Self-isolation

  1. Concerns schools may shut amid Covid staff shortages

    A teaching union says disruption is "inevitable" across Cumbria's schools as Covid-19 cases continue to have an impact.

    Infection rates in Cumbria schools are above the national average and one nursery in Barrow has had to close because of staff shortages.

    Colin Cox, Cumbria's director of public health, said: "Everybody wants to keep kids at school and that's absolutely right but the perception is that kids are missing school because they're being told to self-isolate but actually the major impact is on schooling because they have Covid and that impacts on teaching with staff shortages."

    Covid swab and nurse

    Barrow currently has the third highest infection rate in England with 755 cases per 100,000 people in the week leading up to 7 October, a rise of 679 on the previous week. Allerdale is seventh in the table with 663 cases per 100,000, a rise of 656 in the previous week to 29 September.

    Clem Coady, head teacher at Stoneraise Primary School in Carlisle and the Cumbria president of the National Association of Head Teachers, said rates among children had risen because of the government removing control measures in September.

    Pupils wearing masks at Cumbrian school

    In Cumbria many schools are asking pupils to wear masks to try to reduce infections.

    Children in households where someone has tested positive for Covid-19, such as a brother or sister, also now have to isolate or take a daily lateral flow test.

    Mr Cody said: "Cumbria's advisory guidance is really welcome and we hope the government looks at this and takes action by allowing local authorities to to mandate the control measures rather than keeping them advisory.

    "It is inevitable there will be some disruption with partial closures and with year groups working from home."

    Meanwhile Covid vaccinations are under way in Cumbria for 12 to 15-year-olds. So far 3,000 children out of a possible 21,000 have been vaccinated.