Rossendale Free Press

...but some schools to shut for another week

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SECONDARY schools in Rossendale and the rest of England are set to remain closed for at least an extra week after the Christmas break with some pupils not returning to the classroom until at least mid-January.

It comes after school leaders warned that teachers and pupils may be put at risk if they return to classrooms during the new spike in Covid-19 cases.

Downing Street had insisted earlier this week that the plan remains to open up schools in a staggered fashion.

It would have seen Year 11 and Year 13 exam students return to classrooms from Monday, January 4, with the majority of kids then returning to lessons a week later.

But according to TES, a new plan approved by ministers will see exam students not return from January 4 as planned.

Only vulnerable students and children of key workers will return straight away, the Mirror reports.

Primary school pupils are expected to return to classrooms from January 4 as normal.

Covid-19 testing in schools will commence the following week, starting on January 11.

And according to the report, all students would be back in school from the week of January 18.

Downing Street is not believed to have approved the plan yet.

The plans were not expected to be officially confirmed until Wednesday at the earliest as the Free Press went to print.

Businesses, political leaders and residents across the Valley were also digesting the heightened tier restrictio­ns facing Rossendale as of New Year’s Eve.

Lancashire’s Tier 3 status had remained unchanged over the festive period, but the county’s director of public health warned three days before Christmas that rising case numbers were an indication that the new variant was already present in the county - although at that point, Dr Sakthi Karunanthi said that there was no “rationale” for putting the county into Tier 4.

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