Covid-19 - update for residents

Covid-19 - update for residents

As the national response to Covid-19 continues, we’ll do our best to update you on the key things you need to know.

Our staff are working hard to cover essential services at this time, ensuring our communities are protected and people get the help and support they need.

Leisure centres

With great reluctance we’ve made the decision to suspend leisure centres services across the borough from today. We know lots of our residents and gym members will be disappointed, but in the fight against Covid-19 it is absolutely vital that we use our buildings and staff to support schools and the children of key workers to ensure our frontline workers are well equipped.

It’s really important that residents stay active and with plenty of greenspaces on our doorstep we’ll be encouraging residents to get outdoors to keep fit and healthy, while of course following the social distancing advice from the NHS.

School closures

Following the government’s announcement to close schools and childcare providers for most pupils, we have been working hard to establish what this means for our pupils and families across the borough.

From Monday educational settings will be closed to everyone except children of key workers and vulnerable children.

The government has now published further guidance around which children will remain in education.

Who is classed as a key worker?

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed below, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision.

Key workers include:

  • Health and social care (Frontline health and social care staff including volunteers, support and specialist staff, and those working as part of the health and social care supply chain)
  • Education and childcare (Nursery and teaching staff, social workers and specialist education professionals)
  • Key public services (Those essential to running of the justice system, religious staff, public service broadcasting, charities and workers delivering frontline services, and those responsible for management of the deceased)
  • Local and national government (Administrative occupations essential to the delivery of COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services)
  • Food and other necessary goods (Food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, and those essential to provision of other key goods)
  • Public safety and national security (Police, Ministry of Defence civilians, armed forces personnel, fire and rescue service employees, National Crime Agency, border security and prison and probation staff.)
  • Transport (Those who keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating)
  • Utilities, communication and financial services

Do both parents need to be on the key worker list?

Only one parent needs to be classed as a key worker to be eligible for this.

My child’s school/nursery is closing but I am a key worker, will they remain in education?

We’ve written to all schools to find out what provision is available after educational settings close today to see how we can keep those pupils in childcare settings. It may be that they attend a different school or nursery. We will update you as soon as we can with further guidance on this.

Who is classed as a vulnerable child?

Vulnerable childreninclude children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EDC) plans.

I am not a key worker and my child is not vulnerable, do they have to remain at home?

The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.

Parents should also not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.

Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

What is happening with exams?

Young people will not sit their exams this summer. A Level examinations, GCSE’s, AS Levels, other qualifications and all primary assessments have been cancelled.

Instead, the exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards, will work with teachers to provide grades to students. Ofqual will develop a process in discussion with school representatives, that will provide a calculated grade to each student. More information on the process will be issued soon.

The grades will be based on teachers’ judgements about the grade the student would have achieved if the exams had gone ahead. However teachers must take into account evidence and data such as the student’s performance on mock exams and non-exam assessments.

The aim is to provide calculated grades to students before the end of July. There will be an option for students to sit an exam early in the next academic year if they wish to.

If you rent your home

The government has announced a package of measures to protect renters and landlords affected by Covid-19. As a result, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time.

Emergency legislation will be taken forward as an urgent priority so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period. As a result of these measures, no renters in private or social accommodation need to be concerned about the threat of eviction.

Pre-payment meters

New emergency measures with the energy industry have also been agreed by the government to protect the domestic energy supply of those most in need.

Customers with pre-payment meters who may not be able to add credit can speak to their supplier about options to keep them supplied.

To keep you informed and up to date with the latest developments you can follow the council on social media @WiganCouncil on Twitter and Facebook.

View full details of the government’s response (external link).

Posted on Friday 20th March 2020
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