can be an entire year group at secondary school – tests positive for Covid.

However, the use of “bubbles” in schools in England will come to an end on August 16 as the country eases lockdown restrictions.

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