Tuesday 19 May 2020
Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we will now be providing regular email updates for residents to let you know about the latest information we have and any changes to local services that may be affected.
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You can check the latest information on our website at any time by going to https://www.rotherham.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Preparations underway for phased return to school
Most Rotherham schools have remained opened during the national coronavirus pandemic response, offering invaluable support by providing school places for more than 800 vulnerable children and children of key workers from Rotherham on a daily basis.
The Government announced last week that, subject to continuing progress in reducing the rate of coronavirus infections and other key tests being met, from 1st June:
- nurseries and other early year providers, including childminders, will begin welcoming back all children
- primary schools to welcome back children in nursery (where they have them), reception, year 1 and year 6
- secondary schools, sixth form, and further education colleges to begin some face to face support with year 10 and 12 pupils (it is not expected these pupils will return on a full-time basis at this stage)
- all schools and childcare providers to continue to offer places to the priority groups – vulnerable children and children of critical workers – they have been supporting since the end of March
- special schools, special post-16 institutions and hospital schools to work towards a phased return of more children and young people without a focus on specific year groups and informed by risk assessments
alternative provision to welcome back children in reception, year 1 and year 6 and begin some face to face support with year 10 and 11 pupils (as they have no year 12)
- Rotherham schools are making their own decisions, based on their circumstances, about how they best respond to these requirements, and each school will be contacting affected parents in due course.
The wellbeing of pupils, teachers and their families is everyone’s priority, and the Council is working in partnership with all Rotherham schools to look at how we can support them to ensure this.
Each school has completed its own risk assessment to evaluate how many children in different years groups they can safely open to. This will vary for every school and is dependent on their size and layout to enable social distancing, any potential travel and transport challenges, the number of vulnerable children and children of critical workers they are already catering for and the number of staff they have available who are fit and well or aren’t shielding.
No action will be taken against any parent who decides that their child should not return to school at this time during the phased re-opening.
The Council is also helping to co-ordinate and prepare support services such as school meals, cleaning and transport to schools across the borough.
Work underway to create extra public transport capacity
The Government is urging people to only use public transport if it absolutely necessary and they are unable to access other means of transport .
But as restrictions are gradually eased and more people who can’t work from home return to their jobs or education, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) is working with local operators to create extra capacity by restoring more services as safely as possible to meed increased demand.
Passengers will notice some changes when they use public transport, including:
- Additional cleaning at all Travel South Yorkshire Interchanges, including extra attention to ensure doors, handrails, lifts and ticket machines are disinfected regularly.
- No charges for the use of interchange toilet facilities until further notice to give everyone access to handwashing.
- Screens have been introduced at customer service desks to protect employees and customers
- Measures to protect passenger flow and manage capacity inside interchange buildings, including barriers where needed, separate entrance and exit points, queue management, extra customer information and floor and window vinyls to assist with social distancing.
- Notices on all bus stops, prioritising the city and town centres and major bus routes, advising on social distancing and where to find timetable information.
People are being urged not to travel unless it is absolutely essential, leaving public transport available for key and essential workers. Travellers are advised to wear a face covering and keep a safe distance; to stay local, walk and cycle, where possible and continue to follow government guidelines.
Please plan your journey ahead using the up to date timetables on the operators’ websites or on Travel South Yorkshire whenever possible.
You can also call Traveline between 8am and 6pm, seven days week on 01709 515151.
#KindnessMatters this Mental Health Awareness Week
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week which raises awareness of mental health and mental health problems, and aims to inspire action to promote the message of good mental health for all.
This year’s theme is ‘Kindness’ and will celebrate the thousands of acts of kindness that are so important to our mental health. We have seen this in particular during the coronavirus pandemic, where kindness has prevailed in uncertain times, helping people to connect and communities to cope.
Over on the Council’s Twitter and Facebook pages, we’re sharing ways to #BeKind to yourself and others, with Five Ways to Wellbeing. These five simple steps are little things we can all do to be kind to ourselves and each other, particularly during these uncertain times, whether it’s being active, connecting, giving, learning or taking notice.
You can find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week on the Mental . Health Foundation website by clicking the button below.
Domestic Abuse: At home shouldn’t mean at risk
A new Home Office campaign aims to raise awareness that the coronavirus (COVID-19) household isolation instructions do not apply to those escaping domestic abuse and that police response and support services remain available too.
In an emergency situation always call 999. If someone is unable to speak when they are connected with the operator, they should dial/press 55 to let them know the emergency is genuine but that they cannot talk.
If someone is safe, but needs to report a crime such as criminal damage, physical violence or sexual violence, they should call the Police on 101.
Local support and advice
For support outside of these hours contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 200 0247 (freephone 24/7)
A new web chat option is available (Monday to Friday, 9am to 12 noon) for people who cannot make calls.
Details about other organisations providing Domestic Abuse Support in Rotherham are available from the NHS Rotherham website:
Council’s Covid-19 response in pictures
In the first 59 days since the country went into lockdown, the Council has changed many of the ways in which it works, introduced new services and adapted others.
At the centre of everything we are doing is the safety of our residents and our staff.
To create a snapshot of the Council’s response, we have created two infographics which show just some of the activity going on both across the Council as a whole (above) and specifically through the Rotherham Heroes scheme, based at the Community Hub (below).
This is often in addition to many Council services which are continuing to operate as normal.
We will continue to update these infographics and share them on our Twitter and Facebook pages.
Getting in touch…
During this challenging time please, where possible and appropriate, use our online services rather than calling via telephone. We’re receiving a high level of calls daily and want to ensure we’re able to answer urgent calls regarding vulnerable residents and our front line services.