Schools hope to reopen on time as Covid spirals

EDUCATIONALISTS are working on measures to allow schools to reopen in January following the spike in Covid cases over Christmas due to the Omicron variant.

Director of Education Nick Hynes. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30351956)
Director of Education Nick Hynes. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30351956)

The number of active cases has risen to 1,541, a record level, which means that about one person in 40 in the Bailiwick currently has the virus.

There are five people with Covid in hospital.

Over the five day period from Christmas Eve, there were 987 new cases and 471 people recovered.

The latest data shows that there was one death involving Covid-19 during that period.

States-run schools are due to start their spring term next Thursday, and at this stage the aim of Education, Sport & Culture is to stick to that date.

Nick Hynes, the director of Education, wrote to all teaching staff four days before Christmas, stating that new mitigations were being worked on.

‘I want to be really honest with you all about the challenges ahead and our primary focus,’ he wrote.

‘We are expecting a significant wave of cases, as a result of the Omicron variant, and yet our absolute focus will be – and must be – on managing the implications that will bring as best we can to ensure we continue delivering education for our young people.

‘What that means in practice is that we will have to adapt to rising cases in such a way that enables us to keeping settings running, which in turn plays a huge role in keeping the island running.

‘With this aim, our return in January is likely to see us in a position where we are introducing additional measures to manage the spread of Covid both across our schools and settings and indeed across the community.’

Early evidence from around the world has suggested that Omicron has milder symptoms, and vaccinations and boosters help prevent serious illness and death.

However, its increased transmissibility means it is having an effect on workplaces as anyone who gets a positive result on a lateral flow test is required to isolate for at least seven days.

Beau Sejour Leisure Centre has had to restrict the hours that the pool is open because of staff absenteeism.

Several businesses have had to close temporarily because of cases among their staff.

China Red announced on social media earlier this week that it was closing for at least 10 days.

La Couture Inn also said that almost all its staff had gone down with Covid-19, and it would reopen when everyone had recovered.

Care homes are all using different approaches.

Yesterday Rosaire Court & Gardens put up signs on the doors stating that access was restricted to essential visits and deliveries only.

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