Will Sheffield schools be closed due to Covid?
The spread of the Omicron variant of Covid has led to tougher measures on society to limit the virus’ transmission.
Sheffield’s public health director Greg Fell said the reason for implementing Plan B measures was to slow the spread of Omicron – which has been confirmed in Sheffield – and allow for as many as people as possible to be given vaccinations, including booster jabs.
By delaying its peak and vaccinating people, he said, we can reduce the number of hospitalisations when Omicron does as it is predicted to do and becomes the prevalent strain in England.
And shortly after Plan B was implemented, the Prime Minister announced a ramping up of the booster scheme, and promised every over-18 in the country would be offered a booster jab by New Year.
In previous months when Covid cases have shown signs of spiking, schools have been shut to limit spread between pupils.
However, this time round, that does not appear to be in the plan.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “One of the reasons to take the measures we’ve said, especially around expanding the booster programme, is to make sure we can prioritise our children.”
Downing Street has indicated schools will be kept open unless there is an “absolute public health emergency” and warned local authorities against deciding to close early for Christmas as a precautionary measure.
“There are certainly no plans to put in any restriction on schooling, we know how vital education has been and how detrimental the pandemic has been towards children and young people who, in many cases, have borne the brunt of this,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.
Mr Fell has not mentioned the prospect of schools closing when speaking about the measures that could be implemented in the near future to suppress the spread of Omicron.
Speaking about the threat of the virus, he warned: "It’s probably no more severe than Delta but I don’t think it’s safe to say it’s milder.
"It may be and that will be good news if it is but even if it is milder, a very much more transmissible virus means more numbers overall, some of whom will become poorly."