Saturday 23 October 2021

A staggering 80 per cent of East Riding schools have been affected by outbreaks of coronavirus, according to latest information from East Riding of Yorkshire Council, with pupils mixing at school thought to be driving infections.

Data shows 7.33% of East Riding pupils have caught coronavirus since the start of the academic year and a total of 156 schools have had staff and pupils report positive coronavirus cases since September. There is currently no blanket policy on coronavirus restrictions in East Riding schools and according to the council’s public health director Andy Kingdom, head teachers currently have to decide whether to strengthen or loosen restrictions including mask wearing and social distancing. 

East Riding council tax arrears have climbed to almost £12.5 million, according to the latest figures available, with council staff reporting mounting desperation and despair. Council Head of Revenues and Procurement Gillian Barley said the recent withdrawal of the £20 uplift in Universal Credit and the end of furlough was expected to make things worse. 

Ms Barley told the council’s Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee demand for financial support was expected to mount. The officer said: “Our teams are speaking to people who are in absolute desperation, some even talk about suicide.”

And finally, the transport team at East Riding Council’s Beverley depot have taken delivery of the council’s first fully-electric-powered minibus, which will be used on local school runs. Electric charging points have already been installed at the Beverley depot as the council took delivery of four electric-powered vans last year.