One million Britons in self-isolation from Covid as back-to-school chaos awaits them

With 1,189,985 people testing positive last week, school leaders fear staff shortages as children prepare for back to school

More than a million Britons are isolated (file photo)

More than a million Britons are isolated because of Covid as the return to work and school chaos await them.

According to the latest figures, 1,189,985 people tested positive for the coronavirus between December 28, 2021 and January 3, 2022.

Children risk chaotic returns to schools as chefs fear staff will be on work stoppage hit by Covid.

Schoolchildren could be taught in merged classrooms if the number of sick teachers skyrockets this week, the education secretary said.

Nadhim Zahawi insisted that face-to-face teaching will remain “the norm” when schools reopen on Tuesday.

However, some classes may be taught in larger groups where teacher absences are high, and officials have a back-up plan for some online learning where there is a significant staff shortage.

School leaders worried about enrollment levels with return to school (file photo)


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It comes after NHS bosses warned of a escalating ‘health emergency’ as Covid hospitalizations continued to skyrocket over the holiday season.

The problem is exacerbated by staff absences as more NHS workers catch the virus.

Governments have changed the rules on coronaviruses in the new year amid rising case rates fueled by the Omicron variant.

The period of self-isolation has been reduced in most of the UK, while schoolchildren in England will now be required to wear face covers in class.

Many workers in different professions are isolated because of Covid (file photo)


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In England, the Education Secretary said face-to-face teaching will continue and remain “the norm” as he outlined a series of Covid measures for schools.

Nadhim Zahawi said high school students will be required to wear masks in classrooms and should be tested for coronavirus at school before starting the new term, followed by regular testing at home.

England had the most relaxed UK rules for New Years celebrations, although Covid passes for entry to nightclubs and other venues have been in place since December 15.

This applies to indoor events with 500 or more attendees where people are likely to stand or move around, such as concert halls, as well as some outdoor events, such as music festivals, and all events with 10,000 or more attendees.

Nadhim Zahawi said high school students should be tested for coronavirus at school before starting the new term, followed by regular testing at home (file photo)


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Face coverings were also made mandatory in most indoor public places, as well as on public transport, and people were encouraged to work from home if they could.

If a person in England has tested positive or is showing symptoms, they may stop self-isolating after seven days instead of 10 if they receive two negative side flow test results on days six and seven.

Those who are close unvaccinated contacts of positive cases must still self-isolate for 10 days.

Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to work, but are encouraged to consider having regular lateral flow tests.

Meanwhile, local politicians have warned that trash cans have been “overflowed” after Christmas time, with Covid-related staff shortages in England causing delays in garbage collection.

Advisers in London, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Buckinghamshire said trash collection services have been cut as workers continue to fall ill from the coronavirus.

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