Schools reopen after Christmas break as train stations are abandoned by commuters


Children have returned to their classrooms and adults who were off for the festive break have returned to their jobs but train stations looked bare as many follow Government advice to work from home

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Schools in the UK have reopened today after the Christmas break amid concerns that staff and kids could be struck down by the Omicron Covid strain.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi insisted face-to-face teaching will remain “the norm” but has suggested children could be taught in merged classes if the number of teachers off sick skyrockets this week.

He said: “Being in face-to-face learning environments is undoubtedly the very best place for children and young people’s education and wellbeing, and my priority remains on keeping early years settings, schools, colleges and universities open so that face-to-face education can continue.”

But had admitted some remote learning would be necessary if the number of pupils and teachers needing to self-isolate surged.

Schools have reopened today
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All secondary pupils in England had to take a Covid test before they turned up at school and they must wear face masks.

These students must also take regular tests and pupils aged 12-15 are also being urged to get their second Covid jab as soon as possible.

Workers who were off for the festive break have also returned to their jobs – but train stations looked bare as many followed Government advice to work from home if possible.

All secondary school pupils must wear facemasks
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Stations that would usually be heaving with rush-hour commuters were noticeably less busy.

Nearly a third of rail services have been axed at some stations in recent days, after as many as one in 10 staff members called in sick with illnesses, including Covid, according to The Rail Delivery Group.

Rail firms across the country have been removing hundreds of trains from their timetables in recent weeks as the Omicron isolation staffing crisis deepens.

Schools could witch to remote learning if staff absences soar
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A total of 23 UK train companies from Southern to Merseyrail and Great Western Railway to Northern have either already reduced services or are set to in the coming days due to virus staff shortages.

Operator Southern announced no trains will run into or from London Victoria, Britain’s second-busiest station, until January 10 due to high levels of ” coronavirus isolation and sickness” among staff.

Commuters at London Waterloo during the rush hour
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Meanwhile, ScotRail said nine routes in and out of Glasgow’s main two stations will be on a reduced timetable along with three routes to and from Edinburgh Waverley until at least January 28.

Others impacted include East Midlands Railway, Thameslink, Avanti West Coast, Greater Anglia, Hull Trains, London Northwestern Railway, Great Northern, Thameslink and TransPennine Express.

Commuters at London Underground
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While NHS bosses warn of an intensifying “health emergency” as Covid hospitalisations continued to rocket with the problem being exacerbated by staff absences as more and more key workers catch the virus.

Despite Britain being plunged into turmoil by soaring Omicron cases and test kit shortages Boris Johnson is adamant the Covid strain is mild and the country should stick to Plan B.

The Government is urging people to work from home if they can
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Sage expert Professor Stephen Reicher told the Mirror we are set to face a “real problem in January” because of festive gatherings.

He added: “We wouldn’t be facing such disruption if we had ­measures in place.”

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

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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