Schools, colleges and universities will close across Salford after the Government announced another countrywide lockdown.

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers, with all other children will learn remotely until February half term.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid February for all except future critical worker courses. Early Years settings remain open.

Non-essential shops will close and employees will be asked to work from home where possible.

Salford, as with Greater Manchester, had already been placed into Tier 4 restrictions that had seen bars, restaurants and cafes close, along with non-essential shops.

The new lockdown rules will come into effect immediately and will become law from 00.01 on 6 January 2021.

The latest data on Salford’s infection rate shows an 8 per cent rise to 228.7 cases per 100,000 people in the city over the seven days ending on December 29.

There has also been a rise in cases among five to nine-year-olds, up from 58.8 per 100,00 on December 7 to 117.5 on December 27, the letter revealed.

The Government had come under increasing pressure to close schools in the face of spiralling cases of Covid-19 and fears over a new variant, believed to be more transmissible.

Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett had yesterday written to the Government to say he did not believe face-to-face learning in Salford was viable.

“The new strain of the virus and the rising case levels in the city mean that we are deeply concerned about the return to primary schools, special schools and alternative provision next week,” he said.

“The impacts of the festive relaxation of restrictions are still unknown, teachers have not been told when they will be immunised, nor have they been prioritised for immunisation and effective mass testing in schools is still not yet in place.

“We will support any Salford school leaders who assesses that it is not safe to open their school following a risk assessment, particularly where there is a shortage of available staff.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced nationwide lockdown that see schools closed, all shops not deemed essential close and any socialising banned, except those including people in support bubbles.

The news comes days after a school in Seedley revealed that several members of staff had tested positive for Covid-19 and two were ‘seriously unwell’ in hospital with the virus, including the acting head teacher.

The Holy Family Catholic Primary School published a post on New Year’s Eve indicating that learning would take place online at the start of term due to staff shortages.

Prior to the announcement of the national lockdown, the University of Salford had told students not to return to campus until 25 January.

A tweet read: “If you are on a healthcare or social work course or are attending a placement or University Clinic, continue with your existing plans

“All other students are asked not to return to campus until 25 January 2021 at the earliest.

“You can return to your term-time accommodation if you need to do so, even if you are not a healthcare student.”

Students will now be expected to study online from their current residence until mid-February.

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